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  1. says

    My kiddo often won’t eat meat so I’m always trying to add a little protein in here and there. Everything you mentioned is great. We’re also gluten free so baking with almond flour also adds a good punch of protein.

    • Tiffany says

      Great suggestion Steph! I have a super easy suggestion for chicken tenders – dip in butter, coat in breadcrumbs, then bake. Something about the butter makes every kid’s plate clean!

    • Zoe says

      I make chicken cutlets out of almond flour as well. I dip the chicken breasts in eggs and then coat them in a mix of almond flour, a lot of powdered garlic and some salt. The crumbs from this are great by themselves and it tastes a lot better than it does just coated in almond flour. (It’s gluten free & parve)

      • Tiffany says


        A great tip for incorporating the remnants of ground almonds! I bet it adds a nice crunch and flavor to the chicken. Thanks for sharing! ~Tiffany

  2. Lyndsey says

    I don’t like the idea or taste of protein powder either. I’d much rather use something natural instead. Thanks for all the info in one place!

  3. says

    Made it this morning using your recommendations, even though I was a little skeptical of peanut nutter in green smoothie. It was awesome! Didn’t taste the green at all – just tasted like a peanut butter banana smoothie! Thanks.

    • Tiffany says

      You’re welcome Steph – I’m so glad you enjoyed the smoothie! Peanut butter is one of my favorite additions. Sunflower seeds (or the butter) work well too if there are any allergies.

  4. says

    This is SUCH great info! I invite you to join me today (and every Tuesday) for the Tone Up Tuesday link up! All things fitness, healthy living, and wellness like recipes, workouts, fitness motivations, struggles and accomplishments. Live right now!

    • Tiffany says

      Kefir is essentially fermented milk. Imagine a cross between yogurt and milk, and that’s kefir, except kefir has even more probiotics that yogurt. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Tiffany says

      Kefir is a probiotic drink that’s essentially fermented milk. If you can imagine thin yogurt, or thick milk, that’s kinda the consistency. Kefir has more probiotics than yogurt and can be made with non-cow’s milk. I plan on writing more on this next week so be on the lookout!

  5. says

    Thank you thank you! I can’t get past the artificial taste of protein powders, so this is a great resource. Thanks for encouraging me to re-visit the idea of protein shakes. :)

    • Tiffany says

      You are most welcome Amy! I thoroughly enjoy the protein shakes – I’ve even noticed my craving for sugar has decreased, which is a HUGE feat because I could survive on chocolate cake alone!

  6. says

    Great ideas! I am trying to make smoothies more often for my kiddos and these are great ideas to get a little more protein in them! Thanks so much for coming out to the party at Clean and Scentsible. I’ll be featuring this tomorrow. Have a great weekend!
    Jenn :)

  7. says

    Great idea! I have made protein shakes before, but never thought to make my own using foods. Thank you for providing all the nutritional information! I have heard of the green smoothie “diet” I will have to check out your post on that too.
    Thanks for linking up to Friday Fascinations! Don’t forget to link up to this week’s party!

  8. says

    I love your suggestions! I have to say, though, that I LOVE avocado in smoothies. I’ve never made a “green” (as in green with greens, because clearly the avocado will make a smoothie green, lol) smoothie with them, but I love the smooth and creamy texture they give, and the flavor blends well with anything. My favorite is a chocolate one:) And I have always been leery of those protein powders, too.

  9. Ttrockwood says

    Have you tried peanut flour yet? The ingredient list reads: peanuts. Thats it. Super high in protein, yummy and cheaper than any protein powder.
    And save yourself a LOT of $$ and use frozen spinach- i swear you get 3xs as much for half the price and helps keep smoothie cold.
    Greek yogurt+peanut flour+ chia seeds+frozen spinach+ frozen fruit+ soymilk makea and awesome smoothie for just around 250 cal!

  10. Andrea says

    If you want the flavor and the protein of peanut butter but not all the fat, try PB2. It’s a peanut butter powder. I get it at Whole Foods. My favorite smoothie to use it in is:
    2tbl PB2, 1/4 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup greek yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 frozen banana. Sometimes I’ll add a little cocoa powder. This keeps me full til lunch everyday.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks for the suggestion Andrea. I tried PB2 when a good friend was visiting and thought it was “ok.” I think I’m partial to eating PB the old fashioned way with just my jar and a spoon!

  11. Cin says

    What type of mixer are you using to make your smoothies? My Kitchenaid mixer doesn’t work well enough to make smoothies like this. I would love a Vitamix but it is a lot of money for a mixer :(

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Cin,
      I have a Blendtec. Similar to a Vitamix, but better. ;) Maybe chopping up the spinach would help your blender better puree? A high-end blender is definitely expensive, but one of the better investments you could make in the kitchen. They also come with very good warranties. The Blendtec is 8 years!

  12. Emily says

    Great recommendations! I do just add a scoop of plain, unflavoured whey protein powder to my smoothies when I want more protein, but you’ve got some great ideas here. We eat a lot of smoothies (my two toddler boys love them). It was so funny that you said you didn’t like pumpkin seeds in your smoothie – when I discovered them I was thrilled because I LOVE the taste, way better than flax! I think chia seeds have some protein too and since they have more omega 3′s and are more stable than flax seeds that’s generally what I grab.

    • Tiffany says

      Chia seeds are a great recommendation. I’d use those more often if it weren’t for the cost – $13.99/lb !! Love pumpkin seeds in other things, but just not my smoothie, lol!

      • Rachel says

        Check out Costco! I buy chia seeds at Costco in the D.C. area. A 2 lb bag is $9.89. :) I am loving all these suggestions as I am transitioning out of powder in my morning smoothy!

        • Tiffany says

          Rachel! I JUST saw them there last week! I was so excited, lol. My grocery budget is too lean for the rest of this month, but it’s definitely under consideration for next! ~Tiffany

  13. says

    I KNEW someone had to have come up with a “real food” version of the protein shake! Kudos to you, I can’t wait to try it. I’m linking to this post in my post today on Real Food alternatives to artificially sweetened foods! Come check it out! :)

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks so much Sara! All those powders scare me. I’d much rather throw in a huge mixture of actual food and have a “higher” protein count than toss in who-knows-what ground up for “highest.” Thanks for sharing! ~Tiffany

  14. NancyLee says

    Soak your oatmeal overnight – add a TBSP or two of lemon juice, vinegar, or kombucha – greatly increases digestibility. Sometimes I cook it the next day – sometimes I don’t cook it. Doesn’t matter because the acid soaking has made it digestible. I like the lemon – adds a nice little tang.

  15. Natalie says

    Other high quality proteins to add: hemp seed (5g per 2T, grind it up like flax first) and chia seed (3g per 1 T). There are SO many benefits to each one I just couldn’t even begin to get into it here.
    The only downside is they are a little on the expensive side, but you don’t need a lot get get a lot from them, so that’s good.

    • Tiffany says

      Great additions Natalie! They are expensive ($13.99/lb for chia seeds here!), but using only 1 T at a time makes it last while still getting the high protein! Thanks for sharing! ~Tiffany

  16. Kim says

    I am new to smoothie making. I am wondering can any of these recipes be premade and kept refrigerated? Our morning prep time to get all 5 people ready seems to leave little time for breakfast making. I thought if the smoothie mixtures were made the night before I could pre pour them into travel mugs and go! Or could they be made ahead of time and frozen into mugs and then I could just set them in the frig the night before to thaw until morning?

    Also,would you be willing to share your basic pantry grocery list for the month? We are very new to this and I have no clue as to costs or amounts of ingredients needed to really get started eating better. On a side note, I will be having bariatric surgery next month and believe your recipes will really help me and my overweight family to get healthy!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Kim!

      We’ve made smoothies up to 7 days in advance before without any issues and I almost always make Mr. Crumbs a smoothie the night before. Just shake and enjoy! I haven’t made and then frozen before, but I imagine you’d be fine. Maybe a bit more slushy, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      My basic pantry list – I’ll see if I can put one together in the near future. If you’re not sure where to start, go through my 22 days to a fresh start series here:

      It will rid your kitchen of boxed and processed foods so you can restock with healthier options. After the 22 days, go through fats: That will help clarify a few issues, plus fats is one of the three areas where we spend the most money (meat and produce being the other two).

      Until I have a list ready, feel free to leave questions in the comments. Sometimes I’m slow to respond (life, kids, you know how that goes ;), but I promise I will!

  17. Doreen says

    I am glad I came across this article. I have been drinking smoothies almost like the one you describe for a while now. I was wondering if I should be adding protein powder to them, but seeing that they have all kinds of stuff in them, especially aspartame, which I just hate the taste of, I wondered if I actually even needed it. Your article convinced me I don’t. I use 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tbs chia, 1 tbs hemp, 1 tbs peanut or almond butter, handful of spinach, bit of vanilla extract, frozen banana, 1 tbs oatmeal. I think I will try cooked oatmeal and kefir though. Thanks!

  18. Paula says

    I totalled up the protein in these ingredients, substituting almond butter for peanut butter, and come up with about 22 g. of protein and not 38???

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Paula,

      It’s been a while since I did the original math, but here’s what I came up with:

      1 cup kefir – 14g
      2 T ground flax seed – 3g
      1 1/2 cups spinach – 1.5g
      1 banana – 2g
      1/4 cup raw quinoa (prepared with milk) – 6g + 5g
      1 T peanut butter – 4g
      = 35.5

      Oops! I’ll go back and update the total. Thanks for the find Paula!

      • Paula says

        Okay, part of the difference I found is for the Quinoa. My calculation is that 1/4 cup prepared with milk would be a total of 5.59 g, not 11 g. I also have the Kefir at 7.43 g. protein per cup.

  19. Hélène says

    EGGS!! raw eggs are totally undetectable in smoothies. and they are not going to kill you. rly. i use 2 per person. we all eat at least 1 egg a day (i eat 2 –yes almost daily). eggs are super good for u and CHEAP. i laff wen i see protein powders. the industry has dun a good job of scaring everyone off raw eggs. but its now again PC to eat cooked eggs at least lol
    eat raw ones too. u will love ur thick, rich delicious smoothies!

  20. Hélène says

    Kim, i wud measure out the milk/yogurt in my single serving container and then crack the eggs into it the nite b4. I wud add the fruit too and vanilla and cinnamon I almost always used. I wud measure out the flaxseed to grind fresh in the morning and add it just b4 blending. In the a.m. I grabbed the unblended smoothie out of the fridge and it wud take about a min to be drinking it! Actually I took it with me in the car, I had a long commute.
    I wud lay out my clothes the nite b4 also and have everything ready to go by the door. I am not functional in the morning and getting up earlier doesnt help. Im NOT A MORNING PERSON lol

  21. Cindy says

    I’ve been looking for ways to add protein to my green smoothies without protein powder and stumbling upon your site finally has given me some great ideas! Thanks for the recommendations.

  22. Christi says

    Thanks Tiffany,
    I’m changing some things about my eating habits as an active 48 year old, because I’m not happy with how my changing metabolism is adding to my waistline! So eating breakfast (and making sure it has some protein in it) is now becoming a priority! I also wanted to stick with whole foods and natural ingredients so I went in search of ideas to add protein to a smoothie without powders (and I’m not comfortable with raw eggs). Your ideas are smack on! Thanks for the research and info – I can’t wait to try it.

  23. Debbie says

    What are your proportions if you use quinoa made with milk when adding to the smoothie? 1/4 cup dry quinoa makes 3/4 cup when cooked, but you suggest 1/4 cup – is that dry or prepared?

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Kim,

      I haven’t done much research on cooked vs. uncooked seeds/grains, but soaking would be the primary concern to reduce phytates. I would think cooking would taste better vs. raw though. What was the reason given for not cooking quinoa?

  24. Paula says

    Quinoa can be eaten raw or uncooked if it is first soaked and sprouted, but some experts advise that quinoa should always be cooked, not consumed as a raw sprout. It is equally nutritious in sprout form, but cooking may be a safer and more versatile way to include it in your diet.

    • Tiffany says

      Thanks Paula – I think raw quinoa might have a strong bitter taste that would be hard to tolerate, hence the cooking. I would think it’s easier on digestion too, but I can’t say for sure.

  25. Chris says

    I have been considering using protein powder in my green smoothies, but was hesitant about the ingredients. After much surfing the web, I found your website and that settles it. I will not buy protein powder.

    Thanks for good info.

  26. Tiana says

    I am interested in buying your book, “High Protein, No Powder” but I do not like chocolate and peanut butter and I’m not a huge fan of nuts in general. Are there a lot of recipes in the book that do not include these ingredient? Thank you!

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Tiana! I’d say 2/3-3/4 of the recipes do not have chocolate or peanut butter. All protein bar recipes call for nuts, but you can use some that don’t have much flavor (like cashews) or omit them all together and use a mix/match of various seeds instead (as mentioned in the book).

  27. ron says

    Is 1 tablespoon of either flax or chia seed enough protein for a smoothie? Or even a tbs. of almond butter?

    • Tiffany says

      Hi Ron,

      1 tbsp of chia has 3g of protein. Flax has 1.6 and almond butter has 3.35. On their own, they’re not super high in protein, but when added with other ingredients in the smoothie they can really add up!

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