SOUTHINGTON — With names like Pumpkin Cheescake and PB Jelly Time, the shakes at The Fresh Monkee on Queen Street sound more like dessert and less like what they actually are – healthy snacks and meal replacements packed with protein.
“It helps the body repair muscles quicker,” said owner Judy Flynn about the primary ingredient — protein powder. “It’s a niche people are understanding now.”
The Fresh Monkee in Southington opened last summer, four years after the first shop opened in Wethersfield followed by stores in Berlin and Glastonbury. The fifth location opened in Manchester in October.
Flynn said the concept of healthy shakes has grown popular over the last few years with more regular customers, like Southington resident Sylwia Lewkowicz, who came in Monday for her weekly shake.
“I like anything with peanut butter honestly, but I haven’t tried this one yet,” Lewkowicz said of the PB Jelly Time shake, made with vanilla protein powder, mixed berries, natural peanut butter, milk and low-fat graham.
After one sip the verdict was in.
Natural peanut butter-based shakes are a popular choice. Shakes like the signature Chunkee Monkee are made with peanut butter, a whole banana, chocolate or vanilla protein and dairy or non-dairy milk.
“Especially after a workout within a half hour you’re supposed to have a certain amount of protein so this is meant to help you recover after workouts,” said Tammy Williams, managing partner at The Fresh Monkee in Southington.
The Chunkee Monkee, in meal replacement size made with almond milk, has 35 grams of protein, 21 grams of fat and 474 calories.
The shakes can be customized according to dietary needs and restrictions. Chia seeds and flax seeds can be added to stay full longer, or spinach for a handful of greens in any shake.
Flynn said the key goal is to keep the fiber in and balance fruit sugars with protein to avoid insulin spikes.
“You don’t get that spike,” she said. “The protein slows the digestion of the sugar.”
Other popular shakes include Strawberry Moon, made with a banana, strawberries, milk and vanilla protein, and Blueberry Pie, made with vanilla protein, blueberries, spices and milk.