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Do You Need A Protein Powder with Your Smoothie?

If you drink smoothies or shakes on regular basis or considering it as part of a healthy diet, protein should be on your mind. Do you have enough protein in your smoothie? Do you need a protein powder? What types? How much? I answer these questions in this post.

Drinking a smoothie as a meal replacement when you’re trying to improve your diet, lose weight, or tone up can be helpful for many reasons. First of all, it’s one more opportunity to add vegetables to your diet. My favorites are spinach, kale, parsley, cilantro, ginger, and cucumber. I usually blend the greens with the liquid first (usually coconut water) until they’re completely chopped, and then I add other ingredients like fruit, avocado, protein powder, etc.

Speaking of blenders, I’ve tried several before. While I liked the Ninja blender, greens stayed a little chewy. I personally didn’t mind it but my kids weren’t big fans of the texture. I finally invested in a Vitamix blender and it is worth it.

A smoothie is an easy on-the-go meal. Whether it’s work, school, or caring for your children, your schedule is most likely packed. If you give yourself 5-10 minutes to make a smoothie, it can tremendously help prevent skipping meals or a fast-food drive-through.

From experience, I find that smoothies and shakes help with bowel movements. Several of my patients report improvement in constipation when they started drinking smoothies with vegetables and fruits. The benefit is thanks to more fiber and fluids that they weren’t getting when they were eating commercial cereals, bagels, or muffins.

Shakes or smoothies can also help you lose weight and tone up if you choose the right ingredients in the right balance. When I recommend smoothies, I focus on protein content. That’s because it’s very easy to pack a smoothie with healthy wholesome fruits yet end up with a sugary drink. Having enough protein will allow your smoothie to fill you up for longer, help you get the amount of protein you need for the whole day to lose weight and balance your blood sugar, and improve muscle recovery and toning especially after a workout.

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Keep in mind that there’s a downside to drinking your meals. Studies show that people are more satisfied when they eat their meals compared to drinking them. Chewing your food helps you be mindful and present in the moment with your meal, and that improves satiety. Some of my patients agree, while others feel that a smoothie—in the combinations and amounts I recommend—keeps them more full. Experiment and see what works better for you.

Do you Need a Protein Powder with your Smoothie or Shake?

My patients and friends often ask me about protein powders, whether they’re healthy or not, which ones to use, how much to use, and so on. I recorded this video to answer those questions. If there’s a specific question you want answered, all you have to do is write me a comment below!

I mention beef gelatin in the video. If you want more info about it, you can read my blog post here.

I have also created a free guide to help you build a balanced smoothie (and salad and snack). You can download it here.

If you want access to our high quality, medical grade, unflavored protein powders, please contact us here and we will send you an invitation to our online supplement store. [link to infusion soft form]


Do you drink smoothies? What do you like most about them? Do you have enough protein in your smoothies? I’d like to hear from you!


If you prefer to read my answers, here’s the transcription of the video:

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Hi there. This is Nour Zibdeh, functional nutritionist. Do you need a protein powder with your smoothie? I get this question a lot, so I decided to answer it right here.

The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It actually depends. If your smoothie is going to be a meal replacement, meaning it’s replacing breakfast, lunch, or dinner, then you probably want to add a protein powder. That’s because you want about twenty to thirty grams of protein in your meal to make sure you’re satiated, so it lasts you a few hours, to get enough protein throughout the day, especially if you’re trying to lose weight or if the smoothie is going to be a post workout meal. It’s going to be a little difficult to get that from nuts and seeds, or even from yogurt. Some people can’t even tolerate yogurt, so it’s not an option.

In this case, I do recommend high quality unflavored protein powders. With unflavored, you can use them in multiple smoothie combinations, plus you’ll skip all the artificial sweeteners and preservatives that end up in a powder when they add a flavor. My favorites are pea protein. Hemp protein is a good option. Beef gelatin is a great option. It has the amino acids that are going to help heal the gut and help with connective tissue, and muscles, and in joints. If you can tolerate whey, then you can find high quality whey protein.

If you want my favorite picks and specific product recommendations, write me a comment below and I’m happy to share with you.

Now, if the smoothie is just a snack or it’s your way to get more vegetables and fruits in, then you don’t necessarily need to have a protein powder. But you do need a protein source in your smoothie. That’s because you don’t want a whole lot of sugar in your smoothie to enter your body at once.

In this case, I would recommend adding two tablespoons of almond butter or maybe chia seeds, or maybe just whole nuts and add them to your blender. You can also add half a cup of Greek yogurt if you tolerate it. That should give you about eight to twelve grams of proteins, which should be enough for a snack.

So, the answer is, probably yes and about twenty to thirty grams of proteins for a meal smoothie. Not necessarily, maybe eleven to twelve grams of protein for a snack smoothie. You can get that from nuts and seeds and Greek yogurt.

If you have a questions, leave me a comment below. If you liked this video, come subscribe to the to the YouTube channel. Come to my website at NourZibdeh.com and subscribe over there for more tips and resources like this. Again, this is Nour Zibdeh, functional nutritionist and I’ll see you next time.


Nour’s guidance and expertise was the key to dramatically halting our son’s [Crohn’s] disease progression! His pediatric gastroenterologist is now in agreement of our choice to treat solely with diet and supplements. All his labs have improved and his inflammatory markers are so low they are practically nonexistent.

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.


2 thoughts on “Do You Need A Protein Powder with Your Smoothie?”

    1. Hi Leslie,
      Thank you for the comment. I try to find unflavored products without additives or sweeteners. For whey, I look for undenatured whey (complete) from grass-fed cows. For hemp, manitoba is a good one. Pea, I recommend a medical grade from Protocol for Life, and whey there are a couple. Also Designs for Health has good products. I have some available through an online store and I can send you an invitation if you go here: http://www.nourzibdeh.com/shop

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