Top 5 Vegan Protein Smoothie Boosts
By BRENDAN BRAZIER
A smoothie is a delicious and simple way to add extra protein into your day, whether it's first thing in the morning or after your workout for recovery. Plant-based protein is my go-to because it is alkaline forming, nutrient dense and sustainable. To keep sugar low and nutrients high, I recommend grabbing your blender and making smoothies at home rather than purchasing them premade.
Here are my five favorite protein boosts to add to smoothies:
1. Hemp Seeds
These tiny hemp seeds are a source of complete protein . They provide a creamy, nutty taste and are high in plant-based omega-3s. Tip: You can either blend hemp seeds into your smoothie or sprinkle them on top for an added crunch.
Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans and a host of other nuts offer high amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals and are easy to incorporate into a smoothie. Tip: If you don't have whole nuts on hand, add a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter and blend.
Flaxseeds are rich in omega-3s, an essential fatty acid. Grind your flaxseeds with a mortar and pestle or coffee grinder to increase absorption, or you can buy them already ground. Tip: Flaxseeds also add a creamy texture to smoothies.
Most people don't realize how much protein greens have in them. One cup of kale provides three grams of protein and a multitude of vitamins and minerals. Tip: If your smoothie contains nondairy milk and fruit, this dark, leafy green goes unnoticed in taste.
5. Plant-Based Protein Powder
When choosing a protein supplement, whether female or male, look for one that is multisource -- meaning it contains more than one plant-based protein source. This ensures that you're getting all the essential amino acids you need. Also avoid artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners and highly processed soy.
Brendan's Melon Protein Smoothie (originally from Vega's Recipe Center)
(For full nutritional information, here's a link to the recipe we created in MyPlate.)
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 serving
* 1/2 small honeydew melon
* 1/2 lime, juiced
* 1/4 avocado
* 1 cup of water
* 1/2 cup of ice
* 1 serving Vega Sport Performance Protein Vanilla (or your favorite vegan vanilla protein)
Mix all ingredients together in a blender and enjoy within 45 minutes of finishing your workout.
Readers -- Do you make smoothies at home or buy them? What kind of smoothies do you make at home? Do you add any of the boosts mentioned above? What is your favorite smoothie recipe? Leave us a comment below and let us know.
Brendan Brazier is a former professional Ironman triathlete and two-time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion. He is now a successful performance nutrition consultant, bestselling author of the Thrive book series, formulator of the award-winning line of plant-based Vega nutritional products and creator of Thrive Forward, an online video series designed to inspire and educate about plant-based nutrition. His latest book, Thrive Energy Cookbook, is out in March.
 House JD, Neufeld J, Leson G. (2010). Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. 58(22):11801-7.