Smoothies make for a convenient, portable, and easy meal (or snack) with no cooking skills required, says sports dietitian Marni Sumbal, MS, CSSD and author of Essential Sports Nutrition: A Guide to Optimal Performance for Every Active Person . Overall, the drink can be a compact way to obtain key nutrients that may be otherwise lacking in your daily diet and to also quickly give your body what it needs to maximize the recovery response after a workout.
Drinks from smoothie shops often contain more calories and sugar than you'd imagine. However, its easy to make healthy, protein-fortified smoothies if you opt for the DIY approach. Of course, you'll still need to watch portions and limit added sugars from sweeteners like honey.
So how should you make a healthy, protein-packed smoothie? Start by using roughly one cup of fruit per smoothie, advises Samantha Cassetty, R.D. In a story for NBC , Cassetty explains that it's easy to go overboard on fruit when you're tossing a variety into the blender. You'll also want to measure out a single serving of high-fat additions like nut butters, chia seeds, and avocados, since these can easily make you consume more calories overall. Adding a handful of greens, such as kale or spinach, is a great way to boost antioxidant and fiber intake. As a bonus, they bulk up beverages to make you feel fuller for longer.
Made correctly, smoothies can be a great start to your day, and the flavor possibilities are endless. Try one of these 20 protein-rich mash-ups that are packed with nut butters, greens, and fiber to satisfy your taste buds and stomach. For each recipe, place the ingredients in the order listed and blend until smooth.
1. Very Berry Super Shake
This shake is packed with protein, fiber, healthy fats, phyto-nutrients, and probiotics, says Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., sports dietitian and nutrition coach at Precision Nutrition. It can be breakfast, lunch, or dinner. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water 1 cup spinach 2 cups frozen mixed berries 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt 2 scoops vanilla protein powder 1 tbsp walnuts 1 tbsp ground flaxseed 500 calories, 57 g protein, 54 g carbs, 14 g fiber, 11 g fat
2. Apple and Great Grains Shake
This shake tastes like apple pie in a glass, but you won't find 58 grams of protein in a slice of Grandmas famous dessert. Most blenders will be able to handle pulverizing an apple, St. Pierre says. Leave the skin on for extra phyto-nutrients. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops vanilla flavored protein 1 apple, core removed, and sliced into wedges 1 cup of spinach 2 tbsp of almonds cup of uncooked oats Ice as needed Cinnamon to taste 535 calories, 58 g protein, 13 g fat, 46 g carbs, 9 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
3. Chocolate, Peanut Butter, and Banana Shake
Youd never guess that a cup of spinach is hiding in this delicious chocolate and peanut butter shake. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops chocolate flavored protein powder 1 banana 1 cup of spinach 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter 1 tbsp cacao nibs or dark cocoa powder 585 calories, 59 g protein, 22 g fat, 38 g carbs, 8 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
4. Strawberry Banana Shake
Adding ground flax to this classic protein shake provides you with extra fiber and heart-healthy omega-3 fats, St. Pierre says. (Trying to work more healthy fats into your diet? Here are the best sources of Omega-3s .) BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops vanilla or strawberry flavored protein powder 1 banana 1 cup of frozen strawberries 1 cup of spinach 2 tbsp of ground flax 490 calories, 55 g protein, 9 g fat, 47 g carbs, 11 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
5. Chocolate Cherry Awesomeness Shake
Research suggests that cherries can ease soreness after a workout, making this a perfect recovery shake, says St. Pierre. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops chocolate flavored protein powder 2 cups of sweet dark cherries, pits removed 1 cups of spinach 1 tbsp of walnuts 1 tbsp ground flax 1 tbsp cacao nibs or dark cocoa powder 530 calories, 56 g protein, 13 g fat, 47 g carbs, 9 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
6. Vanilla Pumpkin Pie Shake
Tired of the same old fruit smoothies? Try one that tastes like pumpkin pie. The pumpkin is a great source of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyes, skin, and immune system, St. Pierre says. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops vanilla flavored protein powder cup of pureed pumpkin 1 tbsp of walnuts 1 tbsp of ground flax cup of uncooked oats Cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste Ice as needed 535 calories, 60 g protein, 13 g fat, 45 g carbs, 13 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
7. Baked Apple Shake
The sesame seeds in this shake add unexpected flavor, plus a helping of magnesium and selenium, says St. Pierre. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops vanilla flavored protein powder 1 apple, core removed, and sliced into wedges 1 cup of spinach 1 tbsp of almonds 1 tbsp of ground flax 1 tbsp of sesame seeds Cinnamon to taste Ice as needed 510 calories, 57 g protein, 15 g fat, 36 g carbs, 10 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
8. Tropical Power Shake
Its like a pina colada, but this green shake has 58 grams of protein and a cup of spinach. BLEND THIS: 12 oz water, milk, or yogurt 2 scoops vanilla flavored protein powder banana 1 cup of pineapple 1 cup of spinach 1 tbsp of ground flax 2 tbsp of unsweetened coconut flakes cup plain yogurt or vegan alternative 525 calories, 58 grams protein, 12 g fat, 46 g carbs, 8.5 g fiber (accounts for using water as the fluid instead of milk or yogurt)
9. Superfood Shake
Nutrients in deeply colored fruits and vegetables like beets and cherries can boost athletic performance and help with muscle recovery, says Amy Culp, R.D., a sports dietitian at the University of Texas at Austin. BLEND THIS: 1/2 cup frozen cherries 8 oz water 1/2 cup chopped raw beets 1/2 cup frozen strawberries 1/2 cup frozen blueberries 1/2 banana 1 scoop chocolate whey protein 1 tbsp ground flaxseed 329 calories, 28 g protein, 4 g fat, 52 g carbs, 11 g fiber
10. Dr. Mikes Power Shake
This smoothie from Mens Health nutrition advisor Mike Roussell, PhD packs in a whole cup of blueberries, and youll also get a dose of omega-3 fats-good for your brain and heart-from the walnuts and flax. BLEND THIS: cup low fat cottage cheese 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 2 tbsp flaxseed meal 2 tbsp walnuts, chopped 1 cups water 3 ice cubes 389 calories, 33 g protein, 17 g fat, 34 g carbs
11. Double Chocolate Mint Smoothie
With chocolate almond milk, cocoa powder, and cacao nibs, this rich drink from Roussell will give you a chocolate fix without going overboard on calories. BLEND THIS: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder 3/4 cup Silk Almond milk, dark chocolate 1 tbsp walnuts 2 tbsp cocoa powder, unsweetened 1 tbsp cacao nibs 2 mint leaves 4 ice cubes cup water 292 calories, 25 g protein, 12 g fat, 32 g carbs
12. Coconut Almond Smoothie
Drink this shake from Roussell for a decadent treat: Almond butter makes the mix extra creamy, while dark chocolate almond milk and coconut flakes make it extra tasty. BLEND THIS: 1 scoop chocolate protein powder 1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes 1 cup Silk Almond milk, dark chocolate 1 rounded tbsp almond butter 1 cups water 3 ice cubes 405 calories, 27 g protein, 21 g fat, 33 g carbs
13. Orange Creamsicle
This shake from Roussell tastes just like a creamsicle, but with real ingredients rather than loads of added sugar. BLEND THIS: 1 scoop vanilla protein powder 1 orange orange peel 1 tbsp walnuts 2 tbsp flaxseed meal 1 cup water cup orange juice 3 ice cubes 399 calories, 32 g protein, 14 g fat, 39 g carbs
14. Strawberry Banana Post-Workout Smoothie
This smoothie makes for the perfect recovery drink. Its not only loaded with muscle-building protein, but also boasts a blend of healthful nutrients that speed recovery and nourish your body, says Roussell. BLEND THIS: Water as needed 1 cup plain low-fat kefir 2 tbsp walnuts 1 cup chopped strawberries 1 banana 1 scoop vanilla whey protein 489 calories, 39 g protein, 11 g fat, 59 g carbs, 7 g fiber
15. Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
Drink this for the perfect afternoon snack. Its packed with protein, fiber, and antioxidants, and a nearly even amount of carbs and fat. So its filling and tasty, says Roussell, and comes in at a very reasonable 347 calories. BLEND THIS: Water as needed 2 tbsp flaxmeal 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tbsp natural peanut butter 1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder 347 calories, 33 g protein, 17 g fat, 19 g carbs, 9 g fiber
16. Blueberry Breakfast Smoothie
This shake may be the definition of a perfectly balanced breakfast. It has a healthy 42-gram dose of protein, which will help you feel fuller the rest of the day, Roussell says. BLEND THIS: 1 cup blueberries 1/2 banana 1 1/2 scoops protein powder 2 tbsp walnuts 2 tbsp oats 1 tbsp chia seeds 536 calories, 42 g protein, 59 g carbs, 12 g fiber, 18 g fat
17. The Green Monster
Research from Ohio State University shows that avocado can unlock the full nutrition potential of certain vegetables and improve the absorption of antioxidants. Its delicious, too. BLEND THIS: 8 to 10 oz water 2 stalks kale, stems optional 1 cup grapes 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks 1 strip lemon rind 1/2 avocado Ice as needed 346 calories, 9 g protein, 12 g fat, 62 g carbohydrates, 11 g fiber
18. Summertime Blast
The combo of melon, basil, and pineapple makes the shake super refreshing, says Franklin Becker, chef of The Little Beet in Manhattan. BLEND THIS: 2/3 cup seedless watermelon 2 tsp lemon juice 1/2 cantaloupe 1 banana 1/4 cup pineapple 2/3 cup ice 4 to 5 fresh basil leaves 182 calories, 3 g protein, 1 g fat, 47 g carbohydrates, 5 g fiber
19. Matcha Madness Smoothie
Worthy of its Instagram fame, matcha green tea powder contains up to 137 times more antioxidant firepower than regular green tea . Blend it into this muscle-making smoothie that tastes like a tropical vacation in a glass.
1 cup coconut milk beverage (not canned coconut milk) 2 scoops plain or vanilla protein powder 1 tsp matcha tea powder 1 tbsp cashew butter 1 tbsp fresh lime juice 1/4 tsp ginger powder 1 cup frozen mango cubes
412 calories, 35g protein, 30g carbs, 4g fiber, 15g fat
20. Blue Bomb Smoothie
This smoothie might be blue, but there's nothing gloomy about it. For a tiny fruit, blueberries are packed with nutrition including vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants, says Sumbal. Cottage cheese is loaded with casein protein, a slow-digesting protein to help supply your muscles with a steady level of fuel. Bonus: the omega-3 fats in flax are good news for your heart and brain.
1 cup milk 3/4 cup plain cottage cheese 2 tbsp ground flaxseed 1 tsp orange zest 1 tsp honey 1/8 tsp almond extract 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
395 calories, 34 g protein, 42 g carbs, 7g fiber, 12g fat