What is Protein?
We hear the term “protein” all of the time, but what is it? Protein is a highly sought after macronutrient or large component of food, we eat every day. Amino acids are small units that make up protein and determine its structure and function.
How does protein benefit me?
Protein serves many functions in the body including being a primary component of our hair, muscles, nails, skin, organs, and other tissues.
Protein helps with maintaining fluid balance, blood clotting, repairing cells and tissues, and hormone production. Having a pertinent role in weight management, protein helps with appetite regulation and increasing satiety.
How much protein do I need daily?
Your protein needs depend on your current body weight. An adult needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). This means a 150lb woman would need 55 grams of protein per day.
Where do I get protein from?
The egg frittata you ate for breakfast yesterday had protein. The nut-filled snack bar you munched at work today -that too had protein. Beans, lentils, peas, seeds, nuts, nut butters, and grains are some plant-based protein sources.
Animal-based protein sources are meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products. Both plant and animal foods can be excellent sources of protein.
A simple way to increase your protein intake or help you meet your daily protein goal is by making high-protein smoothies.
Why make smoothies?
- Good Nutrition Source
It can be healthier to make your smoothie at home versus buying one at a smoothie bar or chain where they are likely to be high in calories and sugar. You may be unaware of all the ingredients in a smoothie chain smoothie.
Because you are in control of the ingredients you put into your homemade high-protein smoothie, you can determine how healthy it is.
Smoothies are an easy way to maximize your fruit and vegetable intake at one time. If you aren’t very passionate about eating vegetables, this is a sneaky way to get them into your body and reap their many benefits.
- Low Cost
Making high-protein smoothies at home can be a low-cost way to propel you towards your daily protein goal. You can save yourself a few dollars by making smoothies at home.
How to Make a High-Protein Smoothie?
We discussed food sources of protein earlier on. Because you probably won’t be blending deli meat into your smoothie, protein powder can make a tasty addition while providing a high amount of protein in a single scoop.
Here are some of the essentials to making a high-protein smoothie. You will need frozen fruit or fresh fruit and ice cubes, a liquid, protein, and sweetener. You don’t necessarily have to follow a recipe to make a good smoothie.
Below are some tips to troubleshoot your smoothie if it just isn’t tasting the way you would like it to.
If your smoothie needs…
- Healthy fat: Add chia seeds, avocado, or some flax oil
- More protein: Add hemp seeds, nonfat greek yogurt, tofu, low-fat cottage cheese, or protein powder
- To be creamier: Add avocado, banana, or nonfat greek yogurt
- To be sweeter: Add honey, dried fruit, stevia, or protein powder
- Vegetables: Add spinach, cucumber, parsley, kale, carrots, or cauliflower
- More liquid: 1/3 cup at a time, add unsweetened almond, soy milk or 1% milk
- To be more tangy: Add some freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or grapefruit
- To be colder: Add ice
10 Healthy High Protein Smoothie Recipes
Here is a list of 10 healthy high-protein smoothie recipes containing 15 or more grams of protein per serving. Recipe numbers 1-5 require protein powder and recipe numbers 6-10 are protein powder-free.
1. Basic Protein Smoothie Recipe – 34 grams of protein
- 1 cup frozen fruit or ice (bananas, berries, etc.)
- 2-4 servings protein (protein powder, nut butter, seeds, etc.)
- 1/3 cup – 1 cup of liquid (almond milk, water, orange juice, etc)
- optional: sweetener
2. Key Lime High-Protein Green Smoothie – 38 grams of protein
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- lime yogurt (5.3 oz container)
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 cup leafy greens
- 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 1 handful of ice
3. Strawberry Vanilla Protein Smoothie – 21 grams of protein
- 3/4 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk (other nondairy milk)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1-2 heaping handful(s) spinach (or kale)
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- ¼ avocado
- 1 medium frozen banana
- 1/2-1 tablespoon almond butter (optional)
4. Blackberry Coconut Fruit Smoothie – 23 grams of protein
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup blackberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 banana
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 2 scoops vanilla protein powder
5. Healthy Green Smoothie (Vegan) – 15 grams of protein
- 1 banana
- 2 medium apples chopped, skin on
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder vanilla flavour
- 5 cups fresh spinach
- 3/4 cup ice
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1 tablespoon each chia seeds, hemp seeds, or ground flax seed
6. Post-Workout High Protein Smoothie – 37 grams of protein
- 8 fl oz soy milk
- ½ cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 cup spinach
- 10 almonds
- 1/2 cup blackberries
- 5 medium strawberries
- ½ cup pomegranate seeds
7. Green Monster Smoothie – 19 grams of protein
- 2 cups + of spinach
- 2 bananas
- 1 cup cottage cheese
- 1/3 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
8. Chocolate Cheesecake Cherry Smoothie – 16 grams of protein
- 3/4 cup cherries frozen or fresh (pitted)
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1/4 cup soy milk or other “milk”
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (add after blending)
9. Carrot Cake Smoothie – 20 grams of protein
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (or flakes)
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped walnuts
- 3/4 cup grated carrot (1 large carrot)
- 1/2 cup frozen peeled orange segments
- 1/2 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup coconut water
10. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Smoothie – 15 grams of protein
- 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 whole banana
- 1/2 cup soy milk
Now you have all the essentials to get started making healthy high protein smoothies. Whether you want to customize your own or follow one of the 10 recipes, making healthy high protein smoothies can give your body a boost of nutrition, your tastebuds a burst of happiness while keeping you full and satisfied.
 Phillips SM, Chevalier S, Leidy HJ. Protein "requirements" beyond the RDA: implications for optimizing health. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2016;41(5):565-572. https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/full/10.1139/apnm-2015-0550#.Xil7VWgzaM8
 Tayne, Leslie H. "How Much Can You Save by Making Your Favorite Smoothie at Home?" Chappaqua-Mount Kisco, NY Patch, Patch, 17 June 2013, patch.com/new-york/chappaqua/how-much-can-you-save-by-making-your-favorite-smoothie-at-home_0c56c7fa.
 Caitlin, et al. "How Much Does It Cost to Drink a Green Smoothie Every Day?" Frugal Nutrition, 14 Jan. 2014, www.frugalnutrition.com/how-much-does-it-cost-to-drink-a-green-smoothie-every-day/.