As much as I love the convenience of throwing a couple of scoops of protein powder in my smoothie or whatever I may be mixing up, there is much debate these days about which protein powders are good or not. Some contain GMO’s, others contain ridiculously high levels of heavy metals and unnecessary toxins. For all the trouble, often I’ve been skipping them altogether. The only time I still use protein powders now is immediately following an intense workout. In my opinion, this is only real time to use protein powder.
Any other time you’re craving something filling or are short on time, try adding some of my favorites to your smoothie instead to get that protein that our bodies need –
Coconut Milk – With upwards of 5 grams of protein for every 8 ounce cup, coconut milk is a great way to up the ante on your smoothie, overnight oats, or chia pudding. Check out this easy recipe for making your own coconut milk out of water and shredded coconut. Or if you wanna work a little harder, here is a raw coconut milk recipe.
Flax Seeds – Along with vital Omega 3 fatty acid and plenty of fiber, flax seeds pack about 2 grams of protein for every tablespoon of whole seeds. Flax should always be soaked or ground to ensure that it can be digested easily once in the body. Try this smoothie that makes great use of flax for an Omega Powered Smoothie!
Oat Meal – Over 10 grams of protein for every cup of raw oats, no matter how you get them in, these little oats are an essential part of numerous healthy break-fast meals. For some ideas on what to do with oatmeal to incorporate it into your diet more, check out this post.
Chia – from the Mayan word for “strength” this misleading little seed is jam packed with Omega 3’s, iron, more calcium than cow’s milk, and complete protein. Still unsure what to do with these little seeds? Although my favorite way to use chia is as chia seed pudding, you can find a couple ways to use them here.
Pumpkin Seeds – With about 3 grams of protein for every tablespoon of whole seeds, pumpkin seeds are an easy way to add protein, magnesium, zinc, omega-3s, and lots of other nutrients to your plant based lifestyle. But be known,pumpkin seeds also contain tryptophan, the sleep-inducing amino acid that can also be found in turkey. Add pumpkin seeds to your favorite evening smoothie or sprinkle over a big salad for some added goodness.
Quinoa – Every cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein, containing all the essential amino acids, as well as magnesium, fiber, and iron. For a quinoa smoothie check out this recipe.
Raw Egg – Organic, Free Range, Certified Humane Eggs (usually directly from a local farm within 20 miles of my house) are the only eggs that I’ll eat cooked or raw. One of the easiest ways to add 6 grams off protein to any smoothie, not to mention a rich, creamy consistency, is to throw a raw egg in there with it. “You gotta get in there!!!”
Yogurt – If you’re still a little freaked out by some of the other super foods still, yogurt is always a sure bet. With around 14 grams of protein for every cup, you can’t go wrong. If you have dairy issues, opt for greek yogurt if you’d like. Here is a delicious smoothie that uses greek yogurt but you can use whatever you prefer.
Sunflower Seeds – With 7 grams of protein for every quarter cup (1/4 cup) of seeds, not many others hail in comparison. Along with manganese, magnesium, potassium and iron, sunflower seeds are a great source for vitamin E and vitamins B1 and B5. Try this Coconut Avocado Sunflower Seed Smoothie.
Hemp Seeds – Technically a fruit, hemp “seeds” contain all essential amino acids and have about 11 grams of protein for every three tablespoons of hulled seeds. Hemp seeds are rich in disease-fighting, plant-based phytonutrients and anti-aging antioxidants such as vitamin E and they provide quite the array of minerals including zinc, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. Try this smoothie on for size.
Goji Berries – With five times as much vitamin C as oranges these little red berries are my absolute favorite way to get plant based protein in. One ounce of goji berries, a little less than 30 grams, contains upwards of 15 grams of protein, which is more protein than any other fruit on the planet. Antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, in addition to plenty of fiber make this little berry the best way to get your plant based protein. You’ll love this Strawberry Banana Green Smoothie.
There are plenty of other plant based protein options out there for you, these are just my favorites.
How do you get your plant based protein?