Can You Pre-mix a Protein Shake and Store It Overnight?

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: November 23, 2023
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In my years of juggling schedules between clients and training, I learned mixing protein powders in advance ensures I get the nutrition I need between meals.

Anytime we get the essential nutrients we need quickly and efficiently is a significant health benefit.

So, if you’ve been thinking about making your shakes in advance but wondered if it was worth it, read on to learn from my professional and personal experience, and you’ll pick up some tricks to save time.

Quick Summary

  • You can mix protein shakes in advance as it will both save you time and give you the nutrition you need.
  • Protein shakes made at night can be refrigerated, or frozen to keep them fresh for a long.
  • Try to consume your protein shake within 72 hours otherwise, the taste might degrade.
  • In my experience, I've found that premixing protein shakes is a perfect blend of convenience and nutrition.

Can You Make a Protein Shake the Night Before?

Protein shakes pre-mixed and made then stored overnight

Yes, you can make a protein shake the night before. Having a tasty protein powder mixed with water or milk from the night before can be a lifesaver for people with busy schedules.

Personally, preparing a protein shake a night before not only saves me time but also ensures I get the nutrition I need right whenever I need it.

According to research published in the National Library of Medicine, adding a shake to your fitness routine promotes muscle protein synthesis because of the presence of amino acids and other body functions dependent on them [1].

I’ve outlined the methods to make and store protein drinks in advance with no negative effects on nutrients or flavor, so let’s take a closer look.

Refrigerating Protein Shakes

I've always prepped my shakes in advance. Storing them in an airtight container at 40 degrees Fahrenheit keeps them fresh and bacteria-free.

You can store protein shakes in the fridge overnight or for a maximum of 72 hours.

Adding natural preservatives like honey and lemon juice can slightly extend the shelf life, although I always advise consuming a protein shake within the recommended time frame of 3 days.

Just make sure to shake it vigorously before consuming. This is to ensure all the ingredients are fully blended.

Freezing Protein Shakes

When traveling, I often freeze my shakes a couple of days ahead. Just ensure you use a freezer-safe container and leave some space for expansion.

For best results, when making your shakes with fruits, milk, or vegetables, freeze immediately.

Blend all the ingredients until smooth and pour into the freezer-safe containers—place in the freezer.

How Do You Correctly Thaw a Protein Shake?

Protein shakes in a freezer

Over the years, I've experimented with different ways to thaw my protein shakes. From my experience, you have a couple of solid options.

It's worth noting that your thawing method can influence the shake's digestion. For instance, thawing it in a refrigerator might maintain a smoother consistency which is easier on the stomach.

You can pre-mix the protein powder and leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before drinking it.

Doing this should avoid any issues and preserve the taste. You will want to give it a vigorous shake to blend all the ingredients and return it to that smooth consistency for drinking.

You can grab your shake right out of the freezer as you head out for a workout. After you complete your exercise session, you will have a nice cold shake to kickstart the recovery of those muscles.

Do not try to speed up the thawing process by microwaving your shake; this will adversely affect the taste and texture and leave you with a wildly different product than you were expecting.

Is the Content Affected by Freezing?

A man drinking a cold protein shake

No, the nutrition content of your protein shake is usually not affected by freezing. When you mix your powder with fruit, vegetables, milk, or other liquids, you will have the same nutrition as freshly made shakes.

However, I've personally experienced subtle changes in taste experience with shakes that contain fruits or natural sweeteners, but this did not in any way diminish the shake's nutritional value.

Insulated Containers

Insulated containers are an are great for same-day shakes. They keep your drink fresh and reduce the need for single-use plastics; a win for the environment.

Chill your insulated container ahead of time, and you should have a nice cold shake for up to 12 hours. The time will vary depending on the manufacturer and model of the container.

After cooling my shake for a couple of hours, I always shake the container vigorously to get the ingredients mixed up and creamy.

“Consuming protein shakes and powders as part of a high protein diet may help control your appetite, increase the calories you burn, and lose belly fat, indicating they may be effective for weight loss.”

-Ariane Lang, BSc, MBA

Carry Ingredients Separately

If you don’t have an insulated container or access to a refrigerator or freezer, you can pre-measure ingredients and carry them separately. Simply pre-measure one or two portions, whatever you will use that day. Resealable baggies work great for this.

Sealed juice, an unopened carton of soy milk (no refrigeration required), and water are great options for mixing later in the day.

Pre-Made Products

Close up shot of pre-made protein powder product

Pre-made protein supplements, although pricier, are more convenient. They can be stored at room temperature until you're ready to drink.

Like powders, there are countless options and flavors available from pre-made shakes, and I have tried the gamut from traditional chocolate to more adventurous citrus carrot, from whey or casein to plant-based.

Make sure to read the label of pre-made protein drinks and look for unnecessary additions like fillers and added sugars.

I avoid pre-made shakes because I like to tailor my drinks to my preferences, needs, and tastes on any particular day.

Some days I want to mix my protein shake with yogurt and frozen fruit to make a smoothie; other days, I need a protein-loaded boost with banana, peanut butter, and chocolate protein powder.

FAQs

How Long Does A Protein Shake Last In The Fridge?

A protein shake will last approximately three days in the fridge. After this, bacteria may grow in the powder.

Also, the taste of any fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables may degrade over this time. The 72-hour rule applies to all shakes mixed with water, milk, or other beverages.

Why Does A Protein Shake Separate?

The liquid and solid in a protein shake will likely separate due to sedimentation (the process of setting), but the nutritional value, like the benefits from amino acids, remains intact. Shaking the container just before consuming quickly returns the creamy texture.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3381813/
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