The Protein Packed Smoothie Addition Already In Your Pantry

Your favorite on-the-go crunchy snack — almonds — just so happens to be a delicious way to pack your smoothie with protein. A handful or two of almonds is known for being filling and hearty, and not to mention their satisfying crunch and toasty sweet taste. The little nuts are nutrient-dense with healthy monounsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, and antioxidants, amongst other important vitamins and minerals.

But what many people may not realize is that they're also a great source of protein — just 1 ounce of almonds contains 6 grams of protein, per the USDA. That's the equivalent of one large egg. Considering you may even add more than just one ounce to your smoothie, they're a pretty solid source of the macronutrient. Most people gravitate to a protein powder for their smoothies, but those almonds on hand in your pantry are a suitable and flavorful option.

Adding protein to your smoothie is a great plant-based way to help you reach your daily protein goal while keeping you full, satiated, and energized. Incorporating almonds for protein into your smoothie is easy if you follow some best practices to ensure it's tasty and filling.

How to build a protein packed smoothie with almonds

There are a few things to take into consideration when building the perfect smoothie. First, for texture, you'll need a liquid, a base, something to thicken it or something creamy, and the cold factor. For flavor, you'll want a sweet component and something to counteract too much sweetness. Lastly, for keeping you full and energized, you want to create a nice mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fats.

The beauty of adding almonds to your smoothie is that they have the ability to cover more than one of the components. A handful of raw almonds will add protein, carbs, and fats, as well as provide a thickening function. If you opt for unsweetened almond milk to get in your protein, you'll cover the macronutrients as well as cover the cold factor and a nutty savoriness that will balance out any sweeter additions you use. And if you go with almond butter, you'll cover protein, fats, and carbs as well as a nice healthy dose of creaminess.

Two things to keep in mind: Raw almonds and unsweetened milk and almond butter are best for smoothies as they don't contain any oils, flavors, or seasonings that you may not want in your breakfast drink. And unless you own a super high-powered professional blender such as Vitamix, you'll want to think twice before putting whole nuts in the blender. Instead, soak the almonds first so they don't hurt your blade or burn out the motor of your machine.