In a previous life as an intern at a health magazine, I had to conduct (and participate in) a two-week-long protein powder taste test. The other interns and I called in dozens of brands and flavors, distributing anonymous baggies of powder and questionnaires among the staff, while simultaneously blending and chugging through our own quotas. To isolate the taste, we only mixed a tablespoon or two with water—no milk, no ice, no nuts or berries. Just good ol’ protein powder.
It was horrible. No matter how thoroughly I stirred or quickly I chugged, I’d get little pockets of chalky powder. I still get somewhat nauseous when I think about how many glasses of whey, soy, and casein I ingested. Once we finished the assignment, I swore I’d never even look at another protein shake again.
Well, until I came upon these three flavorful, protein-packed smoothies that don't need even an ounce of powder. Thanks to health and nutrition writer Carina Wolff’s latest book, Plant-Protein Recipes That You’ll Love, I’m ready to eat drink my words.
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“You can get a lot of protein without consuming a lot of calories when using a protein powder, and it’s useful to add to meals that need a little boost,” she writes. “However, protein powders lack the wider variety of nutrients you get when eating whole foods, especially if you’re only drinking something like a shake.”
Rather than supplementing protein with spoonfuls, Wolff developed shakes and smoothies that naturally keep you full. Here, she’s shared three of her favorites:
“This Almond Coconut Smoothie has 12.8g of protein and is perfect for those days when you wish you were sitting under a palm tree sipping out of a coconut. Both coconut milk and shredded coconut are used to give this smoothie a rich coconut flavor.”
“Most smoothies are made with a lot of fruit, and although that makes them taste delicious, it can also make them high in sugar. Packing 11.8g of protein, this smoothie doesn’t contain any fruit—just sweet potato and a little drizzle of maple syrup. The sweet potato helps start your day with healthy carbohydrates and other antioxidants, and almond butter and chia seeds are added for protein.”
“Green tea is one of the healthiest beverages out there, and you can incorporate it into your smoothies by using matcha tea powder. This traditional Japanese drink is as rich in flavor as it is color, and blending it with the banana and cashews gives it some creaminess. The caffeine in the green tea will keep you alert throughout the day, and thanks to the spinach, cashews, and hemp seeds in this smoothie, you’ll also get your fair share of antioxidants and 14.1g of protein.”
How do you make a filling smoothie? Share your thoughts below!