Though there are a litany of ways to incorporate additional protein into meals and snacks, adding protein to smoothies is particularly smart: first, it’s a refreshingly sweet avenue to enjoy a nutrient that’s more often reserved for savory occasions; and second, smoothies allow us to easily enjoy protein in some of its healthiest superfood forms (hemp seeds, we’re looking at you!). Here are some of the great ways to make a protein-infused smoothie:
• Elevated energy
• Reduced food cravings
• More stable levels of satiation
• Better digestion and absorption
Many people rely on one big high-protein meal a day – especially at dinner – yet this habit can put major stress on the kidneys, which can lead to serious health issues down the road. In contrast, consuming smaller portions of protein throughout the day leads to:
If you’re looking for an easy way to upgrade your smoothies, look no further than protein! Protein is essential for a lean, healthy physique: helping to build and retain muscle mass, keep hormones in check, and maintain balanced blood sugar metabolism … to name just a few of its extended benefits.
Use a high-quality protein powder
Repeat after me: not all protein powders are created equal! While the concept of protein powders isn’t anything new, the ingredients-game has definitely changed! Once little more than a collection of highly processed ingredients and synthetic vitamins, many health advocates have wisened up that the nutrients found in natural foods and superfoods are always better. Here’s a cheat sheet to picking a great protein powder. A delicious protein smoothie can literally be as simple as a serving of a protein powder blend, a banana, and some almond milk!
Add nuts and seeds
For anyone who loves creamy-style smoothies, nuts and seeds are likely already well-loved staples. Blending nuts like cashews and almonds, or hemp seeds and chia seeds, helps make smoothies texturally more smooth, rich, and dessert-like. The great news here is these ingredients are also all excellent protein sources – every spoonful you add boosts your smoothie with several grams of easily-digested, complete protein that’s backed with important minerals and heart-healthy fats and fiber. For an extra easy way to blend the benefits of nuts and seeds, use them as “butters,” or the pre-ground forms of these foods. For example, a spoonful of almond butter in a chocolate smoothie made with coconut water and cacao powder is a quick trip to delicious protein-infused heaven.
Toss in nutrient-dense superfoods
Many of the healthiest foods on the planet – superfoods – offer a huge array of nutrients in every calorie they provide. So, while some might not be known specifically as “protein foods,” they do offer some amino acids along with their other benefits. It’s important to think of smoothies, and nutrition as a whole, as a collective effort … if you can boost your smoothie with a couple more grams of protein via a delicious ingredient, why not? Unconventional protein sources include superfoods like goji berries, mulberries, spirulina powder, and leafy green vegetables. Throw in a scoop of goji berries and a big handful of greens into some frozen mango and coconut milk, and say hello to an extra 5-6 grams of protein just that easily!
Remember, the goal is not to have huge quantities of protein, but rather quality protein from foods that are healthy for both you and the planet. Superfood smoothies cover both bases in the most delicious of ways.