Recipe of the month September: Great Protein shakes!

Smoothies are a great way to get a nutrient-packed meal or snack, stat. They provide everything you need — protein, healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits — all in one convenient package.

“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, it’s 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.

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:
1.5 cups 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:
1.5 cups 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
¼ 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

You’d never guess that a cup of spinach is hiding in this delicious chocolate and peanut butter shake.

BLEND THIS:
1.5 cups 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. Baked Apple Shake

The sesame seeds in this shake add unexpected flavor, plus a helping of magnesium and selenium, says St. Pierre.

BLEND THIS:
1.5 cups 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)

Recipes found in Mens Health magazine 

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