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10 Sneaky Protein Sources for Your Smoothies Great for Kids Too!

My 2 year old son recently went on a no-food diet for about a week, as in he didn't want to eat any food. This is always a stressful experience for parents. There are times when one of your kids just doesn't want anything. Favorite foods are suddenly met with resistance and you can't even entice your kid with a cookie or other sugary wonder. With my son, his line is this: I don't like that anymore. Try as I might, he will not back down when he's in that mindset. And nothing appeals to him. Of course, these days eventually pass but it sure is stressful in the meantime waiting for that moment when your child eats an actual meal again after days or weeks of not.

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When my daughter went through a similar period of not eating my husband started sharing his fruit smoothies with her. And she loved them. Hooray for smoothies! Our go-to smoothie for the kids includes: 1 banana, 1-2 cups strawberries, 1 serving plain oatmeal, a few splashes of milk and plenty of ice for a nice thick consistency. We just blend that together and the kids love it. If you can get your picky eaters and non-eaters to enjoy a thick, delicious smoothie packed with fresh fruits and vegetables then you have an opportunity to sneak in some protein too. Embrace that opportunity. My husband likes to add protein powder to his own smoothies, but I don't necessarily want the kids consuming that so I went on the hunt for other protein sources that taste great in smoothies. Lo and behold I discovered a nifty little article on Buzzfeed with a list of 17 ideas for incorporating more protein into your smoothies. Protein should be an important part of your day and your diet. Build those healthy muscles. Heres a summary of my 10 favorite sneaky protein sources from the Buzzfeed article, 17 Ways to Add Protein to Your Smoothies without Using Chemical Powders. I do also recommend viewing the original article when you can. There are links to tasty smoothie recipes featuring each one of the 17 recommended protein sources. Here are my top 10:

  1. Oats Add - cup of cooked plain oats to any smoothie for a big boost of protein (11 grams per cup) and a thicker consistency. (And I always thought my husband was just trying to be creative by adding oats.)
  2. Quinoa Add a - cup or so of cooked quinoa to give your smoothie a little protein boost. No need to flavor the quinoa since the fresh fruits and veggies you should be using already have that task covered.
  3. Milk Whether it be fat free or whole, adding milk to your smoothie in place of water or another liquid is an easy way up the protein factor. I like organic 2% for the kids.
  4. Coconut Milk One cup will do. And it tastes great too! And this is a great option for vegan diets.
  5. Soy Milk Just like regular dairy milk or coconut milk, soy milk can be a valuable protein source for your smoothies. So if soy milk works for you, go for it. (On a side note, I don't use this due to a little rendezvous with hormone positive breast cancer in my 20s. So anyone with certain types of cancers, hormone positive, will need to be careful with soy and other phytoestrogens.)
  6. Plain Yogurt This is such an easy addition to any smoothie. And in addition to the extra protein, the yogurt can also help thicken up your smoothie; especially if you use Greek yogurt.
  7. Peanut Butter To keep this on the healthier side, use a natural peanut butter without the added sugar and preservatives. Two tablespoons should do it.
  8. Almond Butter As with the peanut butter, opt for a healthier natural version.
  9. Walnuts These will up the protein in your smoothie while also adding great flavor. Just be sure the walnuts are small enough after blending the smoothie since you'll be drinking them. Tip: Try chopping or crushing them before tossing in the blender. (Full Disclosure: I am not crazy about nuts of any kind - I just don't like them - so walnuts are my least favorite addition to smoothies but it sure is a darn good idea for those of you who do!)
  10. Cacao Nibs Well who wouldn't want to add some cacao to just about anything! Just try to avoid nibbling it all away before you've had a chance to add it to the smoothie. But seriously, cacao nibs have 4 grams of protein per ounce. Try adding 1-2 tablespoons to a peanut butter banana smoothie for a real boost of protein and flavor.

Well, that's my list folks. I skipped all the seed type ingredients (Chia, pumpkin, sunflower) since I know my kids will avoid those at all costs. The sight of anything resembling a seed in their food will send them running the other way. Seaweed is also highlighted in the original Buzzfeed article, but I have to be extremely creative and sneaky to get that past my kids. They have a hard enough time warming up to something like spinach so I can only imagine their disgust we're they to discover me in the kitchen with a bunch of seaweed on the counter. And, truthfully, I'm not too crazy about that one either. Again, these we're just my top 10 picks from the article I read. There are 7 other great ideas worth checking out to see what tempts your taste buds. Now go head and make yourself a smoothie. Yum!

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Posted in Dentistry Post Date 01/30/2018


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