Protein powders are renowned for their ability to pack a lot of protein into small, mixable portions. These powders have an appropriate interest and following, particularly for bodybuilders. However, there are a number of athletes who, for various reasons, do not wish to use refined powders. For athletes with a less intense need for concentrated protein, but who still want to build or maintain lean muscle, a whole foods approach to post-workout protein intake is more desirable and perhaps even better for your body.

 

Proteins need to be balanced with fat and carbohydrates in order to satisfy you and mitigate hunger. Nature does a great job of packaging proteins within whole foods. The proteins found in whole food are easier for the body to utilize as the right combo of fats and carbs are present to allow for full assimilation of both the protein and the other nutrients.

 

Post-workout smoothies are a popular way for athletes to boost recovery and replenish the nutrients lost during training. Without using a protein powder, it can be tricky to pack a lot of protein into a smoothie. I’ve created three smoothies that do not use any refined protein powders yet still provide 25 or more grams of protein in each smoothie.

 

Building a protein smoothie with whole foods is an exercise in layering. Combine creamy proteins like yogurt, quark, cottage cheese, beans, and nut butters with protein-heavy seeds or grains like hemp, chia, oats, or quinoa and you can’t go wrong.

 

Apple Pie Protein Smoothie

Prep time: 5 min

Serves: 1 (27g protein)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, peeled and cored
  • 1 cup plain unsweetened Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup spinach
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • ½ cup rolled oats (Note: if you want a smoother consistency, use cooked oats)
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup (optional, or sweeten to taste)

 

Preparation Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.

 

post-workout protein smoothies

Photo credit: Kari Lund

 

Cocoa Banana Bean Protein Smoothie

Prep time:  5 min

Serves: 1 (25g protein)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • ½ cup cooked or canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ¼ cups almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup (optional, or sweeten to taste)

 

Preparation Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.

 

Quark Berry Protein Smoothie

Prep time: 5 min

Serves: 1 (32g protein)

 

Ingredients:

  • 15 whole strawberries, hulled
  • 10 raspberries
  • 6 oz container plain unsweetened quark cheese (a German style spoonable fresh cheese) or substitute cottage cheese or Greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds or white chia seeds
  • ½ cup almond milk or coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup (optional, or sweeten to taste)

 

Preparation Instructions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth.

 

More ideas for balanced meals:

Green Fuel: Walleye with Kale Bruschetta

 

 

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