Most mornings of the week my Vitamix is busy blending up a delicious smoothie for breakfast. I am diligent about quality ingredients… right down to the protein I put in the mixing container. Now, while smoothies make a great breakfast option, they must have enough protein in them to not have your blood sugar skyrocket. Protein will help you feel full longer, will stabilize your blood sugar and will help build muscle.
Not everyone likes protein powder as a source for adding protein, and there are A LOT of not-so-healthy protein powders out there, some with too many processed chemical ingredients and many that taste like chalk. So what’s a smoothie-loving, breakfast drinker supposed to do if they want to power up their morning blend with healthy protein, but don’t want to get there with a scoop of powder?
My recommendation for a healthy adult is to start your day off with a breakfast that includes a minimum of 18 grams of protein. A smoothie is a delicious, easy way to meet that requirement. Even without using a protein powder.
Here are some protein options that can be added to your morning mix:
· Whole-milk, Greek yogurt. My favorite brand is Wallaby Organic and one cup contains 19 grams of protein. I use vanilla for a little sweetness.
· Kefir – about 6 grams of protein per cup, but with the added benefit of live active cultures (good for gut health!)
· Hemp seeds. Just 2 tablespoons contain 10 grams of protein
· Pumpkin seeds. ¼ cup = 5 grams
· Cashews. ¼ cup = 7 grams
· Almonds. ¼ cup = 4 grams
· Chia seeds. 2 tbsp = 4 grams
Let’s not forget about the protein that comes from other smoothie ingredients:
· Banana, 1 medium = 1.5 grams
· Blueberries, 1 cup = 1.1 grams
· Avocado, 1 = 2.6 grams
· Kale, 1 cup = 2 grams
· Spinach, 1 ½ cups = 1.5 grams
· Almond milk, 1 cup = 1 gram
If you add up everything that goes into the blender, you’ll find that it’s pretty easy to get to 18 grams of protein.
Start blending your way to a healthy start to your day! What’s your protein smoothie combination going to be?
(resources: www.whfoods.com, www.webmd.com,www.ndb.nal.usda.gov)