Amp Up Your Smoothie with these 5 Plant-Based Boosters

Superfood smoothie

Smoothies can be a lot of things: a light afternoon snack or a nutrient dense meal. Smoothies can also help us to hit our goals whether it’s increasing our muscular strength, boosting recovery after a workout, or maintaining our weight. Unfortunately many pre-made smoothies are really high in sugars and calories, and not as high in ingredients like leafy greens that are especially nutrient dense. What’s my ideal smoothie? Dark leafy greens, fresh fruit and a plant-based protein source.

Here are my 5 go-to plant-based protein smoothie boosts:

1. Hemp seed

Though tiny, hemp seeds are a source of complete protein—containing all 10 essential amino acids. With a creamy, nutty taste, these seeds are also high in plant-based Omega-3s. Add a tablespoon of hempseeds added to your morning smoothie.

2. Nuts

Nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, pecans, and a host of others) offer high amounts of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Add whole raw nuts to your smoothie, or scoop a tablespoon of nut butter. Raw cacao and hazelnuts are an especially decadent combination.

Try this Nutty Brazilian Boss Smoothie

3. Quinoa

Yes, you can put grains in your smoothie. When cooked, this protein-rich, gluten-free pseudograin (technically a seed) makes a smooth addition to your morning drink.

4. Chia seeds

Like hemp seeds, chia seeds are an excellent source of Omega-3s. Plus they are rich in fiber and protein, and because they absorb up to 10 times their weight in water, can be very satiating. Mix chia seeds into your smoothie and then let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to create a thicker smoothie.

Try this Post-Yoga Green Smoothie for an omega boost!

5. Premium plant-based protein powder

Plant-based, multisource protein powders are a convenient way to add high-quality protein to your smoothie. Vega Sport Performance Protein has 25 grams of premium plant-based protein (from pea, hemp, SaviSeed and sprouted whole grain brown rice), as well as 5000 mg of BCAAs and 50000mg of glutamine per serving.

Benefits of Minimally Processed Plant-based Proteins:

1. Lower in saturated fat, with no cholesterol

High levels of saturated fat and cholesterol in your blood raise contribute to clogged arteries. If your diet is rich in saturated fats and cholesterol (found mostly in meat, dairy and eggs), you are not supporting optimal cardiovascular health. Unsaturated fats (found in nuts and seeds, as well as avocados) on the other hand, help to keep your heart healthy.

2. More alkaline-forming

Plant-based proteins are more alkaline-forming than proteins from animals (meat, dairy, and eggs). Your body naturally has, and will always have, an alkaline pH. But, when you eat a lot of acid-forming foods, your body has to pull minerals from your bones to maintain an alkaline pH. Adding more alkaline-forming foods from a clean, plant-based diet can help you combat inflammation, reduce stress, and protect bone health. A good way to know if a food is alkaline-forming is to check if it is a whole food, minimally processed, and dark green. Plant-based proteins like hemp, nuts, and seeds are more alkaline-forming than meat and dairy.

3.Better for the environment

Diet affects the environment even more than your commute. It takes more water, energy and fuel to produce animal products, switching to plant-based proteins saves water, reduces carbon emissions, and protects arable land—all of which have a huge environmental impact.

Brendan Brazier

Brendan is a former professional Ironman triathlete, a two- time Canadian 50km Ultra Marathon Champion, the creator of an award-winning line of whole food nutritional products called VEGA and the bestselling author of the Thrive book series. He is also the developer of the acclaimed ZoN Thrive Fitness program and the creator of Thrive Foods Direct ( national meal delivery service. Recognized as the world's foremost authorities on plant- based performance nutrition, Brendan works with NFL, MLB, NHL, UFC, PGA, Tour De France and Olympic athletes and is a guest lecturer at Cornell University where he presents an eCornell module entitled "The Plant-Based Diet and Elite Athleticism. (