Collagen has been a hot topic in the health community for years now—and for good reason. Collagen is shown to benefit so many areas of the body, from joints to skin and hair to bones. I originally started adding collagen into my diet right before I hit 35 years old, because that’s about the time your cells that make collagen start slowing down production. As I have begun aging, I’m also more aware of the effects my workouts have on my joints. So supplementing collagen is my answer to continuing on with hard workouts despite aging.
Naked Nutrition sent me a container of its Collagen Peptides Protein Powder a couple months ago to test out. I have used several brands of collagen over the years, so I was excited to try out this high-end brand that is sourced from pastured-raised European cows.
If you love the health benefits of collagen, but need ideas for integrating it into your everyday diet, consider these ways that we sneak collagen in at home.
How to Add Collagen to Your Diet
Coffee or Tea: Because collagen is tasteless, it’s so easy to blend it into hot drinks. (Note: Collagen dissolves in hot or cold liquid, while gelatin—the cooked form of collagen—only dissolves in hot liquid. Both have the same health benefits.) Once you start adding a teaspoon or so to your morning coffee or tea, it becomes a routine and the extra frothiness it adds to your hot drinks is just a bonus.
Oatmeal: All four of my kids regularly eat oatmeal for breakfast. For the past couple years, we have added a teaspoon of collagen every time we make their oatmeal. Not only does it add a little more protein and staying power to their diet, but collagen helps to strengthen the gut wall (leaky gut syndrome) and has anti-inflammatory properties.
Protein Shakes: After most of my hard workouts or lifting sessions, I come home and make myself a protein shake to help fuel my body for recovery. My go-to recipe is to blend half a frozen banana, a scoop of chocolate protein powder, a teaspoon of collagen, a tablespoon of peanut or nut butter, a cup of unsweetened almond milk and a couple ice cubes. I’ve also used this shake recipe as a meal replacement on mornings when I’m rushing out the door because it has enough calories to sustain me until a mid-morning snack. Collagen helps with workout recovery (especially as we age and produce less of it naturally) by basically oiling the joints enabling better mobility and reducing inflammation.
Smoothies: Similar to protein shakes, smoothies with collagen are easy to make and you can also throw in some greens to up the health factor. In the warmer months, my kids get on a kick where they love to consume smoothies for their snack. I blend frozen fruits, collagen, ice, greens and cow’s milk or an alternative milk to make a delicious treat for my kids which is actually healthy.
Soups and Stews: I am a self-proclaimed soup person. I could eat soups and stews nearly every day and be happy. I love that soups are all-in-one meals and most of mine contains both vegetables and meat proteins to make them healthy and satiating. If you don’t have bone broth on hand, which is packed with collagen, you can add collagen to your soups and stews to help thicken them. Replace common thickeners such as cornstarch with collagen to sneak in many health benefits.
Homemade Protein or Granola Bars: Though making your own protein or granola bars isn’t as convenient as picking up a box of bars at the grocery store, it’s much cheaper and you can ensure the ingredients that go into your homemade bars are all supportive of your health (versus ingredients you can’t even pronounce). This recipe has five flavor ideas for inspiration: No-Bake Granola Bars.
Homemade Treats: There are several fun homemade treats you can make for your kids that utilize collagen. I’ve made homemade marshmallows and gummies. Here are a few recipes for inspiration: Maple Marshmallows, Berry Gummy Bears, No-Bake Fudge Bars, Chocolate Mousse, Brownie Cups.
How do you prefer to consume collagen?
Collagen is also one of my answers for Surviving Postpartum Hair Loss!