By Julie Morris, Superfood Chef and best selling author of Superfood Smoothies
If you’re looking for an easy way to upgrade your smoothies, look no further than protein! Protein is essential for a lean, healthy physique: helping to build and retain muscle mass, keep hormones in check, and maintain balanced blood sugar metabolism … to name just a few of its many, many benefits! Many people rely on one big high-protein meal a day – especially at dinner – yet this habit can put major stress on the kidneys, which can lead to serious health issues down the road. In contrast, consuming smaller portions of protein consistently throughout the day leads to better digestion and absorption, a more stable level of satiation, reduced cravings, and overall superior energy.
Though there are a litany of ways to incorporate additional protein into meals and snacks, adding quality protein to smoothies is particularly smart: first, it’s a refreshingly sweet avenue to enjoy a nutrient that’s more often reserved for savory occasions; and second, smoothies allow us to easily enjoy protein in some of its healthiest superfood forms (hemp seeds, we’re looking at you!). Here are some of the great ways to make a protein-infused smoothie:
Use a high-quality protein powder
Repeat after me: not all protein powders are created equal! While the concept of protein powders isn’t anything new, the ingredients-game has definitely changed! Once little more than a collection of highly processed ingredients and synthetic vitamins, many health advocates have wisened up that the nutrients found in natural foods and superfoods are always better. Beaming Protein Powder is a great example of the later, offering 12 grams of plant-based protein per serving, and extra rich in naturally-occurring micronutrients from whole superfoods. Plus, since it tastes so great, it’s super easy to use! A delicious protein smoothie can be as simple as blending Beaming Protein Powder with a banana and some almond milk.
Add nuts and seeds
For anyone who loves creamy-style smoothies, nuts and seeds are likely already well-loved. Blending nuts like cashews and almonds, or hemp seeds and chia seeds, helps make a smoothie texturally more smooth, rich, and dessert-like. The great news is these are all excellent protein sources as well – every spoonful offers several grams of easily-digested, complete protein that’s backed with important minerals and heart-healthy fats and fiber. An extra easy way to blend the benefits of nuts and seeds is to use “butters,” or the pre-ground forms of these foods. For example, a spoonful of almond butter in a chocolate smoothie made with coconut water and cacao powder, is a quick trip to protein heaven.
Toss in nutrient-dense superfoods
Many of the healthiest foods on the planet – superfoods – offer a huge array of nutrients in every calorie they provide. So, while some might not be known specifically as “protein foods,” they do offer some amino acids along with their other benefits. It’s important to think of smoothies, and nutrition as a whole (!), as a collective effort … if you can boost your smoothie a couple of grams further with a delicious ingredient, why not? Unconventional protein sources include superfoods like goji berries, mulberries, spirulina powder, and leafy green vegetables. Throw in a scoop of goji berries and a big handful of greens into some frozen mango and coconut milk, and say hello to an extra 5-6 grams of protein without even trying!
Remember, the goal is not to have huge quantities of protein, but rather quality protein from foods that are healthy for both you and the planet. Superfood smoothies cover both bases in the most delicious of ways!
RECIPE: Vanilla-Matcha Protein Smoothie
Like a creamy ice cream, this protein-rich smoothie tastes like a vanilla-green tea dessert. Unlike ice cream, it actually supports a lean physique, packed with muscle-building protein, and metabolism-boosting matcha. To make this a true “green smoothie,” just add in a handful of optional spinach, as suggested below!
Makes 1 serving
3 tablespoons raw cashews
1 tablespoon mashed avocado
1 large Medjool date, pitted
2 tablespoons Beaming Protein Powder
1 teaspoon matcha powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 handful baby spinach (optional)
¾ cup ice
Liquid stevia, to taste (optional)
Blend all the ingredients together except the ice and stevia until smooth. Add the ice and blend until frosty. Taste, and add adjust sweetness with stevia if desired.