Most people who drink smoothies already cater them carefully to their body’s nutritional needs. So it makes sense that when looking for a boost to protein, dumping a mysterious store-bought powder into their smoothie full of natural ingredients can seem counterintuitive. The good news is that there are tons of natural sources of protein that can be used in the place of protein powder.
1. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is protein number one when it comes to smoothies. It tastes great and works incredibly with almost any flavor combination you might want. With 17g of protein, less than 1g of fat and only 6g of carbs in one serving, it avoids many downsides that protein-packed foods commonly have. It can also provide a smoother, more drinkable texture than some smoothie bases and has a tangy flavor.
2. Cottage Cheese
An alternative for those who might not like greek yogurt or just want to mix it up, cottage cheese can be used in very similar ways. It has even more protein than Greek yogurt, coming in at a whopping 25 g of protein per cup. It can also give smoothies a thick texture without having to add a lot of extra ingredients. The downside for this is that it may become thick enough to require a spoon rather than easily drinking through a straw.
3. Peanut Butter
The perfect excuse to make yourself Reese’s peanut butter cup themed smoothie is right here. With 6g of protein in every 2 tbsp, peanut butter is a great way to get protein on your cheat day. Combine peanut butter and dark chocolate with your favorite smoothie base and you have the added benefits of probiotics.
4. Silken Tofu
This one is for the vegans. Each slice of tofu has an average of 6 g of protein, which most vegans probably already know. But cooking and preparing tofu in such a way that it doesn’t taste bland can be a struggle. But blending it up into a convenient smoothie, it’s much easier and quicker to get your protein than by cooking it into a meal.
5. Chia Seeds
While chia seeds don’t offer a ton of protein, they can offer an extra 4g per tablespoon, which can help boost your regular morning smoothie. This is a good option for people who might not need a lot of protein but want to add just a little to their diet to keep them feeling fuller throughout the day.
Adding oats to a smoothie can add between 10 to 14 grams per half cup. Recipes for smoothies that use oatmeal can vary widely in how much they call for, allowing people who want only a little protein and those who want a lot to equally benefit from using this flexible ingredient. It also thickens the smoothie considerably, a good thing for those using more protein to feel fuller because it will feel less like a light smoothie and more like a small meal. But this can also be a negative for individuals looking for a quick, on-the-go source of nutrition.