Using a protein powder is often a convenient way to boost a smoothie’s nutritional value, but it’s not always the best choice, especially if your digestion reacts adversely to the myriad of ingredients in the powders. Then, there’s that annoying texture issue that can make smoothies lumpy or gritty, and completely unappetizing.
Luckily, nature has provided us with protein-packed ingredients that are easily accessible and ideal for adding to smoothies. Your high-speed blender will help integrate these ingredients so that they’re either appropriately chunky or blended to create a thickness that’s perfect.
Greek Yogurt – use plain yogurt, full fat, to get the most protein and healthy fats to add to your smoothie. Yogurt is also full of probiotics, which help keep your digestion on track. Protein content is around 20 grams per cup, so adding even 1/2 cup will give you a boost. Its tart taste will make any smoothie delicious, as it pairs well with berries and citrus.
Almond Butter – this nut butter contains healthy fats, minerals and protein. A tablespoon contains about 3.4 grams of protein, so adding a few spoonfuls of this delicious butter to your smoothie can be beneficial. Almond butter is high in potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium, so you’re getting a natural boost to your mineral intake as well.
Pumpkin Seeds – not just for the fall season and holidays, pumpkin seeds are a great way to add protein and nutrition to a smoothie. They are high in iron, magnesium, zinc and healthy fats, with a protein content of 8 grams for about 1/4 of a cup of seeds.
Raw Oats – adding oats to your smoothie can give you about 5.9 grams per 1/2 cup. They also contain all nine essential amino acids, and are a resistant starch that will help you feel full longer. They’re also high in fiber, which is always a good thing to help your digestive system keep moving.
Cottage Cheese – very high in protein, you’ll get a whopping 14 grams per 1/2 cup when you add this dairy product to your smoothie. Because it contains casein, you’ll feel full because it contains casein, a protein that takes longer to digest. So if you’re looking for a creamy smoothie that’s high in protein, consider adding cottage cheese.
Chia Seeds – chia seeds are full of nutritional goodness such as calcium, healthy fats, fiber, and of course, protein. Chia seeds contain about 9 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons. These seeds absorb water, you’ll feel full longer when adding them to a smoothie.
Kale – If you like the concept of a green smoothie, adding kale is a great way to ingest vitamins such as A, K, B6, and C plus a host of minerals. Its protein content comes in at about 4 grams per cup. If you don’t like the bitterness of kale in a smoothie (and who does?) add some frozen banana or other naturally sweet fruit to balance out the flavor.