Whether you are a vegetarian, omnivore, vegan or just a happy flexitarian eating clean protein is an important aspect of every diet.
Making a whole-food, protein-rich smoothie is like making an investment towards your health. It’s a way to start the day out with nutrients, satiety, and energy the plant-powered way. And no, you don’t need a powdered protein to get you there; you just need to be using these whole food protein sources.
Here are some of the best protein foods to use in place of protein powder in your favourite smoothie:
Oats contain 7 grams of protein per half cup.
The soluble fibre found in oats, a compound called Beta-glucan has been shown to help lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes. In fact, oats are recommended to be consumed to improve heart health and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. The magnesium in oats support muscle and bone health, along with energy and regularity. Mild in flavour, oats will add a creamy texture and slightly nutty flavour to your smoothie. Use organic gluten-free oats if you’re gluten intolerant.
Cooked, frozen spinach contains 7.6 grams of protein per cup.
Keeping a bag of frozen spinach in your freezer is a great way to get some clean protein into your smoothie. Fresh spinach is also a great option but doesn’t contain as much protein as the cooked and then frozen version. Abundant flavonoids in spinach act as antioxidants to keep cholesterol from oxidizing and protect your body from free radicals, particularly in the colon. The folate in spinach is good for your healthy cardiovascular system, and magnesium helps lower high blood pressure. Studies have also shown that spinach helps maintain your vigorous brain function, memory and mental clarity.
Chia seeds contain 10 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
These tiny little seeds are about 14% protein, which is high compared to most plant-based protein sources! They are also the highest combined plant source of omega-3, fibre and protein, making them a great addition to your detoxification efforts. They help support your body’s natural detoxification pathways, repair your cells, reduce inflammation and support a healthy digestive system.
Hemp seeds are a well-known source of bio-available plant-based protein, containing 13 grams per 3 tablespoons.
Hemp seeds contain the perfect balance of Omega’s 3,6 & 9 - 2:1:1, as this is the ratio in which they are found naturally in human cells. Omega’s are the building blocks of healthy skin and help maintain the natural barrier that locks moisture in making hemp seeds an absolute must for beautiful, soft, glowing skin. They are also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent that calm, soothe and improve conditions like eczema and acne from the inside out.
Contain 7 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
The low-glycaemic index and protective antioxidants of almonds makes almond butter a wise choice for those at risk from diabetes because they don’t cause a sharp increase in blood sugar and insulin when consumed; and they even seem to help when you eat them along with foods that have a higher glycaemic index, so work perfectly in smoothies with banana’s or berries to balance out the release of glucose into your bloodstream.
RAW CACAO POWDER
Cacao contains 5 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.
Raw cacao powder contains more than 300 different chemical compounds and nearly four times the antioxidant power of your average dark chocolate - more than 20 times than that of blueberries. Protein, calcium, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, magnesium, sulphur, flavonoids, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are also present. The precise blend of all these elements combined serve to kick in naturally occurring phytochemicals that have incredible benefits throughout the body, such as lowered LDL cholesterol, improved heart function, and reduced cancer risk.
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