Protein is an essential component of a healthy, well-rounded diet. From muscle strength to hormones, protein plays a role in some of the most pivotal parts of the body. When you’re looking to lift weights and develop a svelte physique, it’s not just about what you do in the gym. In fact, you need protein in order to support what you do in the gym. Many fitness professionals encourage people to consume at least 0.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight. While this might seem like a lot, there are plenty of ways you can add protein to your diet. Start with your morning smoothie or a glass of juice. Consider some of the most creative ways you can add protein to your beloved beverages.
1. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are nutritional powerhouses as it pertains to fiber. They’re known for their ability to move through the system effectively. However, they also contain protein. In fact, five tablespoons contain fifty grams of protein. Those fifty grams count toward your final daily protein goal. So, you can add chia seeds to your smoothie or juice. Just know that when chia seeds get left in a liquid, they expand and become gelatinous. If you don’t want them to be too gelatinous, mix and drink as quickly as you can.
2. Protein Powders/Juice
Protein powders are pretty popular because they tend to be easy to add to a blender. If you don’t want it to be really thick, be sure to add enough liquid. It’s also important to blend protein powder well because it can easily taste chalky when it’s not properly mixed. Juice and protein aren’t typically paired with each other, but there are tons of plant-based sources that can be turned into juice. By picking out the right protein juice, you can consume 40 ounces of protein without trying.
Plant-based protein is underrated yet highly effective. For those who are vegan or vegetarian, plant-based protein is especially important. You can opt to juice your vegetables in order to get your protein or throw the ingredients into the blender. Vegetables like broccoli and spinach go really well in a smoothie. You typically can’t taste the flavor of those vegetables when they’re in a green smoothie with fruits like mangoes, pineapples and bananas.
If you plan on making a plant-based juice with protein in it, add options like sweet potatoes and Brussel sprouts because they also contain high amounts of protein. When you’re using plant-based protein options, know that it typically takes a lot of vegetables to make the difference. If you want four to five grams of plant-based protein, you need to have at least one cup of vegetables in front of you.
4. Greek Yogurt
Protein is actually found in a lot of dairy products. While you can always add cow’s milk into a smoothie, why not make it creamier with greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is an excellent option because for every seven ounces, you’re getting 20 grams of protein. Add some of your favorite berries into a blender with Greek yogurt in order to get the protein and the delicious fruit kick. If you’d like to increase the sweetness, add a bit of honey, maple syrup or agave nectar to the mix.
5. Peanut Butter
Chocolate and peanut butter make a delicious combination. Knowing this, create a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. You can make it as a smoothie you’ll drink or as a smoothie bowl for an after-dinner treat. A chocolate peanut butter smoothie is a great source of protein due to the peanut butter. By adding two tablespoons of peanut butter into your smoothie, you’re adding eight grams of protein. When you’re choosing a peanut butter option, make sure it’s not packed with sugar and bad oils. Instead, it’s best to purchase a natural option. To make it creamier, add a banana, cacao powder and some almond milk.
Oftentimes, people focus on ways to eat their sources of protein. This is one of the main reasons why lean meat and fatty fish like salmon are found in a healthy person’s diet. However, you can drink your protein as well. While protein shakes are amazing, it’s nice to have some diversity. From protein juices to smoothies, incorporate these options into your diet in order to get your protein intake up as you enjoy different flavors.