It’s easy to add a punch of healthy nutrition to your diet with any one of these 4 Protein-Packed Healthy Smoothie Recipes!
We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables, and smoothies are an easy way to sneak more nutrition into our everyday eating. But if you’ve been burned by a bad smoothie recipe in the past, it can be challenging to want to give them another go.
We get it; we’re pretty particular about our smoothies, too. So we’ve done the dirty work for you and come up with 4 Protein-Packed Healthy Smoothie Recipes that not only taste AMAZING but they are also super easy to make and loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals.
Healthy eating - here we come!
Sure it can be tempting to throw a bunch of “good" stuff in a blender and hope for the best, but the types of ingredients you use and the order you add them to a blender have a huge impact on your finished product.
The right ratios of liquids to solids and frozen to dry ingredients can make a world of difference in the taste and texture of your smoothie, as can the order in which you add your ingredients to your blender.
So before we dive into the smoothie recipes themselves, let’s make sure our smoothie building technique is on point.
Best way to mix a smoothie in a blender
Ever been frustrated by a lumpy smoothie with chunks of frozen fruit or ice in it? Often times that comes from not layering the ingredients in the blender correctly.
Follow these tips to ensure your smoothest smoothie yet!
- Add liquids first. Always. It doesn’t matter if your recipe calls for cow’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk or just plain old water, you should always add your liquid(s) to the blender first. Why? The blender uses the liquids to create that cool tornado inside the jar and helps it pull down the other ingredients into the blade action more easily.
- Next up are protein powders. Add these directly to the liquid in the blender jar to avoid any chance of a chalky aftertaste that could result from it not being fully incorporated into the smoothie during the blend time.
- Get those greens in! Who knew that greens in smoothies are so tasty? There are a variety of greens that you can add to smoothies. Spinach seems to blend the easiest because its leaves are so tender, but heartier greens like kale or collard greens can be tougher to incorporate easily. I suggest removing the tough ribs and any woody stems from these greens before adding to the jar.
- Layer in the solids next starting with the softest ingredients first. This can include yogurts and nut butters if you’re using them as well as seeds and raw nuts.
- Fresh fruit and veggies (that are not greens) can now be added. This mostly includes softer fruits like berries and melons as well as avocados.
- The final add to any smoothie should always be your frozen ingredients, including frozen fruit and ice. These guys can be rock hard and you want them on top so the sheer weight of them pushes everything else down into the blade action.
More tips for making the best smoothies at home
So you’ve read all the tips, followed all the guides and your smoothie is still not how you want it. Try a few of these troubleshooting techniques to see if it can help save your smoothie:
- Smoothie too thick? Add more liquid and give it a good stir to incorporate the liquid before blending again. You’re trying to get that liquid as close to the base as possible to help with the blending action.
- Smoothie not sweet enough? Add any number of sweeteners to the jar, including honey, maple syrup, stevia or even a whole pitted date. Start with a small amount, blend and then taste and adjust as needed.
- Smoothie not blending well? Start the blender on low and then gradually increase it to higher speeds to fully blend everything together. You can also try adding a bit of additional liquid to see if that will help smooth out the texture during blending.
- Smoothie not cold enough? Use frozen fruit. This keeps the smoothie chilled instead of adding ice. Bonus: frozen fruit also makes smoothies thicker.
How to add protein to a smoothie
Smoothies are such an easy way to increase your protein intake which in turn can help keep you fuller longer, boost your metabolism and build muscle. Choose any one of these protein-packed add-ins to give your smoothie an extra punch of nutrition:
- Nuts and nut butters. Nuts can get a bad reputation for being fattening. But nuts and nut butters in moderation are actually great sources of HEALTHY fats. A double perk is they are also a solid choice for additional protein.
- Protein powders. These are the most obvious choice for adding a substantial amount protein to your smoothie. I’ve had great luck with both Orgain Vanilla Protein Powder as well as Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. No funky aftertaste from either of them!
- Greek yogurt. This type of yogurt is thicker than regular yogurt because it’s been strained of excess whey. Plain Greek yogurt also has more protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, which makes it an excellent addition to any smoothie recipe.
- Silken tofu is the perfect protein addition for vegans or those looking to avoid animal products in their diets.
- Oats may seem like an unusual way to add protein to a smoothie, but this whole-grain ingredient packs a decent amount of protein into its small size. Bonus: oats are also an excellent source of fiber.
Make ahead healthy smoothies
The easiest way to ensure you actually drink a smoothie is to make them in advance. No excuses that you ran out of time or ingredients!
Try either of these methods for prepping smoothies ahead of time:
- Make a quadruple batch of your smoothie recipe and freeze it in individual portions in a freezer-safe container or mason jar. Simply pop one container in the fridge the day before so it defrosts overnight.
- Make frozen smoothie packs. This method involves freezing individual portions of ingredients for your smoothies in zip top bags.Greek yogurt, milks and nut butters can be portioned and frozen in ice cube trays. Simply add your frozen ingredient cubes to a zip top bag (these reusable Stasher bags are AWESOME for this) along with any other frozen fruits and veggies (yes, including spinach. Greens freeze beautifully!). When you’re ready to make your smoothie, grab a pre-made bag from the freezer and dump it in the blender along with any remaining ingredients and enjoy a freshly made smoothie in no time flat.
Here’s what I use to make smoothies:
- Now I know not everyone can splurge on a professional grade blender, but I highly suggest you save up your birthday gift cards because they make a huge difference in how quickly you can pull together one of these smoothie beauties. I own Blendtec and love it, but many people are also thrilled with their Vitamix blenders. They do a much better job of tackling rock hard items like ice and frozen yogurt cubes and are able to decimate that spinach into microscopic pieces (which is key when you’re trying to convince a non-green smoothie person to try a green smoothie).
- These measuring cups are my favorite because they are magnetic and stick together. No more lost measuring cups in my unorganized utensil drawer!
OK, now that you are a pro at smoothie technique, let’s get to the recipes! Any one of these 4 Protein Smoothies are sure to start your day off on a healthy note. Great for post-workout snacks and eliminating that mid-afternoon slump, too!