The New Non-Vegetarian Smoothie Trend: Should You Try It?

by Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN ; Updated December 07, 2017

Bone broth has been part of the human diet since prehistoric times, but the nutrient-rich dish is having a renaissance, popping up on restaurant menus and even at coffee shops. The latest innovation on this trend? Bone broth powders that add an extra protein boost to your morning smoothie.

Bone broth powder is made from chicken or beef bones that have been roasted and boiled, creating bone broth (or stock), which is then dehydrated to form a concentrated powder. The powder is packed with amino acids — yes, those ever-important building blocks of protein. Nutritional information can vary, but one 10-gram scoop of organic chicken bone broth powder contains approximately 40 calories, nine grams of protein, 90 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 267 milligrams of chondroitin sulfate, 50 milligrams of hyaluronic acid and nine grams collagen.

Think of bone broth powder as a protein powder with an extra punch. In addition to providing a hefty nine grams of protein in a serving, it also contains collagen, which is found in our bones, tendons, muscles and even skin. In fact, collagen is the most prevalent protein in the body, making up about a third of total body protein!

Before you try this new trend, keep in mind that while some research suggests that extra collagen may be good for skin and nail health, you really don’t need extra collagen in your diet. Just eating or drinking collagen doesn’t directly boost collagen in your own bones, and a healthful diet overall can boost the ability of your body to make its own collagen.

Experimenting With Bone Broth Powder

To experiment with the bone broth powder trend, swap it in for your regular protein powder. It’s kind of like a protein-packed powdered bouillon, but without as much flavor, so you won’t notice a big taste difference in your smoothie. But, by the same token, it won’t add a huge amount of flavor to a dish the way chicken or beef broth would. Unflavored, or “pure,” bone broth doesn’t taste like juicy chicken or a meaty steak; it’s a slightly savory liquid that’s an acquired taste.

To use as a soup base, simply dilute one to two scoops — or a pre-portioned packet — of the powder in water. For smoothies, combine it with a scoop of a flavored powder like chocolate, vanilla, coffee or use it instead of protein powder and add in spices like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger or natural almond or vanilla extract.

Savvy home cooks are also amping up sauces and gravies with the nutrient-rich powders. Bone broth fans are cooking and baking with the powder to add extra protein to dishes ranging from veggie frittatas and savory oatmeal to chicken lettuce wraps and cauliflower pizza crust. And most importantly for your sweet tooth, you can “sneak” the powder into desserts — including comforting banana-nut muffins or rich fudgy brownies — creating power-packed treats.

Bone Broth Powder Pros and Cons

The good news is the powder provides an easy way to give lower-protein recipes a burst of protein, which can help you stay full longer.

Unfortunately, since there’s little nutrition research around bone broth, it’s unclear how much it really can improve your health, including claims that bone broth can enhance the immune system or promote better digestion. Also, since these bone broth protein powders do contain sodium, some brands may not be ideal for people who need to curb sodium intake due to a heart, kidney or other medical conditions. What’s more, there’s a slight risk of lead contamination in bone broth products, though the amount of lead is most likely minimal.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a “cure-all” or “miracle” food, bone broth powder isn’t it. The fact is that enjoying a serving of organic eggs or yogurt offers nutrient richness and high-quality protein that can be tastier than a scoop of bone broth powder, whether adding to your favorite recipes or slurping down a daily bone broth-based smoothie.

The truth is that a well-planned diet based on whole foods provides plenty of protein. However, if you do need a simple way to add extra protein — with the added bonus that bone broth powder _ma_y help beautify your skin and nails — enjoy a scoop of these powders here and there. But, people, not everywhere! The body doesn’t store excess protein as protein, so don’t overdo it.

Before you buy, double-check how the bone broth powder is sourced. Be sure to get one that’s sustainable, ideally derived from organic, grass-fed animals.

And, because there’s no reason for blandness, mix up your bone broth powder in a high-flavor way, whether that’s in a tried-and-true smoothie or in our preferred pick, this Protein Power Hummus recipe!

Protein Power Hummus

Prep: 10 minutesCook: 0 minutesTotal: 10 minutes

  • 1/3 cup of unsweetened green tea (divided)
  • 1 (10-gram) scoop of unflavored chicken bone broth powder
  • 1 (15-ounce) can of low-sodium chickpeas, drained
  • 1/3 cup of no-salt-added almond butter
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil 
  1. Add a quarter-cup of the chilled green tea and the bone broth powder to a blender. Cover and blend.2.     
  2. Add the drained chickpeas, almond butter (or tahini), lemon juice, garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and cayenne. 
  3. Cover and puree. If a thinner consistency is desired, add the remaining green tea. 
  4. Adjust the seasonings to taste.3.     
  5. Transfer to a serving bowl. 
  6. Drizzle with the olive oil. 
  7. Serve with fresh seasonal veggies. 

What Do YOU Think?

Would you try bone broth powder as a collagen supplement? Tell us your favorite recipes using bone broth and bone broth powder in the comments!

About the Author

Jackie Newgent RDN, CDN, is a classically-trained chef, registered dietitian nutritionist, award-winning cookbook author, professional recipe developer, and media personality. She is author of several cookbooks, including The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook and Big Green Cookbook. She’s a healthy cooking instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education. Jackie is a former national media spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and has made guest appearances on dozens of television news shows. She resides in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. @jackienewgent