If you want to keep your smoothie high in protein but steer clear of the additives in protein powders, various milks are a good bet. One cup of 1% cow’s milk has 8 grams of protein, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It’s also high in calcium at 305 milligrams. The Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research also states that cow’s milk is nutrient-dense in vitamins D, B2, B12, and A, along with the minerals potassium and phosphorus. Additionally, milk and milk product consumption has been associated with a lower risk of metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases.
One big downside of cow’s milk is lactose, which many are intolerant to. This can lead to cramping, nausea, and gastrointestinal distress. You can keep your smoothie high in protein by substituting other non-dairy milk products. For example, soy milk, created by blending water and soybeans, is rich in vitamins, a good source of plant protein (7 grams per cup), and lower in calories than milk, per Healthline. However, to get a similar flavor, sugar is added, and the cost is higher than cow’s milk.
Other plant-based dairy alternatives to try include oat milk, cowpea milk, almond milk, coconut milk, flax milk, and quinoa milk, states the Journal of Food Science and Technology. Each product has different ingredients and additives to watch for, but it can be a healthy alternative for your protein shake when you want to meet your macros.