Chocolate Protein Smoothie
This rich and creamy smoothie packed with electrolytes, healthy fat, and protein makes a great post-workout beverage. Raw cacao powder adds a blast of antioxidants, almond butter and light coconut milk add healthy fats, and coconut water provides an extra dose of electrolytes. A frozen banana whips this into something that tastes like a decadent dessert with serious chocolate milkshake vibes. With all these nutrients and a carefully-chosen protein powder, this is a treat that serves a purpose.
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The Importance of Protein
There are a lot of opinions out there about protein shakes, but here's what I have experienced: My protein needs are high, and without a supplemental protein shake, I struggle to get the recommended amount of protein I need. As a woman in her mid-forties with Hashimoto's, I am hellbent on maintaining muscle mass for mobility, longevity, cognition, and strength. The experts I trust regarding this topic agree that women like me need LOTS of protein-- as in, women with autoimmune disease, with thyroid issues, with mid-life hormonal shifts underway, with waning lean muscle mass, and with an increased resistance to losing weight. If any of that sounds like it describes you, you may want to join me in getting hellbent on strength training and consuming adequate protein!
Recommendations vary, but according to women's fitness expert Debra Atkinson, 25 to 35 grams of protein at every meal is the minimum. Other fitness experts recommend a gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. So, for a 150 lb. woman, that would be 50 grams of protein per meal-- That's a LOT of protein! While eating ample protein with every meal and snack is a Thyroid Thriving habit many of us are already doing (myself included), when you start to track those grams of protein, it can be tricky to get enough each day.
To give you an idea of common protein counts:
- 28 grams in a 4-ounce serving of beef, chicken, pork, turkey, lamb, or fish
- 9 grams in a half-cup serving of lentils
- 7 grams in 2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 6 grams in 1 egg
- 4 - 6 grams in 1/4 cup of nuts
- 6 grams in 1/3 cup of quinoa
- 3 grams in 1/3 cup rice
- 2 grams in 1 cup of leafy greens (raw)
Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine
As you can see, if you aren't eating a serving of animal protein with every meal, you'll probably fall short of your protein needs.
I'm not a big fan of relying too heavily on meal replacements, but if the occasional protein shake enables you to get a strength workout in (vs. no workout), plus a post-workout dose of protein and other nutrients to support recovery and lean muscle mass, I'm all for it! Plus, this Chocolate Protein Smoothie tastes beyond delicious, like a thick and creamy chocolate milkshake. And that makes me all the more for it!
Thyroid Healthy Recipe Highlights:
- Bananas are a fiber-rich and nutrient-dense fruit and are a significant source of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Magnesium and other thyroid-supporting nutrients.
- Coconut milk contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals, in addition to healthy fats known as MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides) or MCFAs (medium-chain fatty acids). Consumption of these fats has been touted for various health benefits such as brain health, weight loss, and cholesterol balance. Coconut can also be a positive dietary substitution for refined carbs and sugar, which can diminish thyroid and overall health.
- Coconut water is a great alternative to sports and energy drinks due to its impressive amount of electrolytes like potassium. An 8-ounce serving of coconut water contains 500 mg of potassium. While naturally sweet tasting, it also has far less sugar than typical bottled sports drinks.
- Cacao is a good source of trace minerals like copper and manganese. It also contains flavonols, a type of antioxidant that can reduce the cell damage caused by heart disease and help to lower blood pressure and promote vascular function.
- Chia Seeds are an incredibly nutrient-dense food providing several benefits for Thyroid Thrivers. They are high in antioxidants and key thyroid-supporting nutrients like magnesium, zinc, iron, and B vitamins. A 1-ounce serving of chia seeds (about 2 tbsp.) contains 11 grams of fiber, 5 grams of complete protein, and over 5,000 mg of anti-inflammatory Omega 3s.
- Sea salt is a natural source of iodine and numerous other bioavailable trace minerals.
Happy cooking, happy thriving, and enjoy the recipe (below)!
P.S. Need more thyroid-friendly recipe inspiration? I’ve got you covered. My Thyroid-friendly Everyday eCookbook features over 50 quick and easy, thyroid-friendly recipes your whole family will love. To take a peek at what’s inside, CLICK HERE.
More Thyroid Healthy Drinks to Try:
- Banana Orange Creamsicle Collagen Smoothie
- 5 Thyroid-healthy Hot Drinks
- Cranberry Zinger
- Easy Instant Golden Milk
- Paleo Pumpkin Spice Creamer
- Lemon Ginger Honey Tea