There are so many reasons to get on the smoothie-train! They are versatile, nutritious, portable, fast to make, and so delicious (they can taste like drinking a dessert). Protein smoothies are great for mornings, post-workout, or when you just need a snack and know you haven’t eaten enough protein that day.
I highly recommend using a whey isolate protein powder. Whey isolates are just that, the isolated whey protein that has had other milk solids, proteins and lactose filtered out. Therefore, they tend to be very well tolerated by those who can’t digest lactose. Though if you have a full-blown milk allergy, you’ll want to stick to a vegan powder.
There are a few ways to make regular smoothie-making easier:
- Buy a bunch of bananas. As soon as they’re ripe (but before they get brown spots), peel them and cut or break them into sections. I like cutting a banana into 1/3 or ¼ segments – they’ll blend faster, more easily, and you can control the sugar content of your smoothies. Then place the banana segments into a container in your freezer for easy access.
- Keep a bag or two of frozen berries in your freezer. Costco carries large bags of organic strawberry slices and wild blueberries.
- Stock your pantry with a few cans of coconut milk. Coconut milk is also great to keep on-hand for making chia pudding, or for putting in your morning coffee.
- Keep your protein powder in the kitchen. This makes it easily accessible – remember to keep it away from heat sources.
You can also use smoothies as a way of incorporating more veggies into your day. Commonly used veggies include spinach, kale, beets, or other greens. However, today I want to focus on those for the novice smoothie-maker: easy to make and sweet to taste.
You might be thinking, If there are no vegetables, where does the nutrition come in?
There are multiple sources of nutrition in these recipes:
- Whey protein powders contain between 25-31g of protein per scoop
- 3 tbsp of hemp hearts/seeds contain 10g of protein and 2.5g of omega-3 fatty acids
- Coconut milk is rich in healthy fats (mainly medium-chain triglycerides, which are also easy to digest)
- Berries contain high amounts of antioxidants and also tend to have a lower glycemic index than many other fruits.
Here are two of my favourite fruit protein smoothie blends:
Strawberry smoothie (or bowl) (1 serving)
In a high-power blender add:
- Frozen strawberries (about 1 cup)
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- About ½- ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
- About ¼- ½ of an avocado
- 2 heaping tbsp hemp hearts
To make this into a frozen smoothie bowl:
Add 1/3-1/2 of a frozen banana and reduce the amount of almond milk. If the mixture is too thick for the blender, using a wooden or silicone spoon to push down the edges of your smoothie. Continue to blend and repeat if necessary. The goal is a thick, ice-cream-like consistency.
Chocolate-banana milkshake (1 serving)
In a high-powered blender, add:
- ¼- ⅓ cup coconut milk
- About ⅓ cup almond milk (I usually just eye-ball this one)
- ½ banana
- 1 scoop chocolate whey isolate protein powder
- 4 ice cubes
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts (optional)
Blend on high for about 30 seconds or until smooth.
These are just a few basic recipes to get you started. The wonderful thing about smoothies is that you don’t have to use exact measurements each time. You can also play around with flavours. Add a tablespoon or two of nut or seed butter; use avocado or don’t. But with smoothies this rich and sweet, there’s no need for additional sweeteners. Do your best not to add extra honey, agave or maple syrup, and opt for unsweetened nut milks.
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