At the start of the year, the Hubs and I pledged to eat fewer simple starches (i.e. flour, potatoes, sugar) just to kick start the annual post-holidays diet clean-up. That lasted about 10 days, and really, we didn’t intend to do it forever (I like potatoes and pasta too much).
But one thing that did stick was smoothies for breakfast. Before, I was baking something on Sunday evening for breakfast all week. Things like quick bread, scones or muffins that are easy to grab as your running out the door with a cup of coffee. I was never on the smoothie kick. They seemed too fussy. And I was convinced I’d be hungry in an hour after I had one.
Well, I can tell you that I was proven wrong on both counts. These couldn’t be much easier (actually, if someone would just wash my blender every day, that would be awesome). They are pretty quick to make if you have all your ingredients handy. And I really don’t get hungry all morning. The key to that is making sure there’s plenty of protein in them. That’s where I had the hardest time finding recipes. I wanted smoothie recipes that didn’t require me to buy a lot of produce out of season. A lot of the recipes I found called for spinach or greens, green apples, or something that I didn’t have in the freezer or isn’t available in the winter except from the grocery store. I didn’t want to be spending a lot of money on produce that comes from the southern hemisphere in January.
I just tweaked a few recipes I found on Pinterest and made up my own creation. Actually, two creations. I hope you’ll find these as easy to incorporate into your breakfast rotation as I have.
PB&J Smoothie (makes 2 servings)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 Tb ground flax seeds
- 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
- 1/3 cup low fat cottage cheese
- 1 Tb natural peanut butter
- 1 cup frozen blueberries
- a little water to thin it out after you blend it (maybe 1/4 cup)
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for a few minutes. I add them in this order. I think it makes it less likely to cake up around the bottom and on the sides. If it is the consistency of pudding (mine usually is) add a little bit of water and blend again until it’s the consistency of a thick milkshake. You should be able to pour it out of the blender. Also, after adding water and blending, you should have about 32 ounces. Divide between two glasses and drink immediately.
Nutrition Info (according to my Lose It! app): Fat 14.3 g (37%); Carbohydrates 27.6 g (including 17.8 g of sugars and 3.3 g of fiber) (31%); Protein 28.4 g (32%)
I don’t know the brand of protein powder I use. I hate to admit this, but it expired in 2010. We’ve been eating it for three months and haven’t died yet, so I’m gonna finish it up. I guess that’s the pitfall of buying a gallon-sized container of it. About 12 years ago, I used to follow the Body for Life diet, which was easy and successful. But, there’s no full-fat dairy on it. Or bacon. Or hardly any beef. I abandoned it when I switched to a whole foods natural diet, which I can whole-heartedly endorse. One of the holdovers from that diet were the two huge containers of protein powder that had been overlooked in the little-used cabinet over my fridge since who knows when. So, I’m getting my money’s worth out of them instead of throwing them out. I would not recommend this. Actually, this is the kind of protein power I’m going to buy once I use up all I have leftover.
The flax seed bumps up the protein in these smoothies. You can find it in the natural foods section at the grocery store. So does the cottage cheese. In case you’re wondering, you can’t taste it at all, and if you blend this up well, you don’t even see the curds at all. You could swap in greek yogurt if you don’t want to use cottage cheese.
I had a couple one-gallon bags of frozen blueberries that I picked from my mom’s blueberry bushes last summer, so using them in smoothies was a no-brainer. You could also sub blackberries in this recipe, if you don’t mind the seeds. Although, I’m not sure you’d notice the seeds much since the ground flax seed in these is a little grainy. The texture doesn’t bother me, though.
Banana Mocha Smoothie (makes 2 servings)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 Tb ground flax seeds
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 2/3 cup plain 0% fat greek yogurt
- 1 medium or large banana sliced
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder (you can sub 1 Tb instant coffee)
- a few ice cubes (if your banana is fresh. You can also freeze the banana slices and omit the ice)
Place all the ingredients in the blender in this order. Blend for a few minutes until the mixture is smooth. Pour into two glasses and serve immediately.
Nutrition Info (according to my Lose It! app): Fat 8.3 g (26%); Carbohydrates 27.7 g (including 17.7 g of sugars and 2.3 g of fiber) (38%); Protein 25.9 g (36%)
While these smoothies aren’t “low carb”, they are very high in protein, which makes them a little better than eating something like muffins or scones that wouldn’t have very much protein in them. Eating protein along with carbs helps us digest carbs more slowly, stabilizing blood sugar spikes and the production of glucose, allowing the body to use the food more efficiently. What this all really means is eating protein with carbs means you won’t be hungry as quickly, and the food will be less likely stored as fat. (Here’s my source for that.) That’s a win-win in my book.