Many of my nutrition clients who are lactose intolerant wonder whether almond milk is an appropriate liquid to mix with whey protein, so I thought I’d answer that question.
Can you mix whey protein with almond milk? Yes, mixing whey with almond milk is a low-calorie option that improves the taste/texture, creating a more satisfying protein shake. Sweetened almond milk is good before and after a workout but otherwise unsweetened is best as it’s lower in calories. Mixing whey and almond milk is also ideal for those avoiding lactose.
With that said, before you start mixing whey protein powder with almond milk, you should know the pros and cons, and how to do it properly for optimal results.
In this article you will learn:
- 4 pros and cons of mixing whey protein with almond milk
- When to consume whey protein and almond milk
- Whether almond milk and whey make for a good meal replacement
- Whether it’s best to mix whey protein with almond milk or water
This article is part of our series on What Can You Mix With Whey Protein (13 Examples)
Benefits of Mixing Whey Protein with Almond Milk
The benefits of mixing whey protein with almond milk are:
- It is a lower calorie option compared to milk
- It will give your protein shake a better taste and texture
- It creates a lactose-free protein shake
- It provides additional carbs beneficial around a workout
1. It Is a Lower Calorie Option Compared to Milk
Almond milk is lower in calories compared to regular milk, making it a better option for mixing with whey protein for anyone looking to improve body composition.
Per cup, 2% milk is 122 calories compared to unsweetened almond milk, which is only 35 calories.
For anyone that has tried to lose body fat, you know that saving yourself almost 90 calories can be extremely beneficial. Especially when these calories are from a drink, which is much less likely to fill you up compared to 90 calories worth of food.
This benefit may be even greater if you are consuming protein shakes daily or even more than once per day.
By choosing almond milk to mix with whey protein you are going to make it easier to eat fewer calories than you are burning in a day leading to more successful weight loss. Make sure you are choosing unsweetened as it’s lower in calories compared to its sweetened counterpart.
2. It Will Give Your Protein Shake a Better Taste and Texture
Mixing whey with almond milk improves the taste and texture compared to mixing it with water, creating a more satisfying and enjoyable protein shake.
If you’ve ever mixed whey protein with water, you know that the taste and texture are very thin and watery. This makes your shake less appealing and you’ll be less satisfied after eating it. If you instead mix your whey with almond milk, you can get the milkshake-like taste and texture of mixing it with milk but with minimal extra calories.
While it may seem obvious that having our food taste better is good for enjoyment, it’s also beneficial in helping us stick to our diet long term. I don’t know about you but I’m much more likely to reach for a higher calorie snack I shouldn’t if I’m left unsatisfied after eating.
You may also find that this thicker texture shake can become a healthier dessert replacement or satisfy a sweet craving, both of which are beneficial for losing body fat.
3. It Creates a Lactose-Free Protein Shake
Almond milk is a lactose-free milk option, which is beneficial for those that experience digestive issues when eating lactose.
Experts estimate that approximately 68% of the population is lactose intolerant. This means that they experience some sort of digestive discomfort, such as bloating, gas, diarrhoea etc. after consuming a food that contains lactose, such as milk.
If you are regularly consuming a protein shake, this regular digestive discomfort can begin to interfere with your daily activities. I don’t know about you but I certainly cannot focus on other activities, especially those more physical such as going to the gym, when my stomach is uncomfortable.
Digestive discomfort may also interfere with your nutrition. While everyone has a different tolerance to consuming food while experiencing digestive issues, it will start to get in the way of consuming a balanced diet.
- Related Article: Almond Milk Makes Me Gassy & Bloated: 4 Reasons + How To Fix
4. It Provides Additional Carbs Beneficial Around a Workout
Sweetened almond milk provides additional carbs, compared to mixing it with water, which is helpful pre and post-workout for additional energy and recovery.
Carbs are important around a workout to both provide quick energy as well as replenish our energy store to promote recovery. If we are just mixing our whey protein with water, we are missing out on these benefits.
While the carbs in almond milk won’t replace a meal, it’s a great way to add in some carbs to your post-workout shake and start your recovery process as you’re heading home before you have time to eat.
Think of it like icing on a cake, adding additional benefits to your protein shake which is already helping you reach your muscle-building goals.
Drawbacks of Mixing Whey Protein with Almond Milk
The drawbacks of mixing whey protein with almond milk are:
- It is higher in calories compared to water
- It can’t be consumed if you have an allergy to nuts
1. It Is Higher in Calories Compared to Water
Almond milk contains more calories compared to water, which may make it a less desirable option for mixing with whey for those looking to lose weight.
So yes, almond milk is lower calorie compared with regular milk, as I said above, but not lower than merely mixing it with water.
While unsweetened almond milk is only 35 calories per cup, if you are having multiple protein shakes per day this can add up, especially for someone looking to lose weight. This is likely not the case for an everyday person looking to improve body composition, it would be more applicable to extreme cases like a bodybuilder very close to stepping on stage.
If you are looking to mix whey with water but with a better taste and texture, I recommend sticking to 5oz of water per scoop of whey and blending it in a blender with ice.
2. It Can’t Be Consumed if You Have an Allergy to Nuts
If you have a nut allergy or sensitivity, consuming almond milk with whey protein would not be recommended. Instead, filtered skim milk or oat milk is recommended.
If you are someone with a nut allergy, you may be wondering what the best option for you to mix whey protein is, especially if you are looking for a lower calorie option. While water is always possible, what if you want a better taste and texture?
Filtered skim milk is my number one recommendation, the extra filtration helps to reduce the carbs and increase the protein. If you cannot consume dairy either, oat milk is the other option I recommend. Stick to an unsweetened option and be careful of added oils. Mixing half oat milk and half water can be a great way to reduce the calories while still improving the taste.
Almond Milk & Whey Protein: When to Consume
Is Almond Milk & Protein Powder Good for Pre-Workout?
Yes, almond milk and protein powder are good for pre-workout as it provides an easily digestible source of protein. Make sure you are choosing sweetened almond milk and pairing it with an additional source of carbs, such as oats, to provide you with more energy for your workout. Limit it to 1 scoop or less.
It’s important to mix your protein with a liquid that is low in fat as fat slows down our digestion and our body won’t be able to get the energy we need as quickly from the carb we ate. Almond milk is lower in fat compared to whole milk and therefore makes it a better option for around a workout.
Sweetened almond milk also provides additional quick digesting carbs to give a boost of energy before your workout. Ensure you are eating some slower digesting carbs as well to continue to provide energy throughout your workout.
Is Almond Milk & Protein Powder Good for Post-Workout?
Yes, almond milk and protein powder are good for post-workout as it provides the protein our body needs to repair our muscles post-workout. Use sweetened almond milk and add in additional carbs, like cereal, to replenish our energy stores, which is also needed for optimal recovery.
Post-workout it’s important to consume protein, carbs and fat.
Sweetened almond milk and whey is a great way to get protein and some carbs, trying pouring it over cereal and some fruit to further boost the carbs in your meal. Since almond milk is a lower-fat option to mix your whey protein with, consider adding a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter to round out your meal.
For those on the go, mixing whey with sweetened almond milk is a great option to consume immediately post-workout on your way home from the gym. This will help to kick start the repair and recovery process giving you a bit more time to get home and make a complete meal.
Can Whey Protein & Almond Milk Act As A Meal Replacement?
No, whey protein and almond milk is a great portion of a meal or snack, but it does not have sufficient calories or diversity of macronutrients to replace a meal.
When we are choosing a meal, it’s important that it contains a relatively even balance of all three macronutrients as well as contains sufficient calories. Building a meal using this outline will ensure that we are full and satisfied after eating for at least three hours. This three-hour window after eating is beneficial for digestion.
Almond milk and protein are a great base for a shake that can be used as a meal replacement. Adding additional ingredients, such as oats, fruit, spinach, and nut butter will help to create a shake that has enough calories and a mix of macronutrients, to replace a meal.
Almond milk and whey alone can be a great snack to tide you over until a meal, especially if you are on the go and can’t bring a whole meal. It can also make a very light breakfast option if you don’t find you’re hungry when you first wake up.
A great option is mixing your whey protein with cereal. Check out my article Can You Mix Whey Protein With Cereal?
Who Should Mix Whey Protein with Almond Milk?
Mixing almond milk with whey protein is best for anyone looking to lose or maintain their weight as well as anyone that is lactose intolerant as almond milk is a low-calorie, lactose-free, option.
When you are maintaining or losing weight, it’s helpful to focus on getting the majority of your calories from food. This will help to keep you more full and satisfied, making it easier to stick to your diet. Liquid calories are something to be avoided as you will likely find you don’t feel any extra fullness from consuming them.
Now given that, you may be wondering why I don’t recommend mixing whey with water? After all, that’s the ultimate lower calorie option. While yes this is true, almond milk provides a much more superior taste and texture for only 35 additional calories. I believe these additional calories are worth it for a more enjoyable tasting shake.
This may only not be the case in certain extreme circumstances, such as a bodybuilder that is looking to step on stage in the immediate future.
Who Should NOT Mix Whey Protein with Almond Milk
Mixing whey protein with almond milk is not a good option for those bulking that are struggling to get enough food in. Instead, I recommend a higher calories option, like whole milk, that can help to better boost calories.
Many of my clients that are trying to gain muscle mass through a bulking phase, struggle to eat enough calories as they no longer feel hungry. If this is the case, we want to be boosting calories through things that don’t make you feel as full, such as liquids.
This means a low-calorie option like almond milk is not always the best, instead, we want to use a higher-calorie option such as whole milk instead. If you are lactose intolerant, a non-dairy milk option that is higher in calories is oat milk.
Once you are done bulking and looking to cut, I recommend switching back to almond milk as an easy way to cut some calories out of your diet.
Is It Better to Mix Protein Powder with Almond Milk or Water?
It is better to mix whey protein with almond milk as it provides a more enjoyable taste and texture compared to water, for only an additional 35 calories.
Whenever we are eating food, we want to be considering how satisfying this meal will leave us. If we can pair our food together in a way that is satisfying to us and our taste buds, we are much more likely to find we can stick to our diet in the long term.
One of the biggest factors that make it difficult to reach our body composition goals is not being able to stick consistently to our diet. Think about the last time you went off your plan and overate. I’m guessing it was when you were frustrated with the food you were eating and didn’t find it delicious or enjoyable.
Opting for almond milk can improve the taste and texture over just water, creating an enjoyable sweet treat that can also double as a healthier dessert option.
Learn more about Protein Powder With Milk or Water: Which Is Better?
What else can you mix whey protein with? Check out these articles:
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about mixing whey protein and almond milk.
Does Protein Powder Dissolve in Almond Milk?
Yes, protein powder dissolves in almond milk but it requires the use of a blender or shaker bottle. Mixing it with just a spoon will not be successful, instead, you will find yourself with a clumpy mess. A blender with some ice is best when you are at home, a shaker bottle can make for a better on-the-go option.
Is Whey Protein Good With Almond Milk?
Yes, whey protein and almond milk create a similar taste and texture to mixing it with milk, almost like a milkshake. This is a much better option compared to water as you will find the texture is quite thin and the taste is watery. Unsweetened almond milk is best to taste wise as whey is usually sweetened already.
About The Author
Laura Semotiuk is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She works with athletes and active individuals looking to improve performance and develop healthy nutritional habits and behaviors. She has a passion for cooking, meal prepping, and creating simple and healthy recipes.
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