7 Ways to Give Your Smoothie a Protein Boost—Without Using Powders
Avoid those mid-morning hunger pangs without having to use expensive (or highly processed) protein powders.
Featured Recipe: Cherry-Mocha Smoothie
Starting your day off with a smoothie is a great way to squeeze in some produce first thing in the morning. You can get a hearty dose of fiber, vitamins and minerals right off the bat and can mix and match the ingredients depending on what you're craving that day. The problem is, your good intentions to consume a wholesome breakfast can leave you feeling hangry before you finish that second cup of coffee. Ugh.
Luckily, it doesn't take much to ensure your breakfast smoothie will power you through until lunch. Padding your smoothie with a hefty serving of protein can help make your smoothie much more satiating, and you don't need any expensive protein powders to do it.
Consider adding one (or more!) of these nourishing, protein-packed foods the next time you fire up your blender.
Related: Our Best Smoothie Recipes
Greek yogurt really gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to protein—a standard 5.3-ounce container can pack anywhere from 14-18 grams! It also helps you meet your calcium needs, offering around 20 percent of your daily value per serving. We like plain Greek options best—especially since you're already putting some fruit and/or other sweet ingredients in your smoothie—but feel free to play around with fat content to find which kind fills you up the most.
Recipe: Pineapple Green Smoothie
If you haven't tried hemp seeds yet, you're missing out—they are loaded with all sorts of vital nutrients. From fiber to magnesium to protein, these babies pack a big punch when it comes to giving your body the nourishment it needs. A two-tablespoon serving provides 8 grams of protein! They also are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, making this a staple food for vegetarians and vegans.
Don't knock it 'til you try it! Some of our staff members swear by this sneaky ingredient for tummy rumble-free mornings. Legumes are an amazing source of both fiber and protein and this combo will help keep you satiated for hours. A half-cup serving packs 9 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. They are also a great source of potassium, magnesium, iron and B vitamins for the ultimate post-workout meal.
Recipe: Berry-Coconut Smoothie
Nut and Seed Butters
If you're like us, you have one (or four) jars of nut butter in your pantry at all times. Spooning a tablespoon or two into your smoothie is a surefire way to help it stick with you until lunch. Two tablespoons of almond butter add a 7-gram protein boost to your morning smoothie—not to mention a creamy, rich texture as well. Nut butter is also a great way to get some healthy fats in your diet.
This might seem even crazier than adding lentils to your smoothie, but trust us on this one! Not only is tofu loaded with all sorts of nutrients, it helps give a craveable, indulgent texture to your smoothie. Depending on the firmness of your tofu, it can offer an 8- to 10-gram protein boost to your favorite morning blend. It's also a great source of calcium and magnesium.
Recipe: Tropical Fruit Smoothie
Cottage cheese is the perfect solution to those looking for a protein and texture boost to their smoothie. A half-cup serving adds 12g of protein to your morning smoothie, along with 18 percent of your daily calcium needs. There are also several brands out there, like Good Culture, that are fortified with probiotics for a gut-health boost. Just be wary if you're watching your salt intake—it's a sneaky source of sodium.
Recipe: Mango-Coconut Green Smoothie
Can't decide between a big bowl of oatmeal and a creamy smoothie? You can actually have both—kind of. Adding oats to your smoothie is a super easy way to bulk it up with protein and fiber without a lot of effort. A half-cup packs 5 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber.
Recipe: Cherry-Berry Oatmeal Smoothies
Nutrition Source: USDA Branded Food Products Database