Breakfast has always been very important to me. I cannot live without breakfast. If I have not eaten within a certain amount of time after waking up, I become a different, not extremely nice, person.
In fact, the very first argument my husband and I had, about 2 days into our marriage, lol, was over the question of whether we would stop for breakfast before driving into the Badlands – which is 300 miles (or some very large number like that) of foodless desert somewhere in South Dakota… Well, it was foodless at the time, anyway. Maybe after 25 years they’ve finally added sustenance to the landscape… Anyway, he was all ready to cruise right in there without having eaten anything that morning, and I, um, was not.
I’ve always liked the idea of having a smoothie for breakfast but have never been able to pull it off until recently. SO MANY smoothie recipes include A LOT OF FRUIT. And that might be fine for many people; but for me, that much sweetness first thing in the morning would not be a good idea. Just because it’s fruit does not make it not act like sugar, people. If I imbibed one of those fruity smoothies, I would be in orbit and then crashing before you could say “Good morning, Sunshine.”
So when I came across J.J. Virgin’s idea of a breakfast shake (see The Sugar Impact Diet, by J.J. Virgin), I was pleasantly surprised. Her goal for breakfast is that it should be loaded with protein – like around 20+ grams worth. That way it will give you energy AND keep you satiated until lunch. Fruit should be minimal, if at all. Fruit gets digested very quickly, which means you get hungry and/or your energy crashes by mid-morning… ain’t nobody got time for that.
For a high protein breakfast recipe that the kids will like, try my Cinnamon Protein Pancakes. They can also be gluten and dairy free, and they fry up really fluffy. My kids ask for them often — and I like them, too!
I must say this shake has been GREAT for me. I made up my own concoction based on J.J.’s recommendations, because I am all about ingredients that are relatively cheap and easily available. After all, this blog is about making things simpler, because that is what I do in life. That means ingredients that I can pronounce and can find (for the most part) at the local store.
My Recipe for a High Protein Breakfast Smoothie
Put all together in blender:
8 oz or so almond milk — I like unsweetened vanilla.
2 scoops chocolate Orgain protein powder – I like this brand because it’s not too expensive (I mean, let’s face it, all protein powder is expensive; but this one seems more reasonable than others) and has no dairy or gluten, which are my two main dietary restrictions. Also, it has only 5g of sugar per a serving of 2 scoops, which provides 22g of protein. If you choose to use a different brand, measure out whatever amount that you need to get you in the 20g ballpark. Be aware, though, that using Orgain is what makes my recipe gluten- and dairy-free and low sugar. If you are using a different protein powder, it may have gluten or dairy or lotsa sugar… just sayin’…
3-5 frozen strawberries, depending on the size of the berries — not too many, just enough for a little flavor. (Don’t thaw them; use them frozen. If all you have are fresh, that would probably be fine, too; but the frozen ones help with the thickness of the smoothie, I think.)
Optional: ½ banana – I am NOT a banana lover… ugh… and this is as much as I can put in and handle the taste, which is slight. I don’t do it often, but if you like them, more power to you.
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal – for the good fat and more protein
1 Tbsp almond butter – ditto, and also for flavor (If I don’t have almond butter I will use 1 Tbsp coconut oil)
One-fourth to one-third of a 10 oz package of frozen chopped spinach OR a few handfuls of fresh spinach or kale — The frozen is definitely cheaper but can sometimes be hard to find. I think it’s a seasonal item anymore… The fresh I can get organic, which is obviously better… so basically I use whatever I have at that moment. If I’m using frozen, I do thaw it enough to slice off a portion with a knife, then store the rest in the fridge for the next few days. If I’m using fresh, I add enough to fill up to the top of the blender.
Then frappé it all up! This should make enough to fill a 12 oz glass or so. I eat mine with a spoon… mmm… It tastes like yummy chocolate-strawberry.
Plus, it keeps me satisfied all morning. I don’t die from starvation and go into must-have-food-now mode at 10am anymore.
And now that I’m in the routine of making it, it is really easy to throw together, even when I’m still half asleep. And did I mention that The Man likes it, too? This is always a good thing! :-)
If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear what you think!