Smooth, creamy and bursting with nutrition, protein smoothies are easy to make for a healthy breakfast option. Another nice thing about smoothies, you can customize them for your nutritional and taste preference. Whirl ingredients together in a blender at high speed and enjoy.
If you are in a rush, smoothies are easily transportable. Mine often end up being consumed in the car or at my desk. My favorite 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 or chia 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.
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.
- Animal-based Options – We’ve used Jay Robb brand and love the taste of the vanilla whey powder. They also make an egg white version and other flavors. Their products are hormone-free
- Animal-based, Gluten-Free, Organic – 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 – We like Vega. The Vanilla Chai is terrific. Tastes great, is not gritty as many plant-based brands are, and has an excellent nutritional profile. Another option for a plant-based protein powder is to use hemp powder. Navitas Natural and Bob’s Red Mill make one. The taste takes a bit of getting used to.
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 average 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).
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. I’ve also used Target Up&Up brand clear soluble fiber in the past. I like the Clear Fiber best because it is organic and it is 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 because of the high quality. 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.
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.
Healthy Protein Smoothies
Servings: 1 (about 2 1/2 cups or 600 ml)
- 10 ounces (300-350 ml) of homemade almond milk (recipe here), or soy, rice, oat, cow, coconut or other milk
- 1-2 scoops protein powder (depending on the brand and protein levels)
- 1 small banana
- 1/2 cup (62 grams) of frozen berries or mango
- 1-2 tablespoons (10 grams) of fiber (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of omega 3 oil (optional)
- Superfood supplements as you choose (optional)
- Blend together at high speed in a blender and enjoy right away. If it’s too thick, add a little more almond milk
Helpful Links and Information
The difference between Wheat Dextrin and Psyllium Husk, article on eHow site.
Supplement Clinic.com site, a resource for the OM-3 oil. We store ours in the freezer.
Navitas Naturals site for the acai powder and other premium, organic functional foods
Making smoothies was why I originally bought my Vitamix blender. Order here and get free shipping.
RenewLife site for more info on their clear organic fiber which is organic acacia fiber.
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