High-protein smoothies are commonly touted as the best thing since sliced bread, especially among weight loss and fitness enthusiasts. Unfortunately, many people view a “high-protein smoothie” as one that’s primarily comprised of protein powder, a banana, some berries and, in some cases, more fruit.
When blending any smoothie, it’s important to ensure that each of the ingredients you use actually have a nutritional purpose. In spite of popular belief, while important, protein isn’t the only nutrient the body needs. Incorporating good nutrition helps to boost the body’s natural fat burning mechanisms while also helping to reduce cravings, curb hunger, and control appetite, which, in turn, makes healthy weight management a simple process.
If you’re looking to get a large dose of all essential nutrients along with key vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants, my “Spinach and Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie” recipe is definitely worth a try. Collectively, the ingredients in this deliciously rich smoothie contain large quantities of high-quality protein with the added benefits of healthy fat, dietary fiber, health-promoting probiotics, beta-carotene, calcium, and much more.
Of course, all you need is a blender!
What You Need
- 6 ounces of Fage or other plain non-fat Greek-style yogurt
- 1-1/2 cups of fresh spinach
- 1/2 medium banana, peeled and frozen
- 5 medium strawberries, fresh or frozen
- 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter (preferably organic)*
- 1/2 cup of ice, optional
*Note: If you have an allergy, almond or cashew butters make great substitutes.
How To Prepare
Add the Greek yogurt to your blender. This serves as your liquid base. Greek yogurt contains approximately 17 grams of high-quality protein in a single six-ounce serving. It’s also an excellent source of calcium and health-promoting probiotics.
Pack in the spinach. Spinach is extremely high in a wide range of nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, and calcium. If you’re not a fan of spinach, no worries! This recipe makes it virtually tasteless.
Add the frozen banana half with the strawberries. While strawberries are relatively low in sugar, bananas house large amounts so it’s best to include them in small portions.
Scoop in the peanut butter. Nut butters are great for making smoothies smoother, thicker and sweeter. They are also naturally high in protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals making them a nutritious add in. Peanut butter is the highest in protein (about 4 grams per tablespoon), which is why I chose it for this recipe. However, if you have an allergy, almond or cashew butters make great substitutes.
Throw the chia seeds into your blender for 3-4 grams of added protein. Personally, I prefer Carrington Farms brand chia seeds but other brands will surely suffice. In addition to protein, these seeds are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Add the ice to your blender if you prefer the taste of a cold smoothie or if you’d like to increase the overall thickness of your smoothie.
Once you’ve added all the ingredients from the list, it’s time to blend them.
For a perfect smoothie, blend the ingredients for at least 5-10 seconds until they liquefy and are fully circulating. There should be no solid ingredients present. Depending on the power of your blender, it may take up to 45 seconds to fully blend your smoothie.
Whether you’re constantly on the go or just looking to spice up your diet, smoothies generally make great meal replacements (click here for more tasty ideas for incredibly nutritious meal replacement smoothies). At about 415 calories, this delicious and filling recipe contains a whopping 30 grams of protein and it actually tastes like a dessert!
Now, if the calorie count intimidates you, it’s important to understand that the rich content of healthy fat and other nutrients essentially drives it up. So, don’t lose sight of good nutrition by obsessing over calories. Drink up!