Green smoothies are a wonderful way to increase our consumption of fruits and vegetables, but as perfect as they are for our bodies, other essentials like healthy fats, protein, and fiber are incredibly important for a boosted immune system, digestion, brain function – and just about everything else!
If you’re looking for ways to amp up the protein in your morning smoothie, read on!
This is one of the most obvious — and easiest — ways to add protein to your smoothie. Many powders (like unflavored pea protein powder) mix so well into smoothies that they’re undetectable, but everyone’s palate is different, so start off small: Blend your smoothie with a half scoop of protein powder to see how the constancy is. If there’s no grittiness, add the rest!
Pro Tip: When you’re on the hunt for a good protein powder, look for one that has ingredients you can pronounce, and that isn’t overabundant in sugar or strange chemicals. Many powders out there will claim to have 20 – 40 grams of protein per scoop – but it’s not always necessary to get the powder with the most protein per serving. Most of us eat enough protein daily as is, so keep an eye on the additional ingredients first, and the amount of protein second.
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Adding around 1/4 cup of raw nuts to your smoothie will increase the protein content by approximately 5g, and because of their healthy fats, nuts will also increase the creaminess factor! Additionally, you’ll find that your smoothie will resist separation because of the healthy fats involved.
Pro Tip: When it comes to the healthiest nuts for your smoothie, almonds pack the most protein (6g protein per ounce) with the least amount of calories, with cashews in second place, and pistachios in third. Always make sure you’re avoiding nuts that have been roasted in oil, or that have sugars added.
Hemp seeds have a delightfully nutty flavor when blended, and have a healthy serving of both fiber and Omega-3s. Three tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds provide around 10g of protein, which is quite a lot for such little seeds!
Pro Tip: Start with one tablespoon of hemp seeds in your smoothie and see how the flavor turns out. If you enjoy it, move up to two or three. Also note that the high amount of fiber in hemp can “speed up” digestion — if you catch our drift!
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Like hemp seeds, chia seeds are a powerhouse of healthy fats and fiber, as well as protein. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain around 4g of protein and a whopping 11g of fiber, making them perfect craving-busters.
Pro Tip: Mixing your chia seeds with a little bit of water 15 minutes to an hour before blending will create a “chia gel,” a gelatinous mixture that adds volume to smoothies and digests easier.
There’s 5g of fiber in 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds, as well as healthy fats and fiber. Magnesium, an essential mineral for everything from emotional balance to a a healthy sleep/wake cycle, is especially high in pumpkin seeds, making them a tasty way to replenish your daily amount.
Pro Tip: Start with 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds in your smoothie. When using for blending, make sure you buy the raw, unsalted kind!
Most people don’t realize that spinach is actually quite high in protein (as well as iron, calcium, and vitamin K)! One half cup of cooked spinach provides about 3g of protein. The secret is the cooked part — 1/2 cup of cooked spinach is actually quiet a lot, so to get those 3g of protein, you’ll need to throw a few hefty handfuls of raw spinach into your blender.
Pro Tip: Freezing your spinach (in a flat, air-tight container) after washing will help this delicate green last longer, as well as add volume to your smoothie.
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