Cinnamon smoothieHealthy fats and good calories make this shake a sweet treat. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Most health drinks claim to taste as delicious as favorite bad-for-you food items. The worst offenders are usually protein bars and protein shakes, things that often barely taste edible with the first bite, get worse as you keep eating, and then leave an awful aftertaste. They're also filled with alternative ingredients you can't even pronounce let alone understand what they are. But with this recipe, you get all the good flavor and all the good nutrition, without any of the trickery.

This recipe comes from Born Fitness's Adam Bornstein, who skips the whole "protein shake" part and goes straight for the gold by titling this "Cinnamon-Vanilla Protein Cake Batter." While you can't bake a cake with it, you will find yourself tipping the blender upside down over your open mouth and licking the edges to get every last drop. It truly does taste like batter, only better because you can drink a whole glassful and it doesn't make you want to pass out on the couch in shame and nausea.

If you're having a sweets craving that is putting you on edge, this is a guilt-free way to be entirely indulgent and feel full for half a day. This is a high-calorie shake, so don't expect to be able to sit around drinking this for every meal. But it is filled with healthy fats from almond butter and chia seeds, natural sugar from fruit, and plenty of protein.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Total time:10 minutes

Yields: 1 large shake

Cinnamon-Vanilla Banana Milkshake


  • 5 ice cubes
  • 1 cup almond milk (organic, unsweetened, original)
  • 2 scoops vegan vanilla protein powder
  • frozen banana
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
Cinnamon-vanilla banana milkshake

I use BioTrust LowCarb, which is also what Bornstein recommends for this recipe. Out of the powders I've tried over the years, this is one of the best both for taste (vanilla flavor is very, very easy for manufacturers to get oh so wrong) and for the all-natural ingredients label, which is pretty impressive for a protein powder. However, it is not vegan. If you want to keep this shake vegan, try out different vegan vanilla protein powders until you find the perfect one for you. Here are some recommendations.

A helpful tip for the frozen banana part: I always have a bowl of banana slices in the freezer. They're perfect for grabbing one or two slices when you have a craving for something cold and sweet, and they're perfect for making into vegan ice cream in a matter of minutes. So pick up a bunch of organic bananas at the store, peel them, slice them, and put them in a container in the fridge. One banana, as listed here in this recipe, is equal to about eight or ten 1-inch slices.

Ingredients for cinnamon vanilla banana milkshake

Now, Bornstein notes that the order in which you place items in the blender matters. I'll say I agree if you have an average blender. If you have a food processor or high-powered blender, however, just throw everything in and blend away. But for folks like me who have a ho-hum blender, here's the steps Bornstein recommends:

Cooking directions

  1. Place the ice cubes in the blender, pour the almond milk over them, and add the banana slices and protein powder. Blend until nearly smooth.
  2. Add the almond butter, vanilla extract and chia seeds and blend for a few seconds.
  3. Add the cinnamon and blend until everything is combined and smooth.
bananas a blender

More ingredients added to the blender

cinnamon added to the blender

This makes one large shake that's great for a meal, or if you're actually having it for dessert (which is is totally perfect for, instead of having ice cream or milkshakes and the like) then it makes enough for two people. Enjoy!

Finished cinnamon vanilla banana shake

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Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Cinnamon-Vanilla Banana Milkshake
With this recipe, you get all the good flavor and all the good nutrition, without any of the trickery of store-brought protein shakes.