Creamy, tasty and bursting with nutrition, healthy protein smoothies are easy to make for breakfast in a hurry. And you can customize them for your nutritional needs and taste preference. Whirl ingredients together in a blender and enjoy.
Healthy Protein Smoothies to Start Your Day
Smoothies are a great option when mornings are busy and you have to get out of the house or jump onto a conference call if you work from home.
When you are on the go, smoothies are easily transportable. Mine often end up being consumed in the car or at my desk. If you really have no time in the morning, set it up ahead of time for an even faster smoothie.
My favorite current flavor is raspberry-banana, but you can use strawberries, mangos, blackberries, blueberries or a combination. Create your personal favorite flavor, then add supplements like acai, hemp, maca, raw cacao powder, superfruit blend, chia or spirulina for extra nutritional power.
How to Build a Healthy Smoothie
As a follow on to my homemade almond milk post, here is my recipe for healthy smoothies. We drink these almost every morning for breakfast. I’m not one for big, heavy breakfasts and have found that if I stick with drinking my smoothies I feel good and my energy is high. Read on for ingredients and options.
And my blender of choice for almond milk and smoothies? My beloved Vitamix. Bought one fifteen years ago as I began my healthy eating journey with smoothies and it’s still going strong.
My basic recipe starts with easy, homemade almond milk (recipe here). You can also use boxed almond milk, coconut, rice, soy, oat, hemp, or cow’s milk. Most boxed milks are pretty processed. Be sure to read labels and get unsweetened versions to avoid added sugars. Look for brands without carrageenan, an unwelcome additive.
One more idea, use your milk of choice and add a tablespoon of raw organic almond butter. You can also make your own coconut milk using organic canned coconut milk. It tastes terrific, is always in the pantry and you can use it half and half with water or vary the blend to your dietary need.
To the milk I add protein powder. There are many available options on the market, from whey (cow and goat milk) and egg white, plus excellent plant-based, vegan options. When choosing a protein supplement powder, read labels for added and hidden sugar and watch out for high sodium.
For help on choosing a protein powder, read this post.
- Animal-based Options (updated)
- For whey protein, we currently use Naked Nutrition, undenatured 100% grass fed whey protein powder from California farms, GMO-free and soy-free.
- Another good option that is both organic and certified gluten-free is Tera’s Whey. In addition to their cow’s milk whey, they make a goat whey protein powder. Goat whey is more easily digestible for many people than cow’s whey. Check out the details on Amazon by following the link above. You can buy it at most health food stores too.
- Vegan, Plant-based Options
- Right now the two best options I have found are from Pure Food Company and Naked Nutrition (brown rice).
- Another terrific option is Raw Garden of Life plant-based powders. Great taste and nutritional profile.
- Yet another plant-based protein is to use hemp powder. Navitas Natural and Bob’s Red Mill make one. The taste takes a bit of getting used to..and even for me the taste is a bit tough, but who knows, you might like it.
If you are still looking to stretch your grocery budget and protein powders seem expensive, try using half a scoop. You are still getting a good dose of protein, depending on your daily protein requirements.
For women, the minimum need is about 46 grams. For men, about 56 grams. Another way to figure your need is by multiplying your weight in pounds by .36 (or .8 grams per kilo). It’s a start but can vary based upon your individual needs and physical needs, like high fitness demands, pregnancy, etc.
Fruit and Fiber Options
Next, I add frozen berries and a small banana (great source of potassium). Mango is good too (especially with coconut milk). Then I add a one-two scoops of fiber powder. The American diet is low in fiber. It’s not always easy to get the recommended 25-35 grams per day, so I jump start my daily intake by adding granular fiber. It disappears into the smoothie and you’ll never know it’s there.
We use Organic Clear Fiber from Renew Life. It is organic and not made from wheat.
Supplements for Extra Nutritional Power
Just the few ingredients I’ve listed make a healthy and satisfying smoothie. But if you want to take your smoothie one step further, try adding superfood supplements for extra nutritional power. In terms of brands, we buy mostly Navitas Naturals. Here is a list of possible power add-ons:
- Acai powder – The small, dark purple Amazonian berry (ah-SIGH-ee) that provides exceptional amounts of antioxidants, omega fats, protein and fiber, plus it’s an immunity and energy booster.
- Superfruit smoothie mix – This potent package provides a plentiful and diverse supply of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in each serving, a combination acai, pomegranate and goji berry all mixed together.
- Omega 3 fish oil – We use an ultra high potency brand (Dr. Lam) with a light lemon taste. It disappears into your smoothie and you’ll never know its there (some taste terrible). Store it in the freezer.
- Raw cacao powder – A top source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Chocolate that is good for you! This is particularly good with strawberries and coconut.
- Chia seeds or powder – Chia is a great source of healthy omega fats, protein, antioxidants and dietary fiber. It has a neutral flavor and because it absorbs water, it thickens liquids.
- Maca powder – Great for energy and balance, this ancient Peruvian superfood was highly prized by Incan warriors to increase stamina and combat fatigue.
- Spirulina – a deep green, pure natural superfood from Hawaii, containing protein, betacarotene, and essential vitamins & minerals.
These extras are not inexpensive, but we figure they are worth investing in because of the nutritional boost provided. Read more about them if you follow the Amazon links or on the Navitas Naturals site. Consider adding them to your smoothies and your diet.
If you are looking for a super way to start your day, try healthy smoothies. They work for a quick power lunch too.
Helpful Links and Information
The difference between Wheat Dextrin and Psyllium Husk, article on eHow site.
Navitas Naturals site for the acai powder and other premium, organic functional foods
RenewLife site for more info on their clear organic fiber which is organic acacia fiber