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Do You NEED To Have Protein Powder In Your Smoothies?

Updated: May 27, 2020

Protein/collagen powder - some people love it, some people aren't a fan. But do you NEED to have it?

...It depends.

Ughhh how annoying is that answer?! It depends. But it's true. No one person's needs are the same as another. Along that same sentiment, your goals may be completely different from someone else's. Maybe you're looking to lose weight while someone else is looking to heal their gut and yet another person is trying to reduce their anxiety. You all will have different needs, different protocols.

do you need to have protein powder in your smoothies

This is something that is heavily emphasized in the Level Up Guide, which is what we're currently using for the Summer Intermittent Fasting Challenge (and if you haven't already joined in yet, head over HERE to jump into the Challenge!). That's why you'll find the Quiz in the beginning of the Level Up Guide to help you determine which protocol within the Guide will be best for you to follow.

If you're looking to increase muscle mass or if you have difficulties breaking down whole protein sources, then you may want to continue with your protein powder regimen.* If you are currently using protein/collagen powder and want to continue using it in your smoothies, then just make sure you're using a high quality source. I love Ancient Nutrition.

However, if you're looking to reduce or totally remove your protein powder intake, here are three easy swaps for your morning smoothie or break-fast. Keep in mind that your protein intake will be slightly lower at breakfast due to the less concentrated source of protein. However, this isn't always necessarily a bad thing.

2-3 Tbsp. Hemp Seeds (6-10g protein)

Hemp seeds are a fantastic plant-based protein because it also comes packaged with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats and 1-2g of fiber. Hemp seeds greatly boost the satiety of your meal due to the fats and protein. You may want to begin with 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds to start as they can be extremely satiating. You can swap out protein powder in any of the smoothies from the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle with 2-3 Tbsp. hemp seeds or 2 Tbsp. chia seeds (see below).

2-3 Eggs (11-16g protein)

Did you know eggs are the most bioavailable source of protein outside of breast milk? It's also conveniently one of the least expensive! You can whip up an egg scramble, like AENpeeps Letty did with the Detox Scramble above. You can even make a batch of frittatas for breakfast for the week. I love adding hard boiled or scrambled eggs as the protein source to my daily salad!

2 Tbsp. Chia Seeds (3-4g protein)

Chia seeds are one of my favorite sources of plant-based protein because they're so versatile. They also have a TON of fiber. Just 2 Tbsp. of chia seeds has around 7g of fiber!! (To put that into perspective, the average American only eats around 25g of fiber per day.) With plant-based protein options, it's important to get a variety of protein sources in. So you can pair nuts and seeds in one meal (like in the Grain-Free Oatmeal from the 7 Day IF Detox) and throw in some beans and high protein veggies in other meals (like in the Grounding Pesto Avo Plate in the Level Up Guide).

do you need to use protein powder in smoothies

Do you NEED to have protein powder? Not necessarily, but this also completely depends on your goals and health history. In the meantime, if you love adding in your high quality protein powder, then keep doing your thing! But if you want to switch it up with more whole food sources of protein, try some of the options above.

Happy week 3 of the Summer Intermittent Fasting Challenge, AENpeeps!

Your Nutritionist,


protein powder alternatives in smoothies

Autumn Elle Nutrition

*Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. The advice the author provides herein is based on years of practical application, experimenting with her own health and physique as well as the clinical needs of others. Any recommendations the author may make to you regarding diet, including supplements and herbal or nutritional treatments must be discussed between you and your doctor(s) to ensure protection for reader and author.

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