What’s delicious and refreshing, takes one minute to make, has hidden veggies and brings all the boys to the yard?
Okay so technically, milkshakes bring the boys to the yard…but that’s neither here nor there.
I absolutely love smoothies for several reasons:
- They’re an extremely quick supplement to a meal or even a meal replacement. To make it a meal replacement, add oats and about 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter (to make the calories more appropriate).
- Having a smoothie in place of one meal/day is a great way to stay on track with your weight loss goals.
- You can throw whatever you have on hand into the smoothie.
- They are extremely nutritious, when made with the right ingredients.
In my mind, smoothies must include two main ingredients: fruit and dairy (milk or yogurt). However, there are ways to take your smoothie to the next level, nutrition-wise. Since smoothies tend to be either a post-workout snack or a part of my dinner, I always add protein powder. Some of my favorites include:
- Swanson Whey (Vanilla flavor – it’s more versatile): 90 calories and 20 grams of protein. That’s pretty unbeatable. Plus, I like this one because it is less sweet than other varieties. Also comes in a grass-fed version.
- Tera’s Whey (Plain or Vanilla – the Vanilla is pretty sweet so I like the Plain better): midwest-based (read: local), sustainable practices and fair animal treatment, no growth hormones, grass-fed (plain flavor) and just a nice high-quality, small batch product. 110 calories and 22 grams protein per serving.
- Designer Whey (French Vanilla flavor): made with Stevia (more natural sweetener) and contains 18 grams of protein per scoop (for 100 calories). Because of the Stevia, this one is a little sweet, which is good or bad depending on your taste. I think it’s nice for masking veggies and other more bitter ingredients.
Besides the protein powder, I like to sneak in a little kale, which is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and a good source of calcium and potassium. If you don’t have kale, spinach works well too.
**Tip: make a habit of keeping frozen fruit on hand. I use the frozen fruit in place of ice to keep things cold/frozen without diluting the flavor.
So, when you put the whole smoothie together, it looks something like this:
Fruit: about 1 cup total. I used a frozen mixed berry blend and about 1/3 of a frozen banana.
Kale: about 1/2 cup (make sure it’s rinsed)
Milk: about 1 cup
Protein Powder: 1 scoop
Other: splash of vanilla extract and sprinkle of cinnamon
Alternate smoothie ideas (you can add 1/2 cup of kale to any of these):
- Banana oatmeal: 1 frozen banana (add ice if using fresh banana), 1/4 cup oats, 1 cup milk, protein powder and cinnamon.
- Berry almond: 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup milk, protein powder, almond extract.
- Pumpkin: 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup milk, protein powder, sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice and ice.
- Banana mango: 1/2 banana, 1/2 cup frozen mango, 1 cup milk, protein powder.