If you’re pressed for time in the a.m. or don’t have much of an appetite upon rising, a smoothie could be a winning breakfast option, as it requires minimal effort and lets you sip on those nutrients, instead. Plus, you can pack a lot of essential vitamins and minerals, as well as good fats, fiber and protein into a smoothie where it acts as a well-balanced meal or snack.
While many people think smoothies are fruity and sweet (and some definitely are!), fruit based smoothies are generally higher in calories, carbs and sugar, and they’re lower in protein so you end up feeling hungry again shortly after. That’s why only including one or two servings of fruits and then adding in green veggies, protein sources, and healthy fats is the best way to keep your smoothie satiating and thick, so you feel fuller for longer.
And you don’t need to add Greek yogurt, milk or protein powders containing whey to get that rich dose of protein. There are many plant-based protein sources that also lend fiber, good fats, and other nutrients that’ll fuel your body and keep it satisfied until your next meal. These are the best ways to add protein to your smoothies for greater nutrition and flavor.
Make it Creamy with Avocado
Avocado is a major superfood, as it has magnesium and potassium (two electrolytes that make an avocado smoothie perfect for a post-workout snack), as well as clean, heart-healthy fats and protein. Plus, the creamy texture makes the smoothie feel luscious and rich, so you’ll likely feel more full off of a smaller serving, where the smoothie could be a quick snack as well as a heartier, meal replacement option.
Add in Nut Butter or Nuts
Peanut butter, almond butter or cashew butter are all wonderful nut butter picks containing unsaturated, healthy fats and fiber to keep the munchies at bay. Plus, the fiber also promotes better gut health, which in turn boosts your immune system and keeps you regular. Nut butter tastes great with fruit, like blueberries and bananas, as well as a plant-based chocolate protein powder or vegan chocolate chips, for example.
Toss in Chia Seeds
Chia seeds have a high volume and tons of fiber, plus there’s a nice amount of protein per serving, too. They taste great with pretty much any ingredients as they aren’t very flavorful on their own and can take on those of the other ingredients easily. Chia seeds also bulk the smoothie up a bit, so it feels thicker and heartier.
Blend Cubed Tofu
Tofu doesn’t seem like it would work in a smoothie, but it totally does—and it’s a major source of plant-based, vegan protein that takes on the flavors of the ingredients it’s paired with. You won’t even notice it’s there! Try blending with leafy greens, avocado, and mango, for a silky, sweet and high-protein smoothie.
Add in Crunch With Protein GranolaYou can make a smoothie feel more decadent with a serving of granola, but one that is high in protein rather than just in sugars and refined carbs, like most are on the market. A high protein granola will provide density and texture and it’ll be a good source to complement other sources in the smoothie, like nuts and seeds, spinach and kale, nut butter or avocado.