Not a bodybuilder? Enjoy a protein smoothie anyway! Our bodies need protein for healthy skin, hair, bones, and heart. Plus a protein-packed breakfast can prevent overeating, and a dose of protein after resistance training helps build and repair muscle tissue (especially when you consume a blend of proteins).Soy-dairy protein blend and whey protein ingestion after resistance exercise increases amino acid transport and transporter expression in human skeletal muscle. Reidy PT, Walker DK, Dickinson JM. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 2014, Apr.;116(11):1522-1601.

The secret to mixing something up you'll look forward to sipping is striking the right balance between protein sources (such as Greek yogurt, protein powder, and peanut butter) and sweet and/or savory add-ins—something all of the recipes below have nailed. These recipes also have eight or more grams of protein, are derived from whole food sources with minimal ingredients, and make us drool a little bit. Bottoms up!


Healthy Coffee Banana Smoothie Recipe
Photo: Cookin' Canuck

Protein source: Greek yogurt, flax seeds
Enjoy a breakfast of yogurt, banana, and coffee—all from the same cup. Caffeine pairs with protein for an exceptional energy boost.

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Take a (sort-of- not-really) vacation when sipping this tropical smoothie. It calls for Greek yogurt and antioxidant-rich berries, an orange, and a banana.

Protein source: flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp protein powder
Green smoothie ingredients sometimes get a bad rap, but banana and berries mask the bold taste of kale in this recipe. Bonus: The tablespoon of açai powder may help boost energy, while cinnamon helps reduce inflammation.

Protein source: cottage cheese, milk, chia seeds
For a serious flavor boost, roast strawberries before tossing them into this blend. The creamy cottage cheese is a tasty alternative for those not partial to Greek yogurt’s tangy flavor profile.

Protein source: milk, egg, whey powder
A volatile vortex means it’s worth having this warm recipe on hand at all times. Plus it makes a (healthy) meal out of classic hot chocolate, working in both protein-packed whey and unsweetened cocoa powder.

Protein source: peanut butter, Greek yogurt
Holy nutrients, Batman! The spinach alone serves up vitamins A, C, and K, fiber, magnesium, and calcium. Allergic to peanuts? Try one of these tasty peanut butter alternatives.

Protein source: almonds, protein powder
Switch up a savory breakfast when opting for this sweet, still-healthy smoothie. Almonds and spices deliciously complement the crazy-versatile coconut oil.

Protein source: Peanut butter, flax seeds
All the fixings of a healthy breakfast—peanut butter, banana, and rolled oats—but with a creamy taste of a milkshake. Need we say more?

Protein source: Greek yogurt, protein powder, chia seeds
Frozen bananas, raspberries, and spice make busy mornings nice (and full of antioxidants). The best part: This recipe takes only five minutes to make.

Protein source: protein powder, almond butter
Cookie butter (essentially gingerbread cookie crumbs mixed into almond butter) is totally a thing, and the littlest bit doesn’t really offset the nutritional quality of this protein-rich, almond-butter-based smoothie.

Protein source: chia seeds
Don’t fix what isn’t broken, right? Bland but nutrient-packed chia seeds sneak protein into the classic strawberry-banana smoothie combo.

Protein source: chia seeds
A green smoothie that tastes anything but. Bananas sweeten it up, while tart kiwis keep it from feeling too much like dessert.

Protein source: Greek yogurt, dairy milk
Really, you can sip this smoothie anytime—but the fresh taste of antioxidant-rich blueberries and mango is a convincing reason to get out of bed in the morning.


Papaya Ginger Smoothie
Photo: Daily Burn

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Thanks to its high fiber content, papaya has been shown to promote digestion, says nutritionist Michelle Davenport, Ph.D. So if breakfast isn’t sitting well with your stomach, stick to this smoothie Rx. Bonus: It also includes ginger.

Protein source: hemp and chia seeds
A sugar hack for smoothies? Pitted dates. They’re a natural, fiber-filled sweetener that will satisfy a sweet tooth without added sugars (they also break down easier in a blender when soaked beforehand).

Protein source: hemp hearts
A quarter cup of hemp hearts—seeds similar to sunflower seeds and pine nuts—provides about 15 grams of protein, almost 3 grams of fiber, and may help to prevent hypertension, Davenport says. Mixing them with bananas and apples makes for a sweet, creamy sip.

Protein source: peanut butter, whey protein powder
It’s peanut-butter-jelly time! Berries, peanut butter, rolled oats, and protein powder give the bread (and taste buds) a break.

Protein source: vegan protein powder
So, those amazing benefits of green tea? Get them by sprinkling a half teaspoon of matcha powder—finely ground green tea—into this smoothie.


Protein source: protein powder, Greek yogurt
Here’s a sunny twist on a staple breakfast. But feel free to break this recipe’s rules by adding whatever fruit or greens you have on hand.


Strawberry Banana Quinoa Smoothie
Photo: Noble Pig

Protein source: Greek yogurt, quinoa, chia seeds
Not only is it a complete protein, but quinoa is a prime source of fiber, iron, and magnesium. And its taste is cleverly paired with other smoothie ingredients, including strawberries, bananas, and vanilla almond milk.

Protein source: protein powder
Between the dark chocolate protein powder and the cocoa powder, chocolate lovers are going to want this drink morning, noon, and night. Which is fine, since dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and can help regulate stress.

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Fruit salads are a great snack—almost as great as this creamy mix of cantaloupe chunks, Greek yogurt, and honey.

Protein source: almond butter, protein powder, milk
Put a craving for cherry ice cream on, well, ice when sipping this cherry smoothie instead. Cherries are also an anti-inflammatory, so this snack choice is pretty painless. (Get it?)

Protein source: Greek yogurt
Want to get back to smoothie basics? This recipe does the trick by using only five ingredients (though there’s plenty of room to add cacao nibs).

Protein source: protein powder
Order up! This latte-like smoothie skips the sugar and uses greenish bananas and chocolate protein powder instead.

Protein source: chia seeds, Greek yogurt
If you like piña coladas... then spring for this smoothie! Pineapple and coconut milk mimic the signature cocktail’s taste, while chia seeds, Greek yogurt, and rolled oats ramp up nutrition. Tiny drink umbrellas optional.

Protein source: Greek yogurt, milk, peanut butter
Treat yo’self to a creamy, candy-inspired smoothie that fuels both muscles and taste buds (and is way more nutritious than a Reese’s).


Carrot Cake Protein Smoothie
Photo: Eating Bird Food

Protein source: protein powder
For a dessert that won’t undo a workout, blend carrot juice, almond milk, a banana, and sugar’s healthy swap, cinnamon. Then sip. Aaaahh.

Protein source: almond butter, protein powder
Milkshakes can go green too—and this one excerpted from Clean Green Drinks gets rave reviews. The sweetness of the banana, coconut milk, and vanilla protein powder overpowers the spinach flavor while keeping things healthy.

Protein source: protein powder
Keep recovery simple with pomegranate juice and seeds and protein powder. Not only are they tasty, but pomegranates have high contents of vitamins C and K, fiber, and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties, Davenport says.

Protein source: almonds
All you need is three ingredients (plus water) to make this creamy, dreamy drink. Dates sweeten up the action, while almonds bring protein and fiber and strawberries pack the antioxidants.

Protein source: protein powder
Sit back and unwind with this refreshing, fruity smoothie that’s basically fro-yo in a glass (but with non-dairy, delicious coconut milk instead of moo juice). You’re welcome.

Protein source: protein powder, cashews
After protein, super spice turmeric is what sets this recovery smoothie apart. The spice is an anti-inflammatory that’s also high in antioxidants.

Protein source: almond butter, protein powder
Handfuls of puréed spinach may not sound appetizing (unless you’re Popeye), but a ripe banana sweetens the taste. Cheers to sipping down vitamin A and iron from the spinach without tasting it.

A Primer on Protein Powders

If you’ve already locked down your favorite smoothie recipe on account of particular tastes and/or food allergies, you can always just scoop in protein powder for an added boost. When choosing a powder, the brand and nutritional profile are the two most important things to consider, Davenport says. Protein supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so research safe brands before purchasing. (Start with our easy-to-follow supplement guide.)

It’s also key to note how you’re using the protein powder—whether it’s to replace a meal or recover from a workout. “Whey, milk, casein, and egg protein all absorb differently, and you want to get the maximum absorption with each meal,” says Jeff Thomas, director of nutrition at Creative Edge Nutrition. Don’t worry non-animal-protein eaters: There are plenty of plant-based options for you, including rice, pea, hemp, and soy protein.

Research can also help you navigate the options on the supplement shelves. Our bodies may be better able to utilize whey and egg proteins better than soy protein, Davenport says, while whey and rice proteins may perform equally in terms of increasing power and strength. The bottom line? Choose the most unprocessed form of the source that best suits your needs.

Originally published June 2014. Updated August 2015.

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