Smooth, creamy and bursting with nutrition, healthy protein smoothies are easy to make for breakfast, plus they are customizable for your nutritional and taste preference. Whirl ingredients together in a blender at high speed and enjoy. If your morning is crazy, set them up the night before to shave a few minutes off your busy morning.
How to Build Healthy Protein Smoothies
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 smoothies I feel good and my energy is high throughout the morning.
My basic recipe starts with easy, homemade almond milk (recipe here). You can also use boxed or refrigerated almond milk, coconut, rice, oat, or hemp milk. Be sure to read labels and get unsweetened, unflavored plain versions to avoid added sugars and unwelcome additives like carrageenan. 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.
There are an overwhelming number of protein powder options on the market, from whey (cow and goat milk) and egg white, to excellent plant-based, collagen, and vegan options based on brown rice and pea protein. When choosing a protein supplement powder, read labels for added or hidden sugar, additives, and high sodium. For help on choosing a protein powder and non-powder options options,read this post
If you are looking to stretch your grocery budget and protein powders seem expensive, try using half a serving and boosting with plant-based ingredients such as shelled hemp seeds and chia seeds. For how much protein you need, the minimum for a woman is 46 grams. For men the minimum is 56 grams. Another way to figure your need is by multiplying your weight in pounds by .36 (or .8 grams per kilo). If you are active or have special health needs, you may need more. Remember, these are minimums. Current studies show that the needs for optimal health are higher.
Fruit, Fiber and Sweetening
Frozen frozen blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries are terrific low-sugar berry choices for healthy protein smoothies. Use about a half cup. A little banana makes a smoothie creamy and is a good source of potassium. Choose a greenish banana as they are lower in sugar, or use just a half. Mango is good too (especially with coconut milk), but overall, watch how much sugar, even natural sugar, you add to your smoothies.
Because the American diet is low in fiber and getting the recommended 25-35 grams per day is a challenge, I add a scoop of powdered fiber. It’s like insurance. We use organic acacia fiber. It disappears into the smoothie and you’ll never know it’s there.
To sweeten your smoothies, add a few drops of flavored liquid stevia, a little honey, maple syrup or a chopped date. The stevia drops are made by Sweet Leaf and come in more than a dozen flavors. Find them at many markets and online.
Supplements for Extra Nutritional Power
Just the few ingredients I’ve listed make a healthy and satisfying smoothie. If you want to take your smoothie one step further, try adding superfood supplements for extra nutritional power. 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. We now use frozen acai packets. Trader Joes has them at the best price.
- 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 organic cacao powder – A top source of antioxidants, magnesium, iron along with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, even protein and fiber!
- Chia seeds – 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 – Maca is an adaptogen, a natural substance that works with your body to help manage stress and energy balance. This ancient Peruvian superfood was highly prized by Incan warriors to increase stamina and combat fatigue. For more on adaptogens, read here.
These extras may seem pricey, but we believe they are worth investing in because of the nutritional boost provided. If you are looking for a super way to start your day, try healthy protein smoothies. They work for a quick power lunch or post-workout too.
Healthy Protein Smoothies
- 10 ounces unsweetened almond milk preferably homemade
- 1-2 scoops protein powder of choice
- 1 small greenish banana
- 1/2 cup frozen berries or mango
- 2 teaspoons acacia fiber
- 1 tablespoon MCT or coconut oil optional
- 6 drops flavored liquid stevia, honey or maple syrup optional
- Blend together at high speed in a blender and enjoy right away. If it’s too thick, add a little more almond milk