As a meal replacement or snack, it’s hard to beat smoothies. Add a boost of protein, and they’re a smart food choice.
Types of Protein
The type of protein you add to a smoothie comes down to convenience, taste, and personal preference.
The quickest and most convenient way to add protein is with a protein powder. There are generally two types to choose from. One is derived from animal proteins such as eggs and whey, and the other is sourced from vegetable proteins (pea, soy, rice, and hemp).
Animal-based powders are often better absorbed and used by the body, but both types are good choices. It comes down to personal preference and dietary requirements. No matter which type you select, check the label to see if the product is sweetened or unsweetened. Be aware that some brands are artificially sweetened and flavored. Be sure to check the amount of protein per serving. Most powders offer between 15 and 25 grams of protein.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are another great way to add protein to a smoothie. Consider soaking them beforehand. While it requires a little forethought, better flavor and texture are the result—along with improved digestion. Soaking also improves the availability of the ingredient’s proteins as live enzymes are released. Soaked nuts and seeds blend more easily into smoothies, meaning less work for your blender.
Soak pistachios, hazelnuts, and almonds for about eight hours. Brazil nuts require about three hours, walnuts four, and pecans six. Soft nuts such as cashews and macadamias do best when soaked for two hours. (Take care not to oversoak these last two creamier varieties, or their flavorful and precious oils may break down.)