Breakfast smoothies are a terrific idea for so many reasons. They're easy, fast, and perfect for on-the-go. They're a great way to sneak tons of fruits, vegetables, and other good-for-you ingredients into your first meal of the day, because pretty much anything can be a smoothie if your blender is strong enough. If you're not hungry for something super filling, it's easy to make a smoothie that'll keep you sated for at least a couple of hours. And, maybe best of all, smoothies are easy to prep ahead of time, in bulk (the holy grail of weekday breakfasts, amirite?).
All that said, fruit smoothies are often high in sugar and low in protein, which makes them…less of a good idea if you want to stay full and satisfied for longer. "Many people fall short on protein at breakfast," says Alissa Rumsey, M.S., R.D. "Protein helps with satiety so you stay full for longer, and research shows that it is better to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day, rather than having protein be the focus of just one large meal." Just because you eat lots of protein at lunch and dinner, doesn't mean you can get away with skimping on protein for breakfast. Rumsey recommends getting at least 15-20 grams of protein at breakfast.
Most protein powders pack at least 15 grams of protein per serving. But, many are filled with sugar, which you're already getting enough of from the fruit in your smoothie, or artificial sweeteners. Also, lots of people just…don't like protein powder. (I am among them.) Which is totally fine, because there are plenty of other options. "It's simple to add protein to a smoothie without using protein powder," says Rumsey. "Try a 6- or 7-ounce container of plain Greek yogurt (15 to 20 grams of protein) or a half-cup of cottage cheese (12 to 13 grams of protein). Silken tofu is a great smoothie add-in that gives the drink a creamy consistency. You can also add a few tablespoons of nuts and seeds. Using cow's milk or soy milk for a liquid source adds an additional eight grams of protein per cup." Here are a few quick and easy ways to get your blend on, powder-free.