Whole Food Ingredients to Put in Protein Shakes 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Men preparing smoothie for morning drink at home
Feeling better and eating healthy are at the top of many of our to-do lists when it comes to taking care of ourselves. To accomplish this, a large number of us are leaning into the benefits of a plant-based diet or meals and snacks that rely on lots of whole foods. But this doesn’t mean that convenience items like protein shakes are off the list. It just means we can get more creative about all the healthy ingredients we are blending together. Here are some great tips for getting more whole food ingredients into your protein shakes.
Protein shakes have been a big hit not only with athletes and those looking for foods to compliment their muscle-building workouts, but even for those looking to shed pounds. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult should aim to get between 46 and 56 grams of protein in their diet each day. Protein shakes as supplements or between-meal snacks can make up some of that ground if people are not getting enough protein in their regular daily meals. For people trying to lose weight, protein shakes can be used to replace one daily meal, as a way to cut calories. But health experts say shake drinkers should be cautious not to miss out on the health benefits of whole foods, and make sure to incorporate whole foods into their other meals.
Protein powder or whole-foods protein? This comes down to personal preference. Some people have a favorite protein powder or mix that they love to use as a base for their protein shakes. Others opt for whole-food sources of protein that can be blended to make a great-tasting shake. Here are some whole foods that can be the protein foundation for a shake:
  • Yogurt
  • Kefir
  • Almond butter
  • Peanut butter or another nut butter
  • Silken tofu
  • Pasteurized egg whites
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Hemp seeds
  • Rolled oats
Once you have your protein base picked out, try adding these whole foods for a big boost of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants:
Berries. Load up on your favorite berries, whether this means strawberries, blackberries, raspberries or blueberries. They can be fresh or frozen. By including a handful or two in your protein shakes, you are adding some of the healthiest foods on the planet. Berries are high in fiber, high in antioxidants and nutrients, and are superstars when it comes to Vitamin C.
Bananas. If you love the taste of banana, peel one and whirl it into your shake. Packed with potassium, bananas also have fiber, vitamins and nutrients. The good stuff in bananas can also help your body manage your blood sugar levels naturally.
Greens. Don’t forget the greens. And don’t worry, it won’t taste like you’re drinking a salad if you pick the right ones. Some people love hearty greens like kale in their protein shakes, adding fiber, minerals and other heart-healthy nutrients. Not for you? Then blend in some baby spinach or wheat grass for a more delicate taste.
Go Tropical. Try blending some tropical tastes into your next protein shake by reaching for chunks of pineapple, fresh-grated coconut or slices of ripe mango. You’ll be getting lots of vitamins and fiber and your mouth will feel like it’s on vacation.
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