Powder-Free Ways to Add Protein to Your Smoothie

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When you’re rushing to get out the door in the morning, there may not be time to cook a meal that is as healthy as you want it to be. So, you whip out the blender and in mere moments you are sipping your way to healthy breakfast bliss.  

Or not.  

If you are adding protein powders, that smoothie you are happily slurping in the car may be loaded with some unappealing extra stuff, like chemicals, antibiotics and heavy metals. The good news is you don’t need processed powders to satisfy your smoothie’s protein requirement. There are plenty of whole food proteins for smoothies that will make them as nutritious as it they are delicious.

Check out these protein combos that can be a healthy, flavorful replacement for processed powders. 

  • Hemp Seeds and Kale

A well-known source of protein, hemp seeds contain 13 grams of protein per 3 tablespoons. Like kale, which contains 5 grams of protein per cup, hemp seeds are rich in iron and magnesium. 3 tablespoons of hemp and one cup of kale will add 18 grams of healthy protein to your smoothie. The healthy fats in hemp will also assist your body in absorbing the vitamin A, E and K in Kale, all of which are fat-soluble.  

  • Oats and Spinach

This dynamic duo of protein is the best of all worlds: High in protein and low in fat. Mix in 2 cups of spinach and ½ cup oats for a tasty smoothie loaded with 17 grams of protein. Both oats and spinach are rich in magnesium which supports muscle and bone health. Spinach is also a natural anti-inflammatory.  Together this protein combo adds a creamy slightly nutty flavor.   

  • Almond Butter and Chia Seeds

Almond butter and chia seeds are two great proteins for smoothies. Both are low carb, healthy, energy boosting fats that are loaded with magnesium and potassium as well as protein. Your healthiest option is raw unsalted almond butter that contains neither added salt or oils. Two tablespoons each of almond butter and chia seeds will add 12 grams of protein to your creative concoction.  

  • Quinoa and Spinach

Often overlooked as a smoothie ingredient, quinoa lends a mild nutty flavor that can be easily masked with green apple, blackberries, or blueberries. Loaded with magnesium, potassium and iron, it’s a great fit with the nutrients in spinach. Cooked or uncooked, ½ cup of quinoa offers 12 grams of protein. Add that to the 10 grams in 2 cups of spinach for a super smoothie with a whopping 22 grams total. Talk about a high protein smoothie.

  • Pumpkin Seeds and Oats

If you are out of greens, no need to stress. Pumpkin seeds are a worthy substitute. With 5 grams of protein per ¼ cup, pumpkin seeds are the one of the richest protein sources available. They are high in fat, but do contain the healthy fats that support the brain as well as the heart. Oats and pumpkin seeds taste great together and both contribute substantial amounts of magnesium and potassium. A ¼ cup of seeds and a ½ cup oats will yield 13 grams of delicious protein.

Protein is an essential dietary component that repairs muscle tissue, supports our metabolic and digestive systems, and impacts brain function. So, say no to protein powder but yes to a whole food, high protein smoothies that will start your day with a ray of smoothie sunshine.