Smoothies are a great way to quickly throw together a nutritious, delicious meal or snack in just a few minutes. Unfortunately, “nutritious” sometimes makes way for “delicious” in these scenarios. Very often, smoothies get loaded with lots of carbohydrate sources and end up being nutritionally imbalanced.
Not only will this disrupt your macros for the day, but all those carbs could wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, leaving you tired, cranky and – worse yet – still hungry. As with many problems in life, however, protein is the answer. Adding sufficient amounts of protein will balance out that smoothie – slowing down you digestion of carbohydrates and keeping you feeling full longer.
But what can you use to add some much-needed protein to your smoothies? Here are a few options.
Protein Powder – Right, so this is a pretty obvious solution. Which is why we’re getting it out of the way first. Protein powder offers an easy, fast way to add protein to your smoothies – and just about anything else you can think of. Plus, you have tons of options when it comes to what the powder is sourced from and what flavors it brings to the party. Whey is by far one of the most common protein powders out there; Just make sure you pick up a grass-fed, organic whey like Gnarly Whey so that you’re getting the highest quality product possible. It’s extremely possible, however, that you don’t have any protein powder around at the moment. What then?
Greek Yogurt – Several years ago, Greek yogurt enjoyed a huge surge in popularity – and for good reason. After standard yogurt is strained, the resulting product is has about 15 to 20g of protein per serving, which is comparable to many protein powders. Greek yogurt also has very few carbs; just 5 to 8g per serving. You should know, however, that Greek yogurt is fairly high in fat. So, if you’re concerned about your fat intake or total calories, grab a reduced-fat version. In smoothies, Greek yogurt also comes in handy because of it’s thick creamy texture. Another word of caution: Use plain varieties rather than those that come flavored with fruits and syrups. These can add surprising amounts of carbs and calories. Do your own flavoring, instead.
Powdered Peanut Butter – A marvel of modern science, powdered peanut butter brings you all the joys of peanut butter with about 85 percent less calories and fat. Plus, the powdered form is a convenient way to get peanuts into your smoothies without struggling with the traditional, clumsy butter. It is important to realize, though, that even in this reduced-fat, reduced-calorie form, peanut butter really isn’t all that spectacular when it comes to protein – containing just about 8g per serving. While this isn’t terrible, it’s much less than some other sources on this list.
Chia Seeds – They may not be much to look at, but these humble little seeds are pretty powerful nutritional tools. Loaded with fiber and healthy omega-3 fatty acids, chia seeds also contain about 4g of complete protein. Granted, this isn’t a ton of protein but it can still be a useful way to sneak some more protein into that smoothie. As an added smoothie-making bonus, chia seeds also have an interesting habit of forming a sort of gel when they’re exposed to water. In your blender, this will give your smoothies a nice thickness that may be lacking otherwise.