When it comes to getting fit, there are few nutrients as important as protein. Carbohydrates and fat give you the energy you need to work out, but it’s protein that actually builds up the fibers of your muscles.
Eating more protein is one way to go, and you could always add more chicken, beef, eggs, fish, and dairy products to your meals. However, the downside of most of these proteins is that they are fairly high in saturated fat, not to mention calories.
And then there are smoothies–the delicious, creamy drinks that we all know and love.
The great thing about smoothies is that you can make them however you want. Want a low-calorie drink? Try a veggie smoothie with a bit of orange juice to add sweetness. Want something to replace your dessert? Try a berry smoothie to satisfy your sweet tooth? Want more protein? Make yourself high protein smoothies to give you all the muscle-building nutrients you need!
Is Protein Powder a Good Option?
When making protein smoothie recipes, it can be hard to know what type of protein to add. You certainly can’t add meat into your smoothie (gross!), and cracking a raw egg into your protein smoothies just sounds disgusting!
You can find natural sources of protein to make increase the protein in your protein smoothie recipes, such as:
You get about 7 grams of protein in two tablespoons of peanut butter, though it’s a fairly high-calorie (read: high fat) source of protein. We recommend this organic peanut butter.
These little seeds are loaded with healthy protein–roughly 2 grams per tablespoon–but they’re also an AMAZING source of Omega-3 fatty acids. You can buy organic flaxseeds on Amazon here.
Each cup of coconut milk has 5 grams of protein, plus a delicious, light flavor you just can’t beat! Try to buy the organic variety.
Want to make your smoothie thicker and richer? Every cup of oats contains 11 grams of protein, plus tons of fiber!
It may sound weird, but adding seaweed to your smoothie gives you a pretty hefty dose of plant-based protein.
The base of many smoothies, milk is one of the best sources of protein–up to 8 grams per cup.
This is one of the most popular smoothie additions, thanks to the fact that you get 4 grams of protein and lots of Omega-3 fatty acids and fiber in each tablespoon. Available here on Amazon.
The lower-fat cousin of peanut butter, almond butter gives you about 2 grams of protein per tablespoon. Plus, your smoothie will taste kind of like Nutella! You can buy it here.
Not my favorite, but not as bad as you might think. Think 6 grams of protein per egg, plus a very smooth texture for your smoothie. (Just be certain your eggs are salmonella-free!)
This ancient grain is loaded with 8 grams of protein per cooked cup, plus a lot of iron, magnesium, and fiber. Best of all, it’s one of the few complete plant-based protein.
The fat in yoghurt is actually proven to PROMOTE weight loss, and you can get up to 14 grams of protein per cup of the creamy stuff.
Make sure to buy shelled sunflower seeds like these, so you can make your smoothie a high protein drink thanks to the 1.5 grams of protein in every tablespoon of seeds.
Soy milk has 7 grams of protein in every cup, but it’s usually much lower in fat than regular dairy.
These seeds won’t get you baked, but they can help you get ripped! Each tablespoon of these hemp seeds contains 5 grams of protein.
High in fatty acids and rich in fiber and minerals, walnuts like these ones are also an excellent source of protein–4.5 grams of protein in just ¼ of a cup!
With a chocolate-y coffee-y flavor, cacao nibs are the perfect smoothie addition thanks to their 4 grams of protein per ounce! You can buy them here on Amazon.com.
As you can see, there are lots of natural sources of protein, but are they the best?
Protein powders, on the other hand:
- Offer protein that is refined and processed, making it easier for your body to absorb the amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle.
- Are easier to digest.
- Are a much cheaper, more convenient way to increase the protein content of your smoothie.
- Have a longer shelf life than most other sources of protein.
- Provide way more protein than you’d get from other sources.
- Are designed to match specific needs and fitness goals.
- Enhance the flavors and texture of your drink.
To be as healthy as possible, you should balance protein powder use with natural sources of protein. Make your protein smoothie recipes with as many natural proteins as possible, using a bit of protein powder to help increase the protein content of your delicious drinks!
Here are some of our favorite protein smoothies for you to try at home:
GBC Protein Smoothie
This delicious smoothie has the lush flavor of grapes and berries, with the high fiber of chia seeds to balance it out. With a bit of protein powder thrown into the mix, it’s the perfect refreshing drink!
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- ½ cup of blueberries
- 1 ½ cups of seedless dark purple grapes
- Vanilla-flavored or flavorless protein powder
- Measure the proper amount of protein powder into the blender for the amount of water you’re using.
- Blend until nice and smooth.
- Drop in the fruits, chia seeds, and ice, and blend!
Oat Banana Smoothie
Chocolate-flavored protein powder makes the best base for this drink, and the addition of oats makes your chocolate banana drink a hearty, enjoyable smoothie.
(Hint: If you freeze bananas BEFORE making your smoothie, it will give it the consistency of ice cream. You can use frozen bananas instead of ice to make your drink both cold and thick!)
- 1 banana
- 1/3 cup of oats
- 1 cup of milk
- Chocolate-flavored protein powder
- Peel the banana, and drop it into the blender with the rest of the ingredients.
- Blend until nice and thick.
This smoothie has all of the flavors of a tropical paradise mixed together, with coconut milk as the high-protein base. With just a tiny bit of yoghurt to add a bit more tang to your smoothie, it’s a deliciously rich drink that will fill you up easily!
- 2 oranges
- ½ cup of coconut milk
- ¼ pineapple
- ½ cup of yoghurt
Bonus: Mango — If you can buy mangoes locally, it adds a delicious richness to your smoothie.
- Use a citrus extractor to juice the oranges. Remove the seeds, but leave the pulp in the juice before pouring into the blender.
- Add the coconut milk into the blender, along with the yoghurt and the ice.
- Cut the peel from the pineapple and dice it into small cubes.
- Drop the pineapple cubes into the blender and set it to puree. Blend until the pineapple is nice and smooth, and enjoy!
Stomach giving you trouble? If you’ve got digestion problems, this high protein smoothie will help to deal with the aches and pains. The papaya in the smoothie will help to boost your natural digestion, and the mint and ginger in the drink will help to calm your stomach. With the easily digested protein, you don’t have to worry about tummy pains any more!
- ½ papaya
- ½ cup of Greek yoghurt
- Fresh ginger
- ½ lemon
- One sprig of mint
- Flavorless protein powder
- Remove the papaya seeds, cut away the peel, and chop into small cubes.
- Drop the cubes into the blender, along with the leaves of the mint sprig, honey, ice, and the Greek yoghurt.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the mixture.
- Peel about a square inch of fresh ginger, and chop it into small pieces.
- Drop the ginger into the blender, and puree until the drink is nice and smooth and green!
Old Skool Protein Milkshake
If you miss the old days of ice cream parlors and taking a girl out for a milkshake, this is the high protein smoothie recipe for you! With chocolate-flavored protein powder, milk, some frozen banana, and Xanthan gum, this frosted milkshake will be as thick and tasty as you could ask for!
- 1 cup of milk
- 2 scoops of chocolate-flavored protein powder
- 1 frozen banana
- Vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon Xanthan gum
- Pour the milk into the blender, and add the protein powder in before blending.
- Once the powder is mixed in thoroughly, drop in the frozen banana, the xanthan gum, the ice, and a few drops of vanilla extract.
- Blend until your drink tastes exactly like an old-skool milkshake!
With these protein smoothie recipes, you can fuel your muscles while enjoying a delicious, cold drink!