Whether you like ’em first thing in the morning, post-workout, or simply as a mid-afternoon energy boost, protein shakes are fantastic options for the health-conscious like yourself. Unfortunately, most of the readily available protein powder supplements are chock-full of unhealthy additives like sugars, artificial colors, and other less-than-ideal ingredients.
Of course, there are high-quality protein powder supplements out there, however, they can get super pricey. Looking for a more affordable alternative or second option that won’t break the bank or your nutritional goals? Check out these great protein sources that work wonders in a smoothie or shake!
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5 Healthy “Junk-Free” Protein Sources for Your Next Shake
1) Hydrolyzed Collagen
A new go-to in the health and fitness world, hydrolyzed collagen (also known as gelatin collagen or collagen hydrolysate) is a nutritional supplement that’s loaded with amino acids and protein (just 2 rounded tablespoons contains 11 grams of the stuff!). It’s great for everything from anti-aging to anti-inflammation to joint health. Try the Great Lakes brand or another high-quality source.
2) Organic Milk
Can you tolerate dairy? If so, adding organic milk to your shake. 1 serving contains approximately 8 grams of protein along with a healthy dose of Vitamin D and calcium (great for your bones and muscles).
3) Almond Butter
Just one tablespoon of this nut butter gives you 3.4 grams of protein, plus loads of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Going with almond butter instead of peanut butter also helps you avoid the common pitfalls of most store-bought PB, which tends to be loaded with sugars and other junk (not to mention, you very well may have an intolerance to legumes).
Revered for its high concentration of healthy fat, avocado (aka the alligator pear) is also a decent source of plant-based protein. Just one serving (about 1 cup) contains almost 3 grams.
5) Chia Seeds
While they may stick in your teeth, these little guys are an excellent source of protein and fiber. Just 1 ounce of Chia seeds contains nearly 5 grams of protein!
Try This: The “Avochia” Protein Smoothie
Ditch the mass-market protein powder and whip this shake-up instead. Simply blend the following and serve:
– 8 fluid ounces of milk (or go with unsweetened almond milk instead—at only 2 grams per serving it has less protein but’s a good option if you’re lactose intolerant)
– 1/2 1 medium ripe avocado
– 1/2 to 1 serving of fruit for sweetness (try banana, blueberries, or strawberries)
– 1.5 tablespoons of Chia seeds
– 1 tablespoon of almond butter
– 1 tablespoon of hydrolyzed collagen (optional)
Feel free to adjust the exact measurements for taste and texture, and be sure to share this article with your other protein-conscious friends!