Having a smoothie daily or a few times a week is nice, but you want to make sure the bulk of your diet is WHOLE foods. Even snacks with protein are easy:
Roasted chickpeas have a lot of protein. There's pumpkin seeds, almost and sunflower seeds and nut butter. All are easy to make portable snacks. If you eat meat, the Tanka buffalo jerky bars are excellent and very low in fat but high in flavor.
But if you want a protein powder in your smoothie, avoid the pea protein as your sole veggie protein source, and avoid whey isolate, any hydrolyzed protein, aspartame and non organic beet powder (usually GMO). Those protein sources are harder for your body to break down than whole food protein sources.
In reading some scientific studies on that, it appears that hemp protein is the vegan protein that's the easiest for both digestion and kidney function, so I tried several until I found my favorite.
Picture from their website - my camera battery needs charging.
It's a Canadian company and ordering online is quick and easy. There are several flavors but the blackberry pomegranate.is my favorite and I think it is the best tasting brand of all that I have tried to date. The ingredients are simply 100% raw hemp protein powder, citric acid, natural flavor and stevia. Each 2 Tablespoon serving has 110 calories, 3 grams fat (less than .4 percent saturated, 5 grams sodium, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams carbs, 15 grams of protein and half of your iron for the day.
Hemp seed is an outstanding vegan protein source and has all 20 known amino acids, including the 8 essential amino acids and 2 semi-essential amino acids our bodies can't make on their own. This makes for a complete protein, important to those that limit or have no animal product consumption.
Hemp protein, which thrives without the use of any pesticides, is made up of approximately 65% Edestin and 25% Albumin proteins. Edestin is considered the most digestible protein in all of the food chain because of its closeness to the structure or protein found in human blood and it's also the backbone of cell DNA. This makes hemp easy on both the tummy and the kidneys. Albumin is most commonly known as the protein found in egg whites and is also easily digestible. Hemp protein is free of sugars and the oliosaccharides, like those found in soy which cause embarrassing tummy issues (pardon me, I'll just be clearing this room.)
Hemp seed foods are also more allergen free than any other seed/nut food.
Other noted benefits of hemp consumption (I sometimes get the flavored seeds, not just the powder)
lowers cholesterol (my doc said I have the cholesterol levels, post menopause, of a 20 year old)
promotes brain development (though I think all the drinking in college may be a challenge for it)
improves dry skin and hair
helps with weight control
relieves constipation (I no longer have to have the carb laden bowl of fiber cereal in the morning)
completely cancels out the calories in pancakes (just kidding on that one)
relives arthritis symptoms
reduces PMS (that ship has sailed but my niece said it's helped her)
speeds muscle recovery after exercise.
What's not to love!
One note with hemp protein, for those that eat little or no animals products. Hemp is is naturally high in the amino acid arginine. Too much arginine (as compared to lysine) may trigger cold sores for folks prone to those. IF you are prone to cold sores, shingles, or any of the herpes simplex viruses, and aren't getting enough lysine which is abundant in meat, cheese, and dairy products, you may wish to increase the lysine in your hemp powder shake by mixing it with lysine rich milk or yogurt if you are not vegan, or add dark greens, lemon juice, cherries, pineapple or peaches to your smoothie, all more alkaline and/or higher in lysine than other fruits and veggies.
And on one final note - hemp and the cannibis plant from which "weed" is taken are genetically different and cultivated differently (which greatly impacts the THC found in them) so you could eat hemp heart protein or seeds all day long and have no danger of being mistaken for a hippie or having any other side effects other than "that was tasty and I'm full!"