Smoothies prove to be filling, delicious and nutritious

Pack your smoothies with protein and nutrients.

Blend of goodness: Mixing together ingredients including fruits, vegetables, nuts and protein powder can give your system a jolt. PHOTO: METRO IMAGES

By Beth Ceccarelli

Not merely for athletes, protein-rich smoothies will keep you fueled and running day and night.

Here are 10 shortcuts for making your smoothies delicious, filling and protein packed.

Nut butters:

Peanut butter isn’t just for sandwiches. Two tablespoons add eight grams of protein to your morning smoothie. Combined with a banana, oats and milk, this favorite nut butter will make your smoothie taste almost dessert like. If peanut butter isn’t your thing, substitute with almond or sunflower butter.

Nut milks/soy milk:

Add a nutritious almond or soymilk to your smoothie to add flavor and up to eight grams of protein. Try an unsweetened variety for a less sugary version (fruit will sweeten your smoothie up enough), or choose a vanilla-flavored milk for a little richness.

Fruit:

The backbone of any good smoothie, fruit does much more than provide a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals to your morning drink. Certain fruits contain more protein than others, such as pomegranates, grapefruit and avocados, so don’t be afraid to mix and match to find your perfect combo.

Veggies:

Adding veggies to your smoothie is a great way to amp up the protein and help hit your daily vegetable requirements. Leafy greens like kale or spinach are perfect smoothie ingredients not only for their high vitamin and mineral content, but for their protein as well. You won’t even taste the greens once blended, but you’ll get all of the nutritional impact.

Greek yogurt:

One of the most protein-dense smoothie ingredients, Greek yogurt packs 15 grams in just one five-ounce container. Combined with fruit, seeds and nut butter of your choice, a Greek yogurt-based smoothie will keep you satiated for hours.

Seeds:

Flax and chia seeds are powerful for a reason. Not only do they provide fiber, but just a few tablespoons in your smoothie will add up to five grams of protein and bulk up your drink without altering the flavor.

Silken tofu:

A delicious non-dairy alternative to yogurt or milk, this smooth and silky tofu adds a creamy sweetness to your smoothie while providing four grams of protein in one serving.

Kefir:

Pronounced kee-fur, this probiotic-rich drinkable yogurt adds 11 grams of protein per cup to your smoothie, making it an excellent choice for thinning out a thick fruit drink.

Oats:

Not just for hot oatmeal, when added to a smoothie, oats give your drink a thick, creamy consistency while amping up the fiber and protein content by three grams per ½ cup. Throw them directly into the blender with your other ingredients or soak them for an hour beforehand to give your smoothie a smoother consistency.

Protein powders:

If adding food sources of protein is a struggle some days, a scoop of protein powder can provide a boost if monitored and used correctly. Two scoops can provide as many as 30 grams of protein (our daily requirement is 45–56 grams), so always speak with your ShopRite dietitian before using and to go over the best choices. ••

For more information on how to add protein to your smoothie, visit your local ShopRite dietitian.