One thing that I love about making smoothies is that you don’t have to follow an exact recipe to make something tasty! A little of this, a little of that, whatever fruits, veggies and fillings you have on hand. Blend it up and voila! A delicious, filling breakfast served up quick. I’m going to give you a few smoothie “recipe” ideas with healthier ingredients like avocado and nut butter that can be blended together with frozen fruit and greens for a high-protein but low-carb smoothie.
Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast That Are Quick and Filling
Smoothies are one of the top protein packed breakfasts, but only if you choose the right balance of ingredients. Before you start smoothie making, you’ll want to be sure you have the proper tools. Items like measuring cups and a food scale keep portions in check so you aren’t overdoing it on sizing.
And of course a high-powered blender is a must-have. I personally use the Ninja. It has pre-set buttons so I can push and the blender does the rest of the work. The blender has a pulse regimen that ensures everything is properly blended and all ice chunks are gone. And all the pieces are dishwasher safe so it’s ready and clean the next morning!
Liquid Base for Smoothies
Start off with a liquid base to create your smoothie. You’re aiming for low in calories, sugar and fat. High in protein is a plus. I pour the liquid into the blender first so I can measure the amount (between 3/4 to 1 cup of liquid). I often use 2% cow’s milk because we have it on hand for the kids. Almond, cashew, coconut and soy can be good alternatives if regular milk doesn’t agree with you. Between these, soy milk has the highest protein (8 grams in one cup) while the others have next to nothing.
- Approximate Nutrition Facts per 1 cup (there may be variance between brands):
- Whole cow’s milk – 146 calories, 8 grams protein, 11 grams carbs, 13 grams fat
- 2% cow’s milk – 122 calories, 8 grams protein, 12 grams carbs, 5 grams fat
- Fat-free cow’s milk – 90 calories, 9 grams protein, 13 grams carbs, 0 fat
- Soy Milk – 90 calories, 8 grams protein, 9 grams carbs, 3.5 grams fat
- Almond Milk (unsweetened) – 30 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbs, 2.5 grams fat
- Cashew Milk – 25 calories, 0 protein, 1 gram carbs, 0 fat
- Coconut Milk – 552 calories, 5 grams protein, 13 grams carbs, 57 grams fat
Non-Milk Liquids for Smoothies
If you’re looking for zero calorie liquids, consider water or black coffee. You won’t gain any protein this way however. Juice can be very high in sugar but if you’re making it fresh squeezed you can mix it with water to equal the portion size. Don’t be afraid to mix and match your liquids (for instance, half milk and half coffee).
- Cold, leftover Coffee
- Fresh Squeezed Juice
Adding a scoop of protein powder is a great way to boost the protein in your smoothie recipes for breakfast. The protein can come from pea, brown rice, hemp, chia seeds and more. I use Orgain Organic Plant Based Protein which is vegan, vanilla flavored, low in sugar and has a whopping 21 grams of protein. Read the labels to make sure you aren’t taking in added sugar or calories at the sacrifice of extra protein.
Kale and Spinach Greens
I was never really sold on the green smoothies before because they always tasted leafy and bitter. But after lots of trial and error, I’ve found what works best with these iron-rich greens. The secret? Adding fruit that counteracts the bitterness. I’ve found that frozen pineapple chunks are perfectly paired with kale and spinach. We even freeze the greens! Just add a handful of frozen greens straight from the freezer to the blender before they defrost.
Yes, even fruit has carbohydrates and plenty of natural sugars too. Good for adding a bit of sweetness to your smoothie but you need to take it easy when adding fruit to your smoothies. Berries are your best low-carb bet for smoothie making but there are other lower carb fruits you can choose as well. I always use frozen fruit as they make my smoothie creamier and ice cold, which I love! Bananas are higher in carbs but consider using half of a ripe, frozen banana to add creaminess and natural sweetness. Consider making these grab and go low-carb muffins!
- Pineapple chunks
Nut Butters or Nut Powders
Nut butters are another great way to add protein, creaminess and flavor to your smoothie recipes for breakfast. As before, check labels to make sure you aren’t taking in added sugar. Natural nut butters that only contain nuts, oil and salt will give you the “healthy” fat you need, when used in moderation (don’t go adding a cup of p.b. to your blender!) I personally prefer using a nut powder when making my smoothies. The powders are much lower in calories and fat, but still give the great nut flavor to your smoothie.
- Peanut Butter, like PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
- Cashew Butter
- Sunflower Butter
- Nut Powder
Additional Smoothie Add-Ins
Smoothies are a quick and healthy breakfast, if you have everything prepped and ready to go in the morning. One of the great ways to make a smoothie recipe for breakfast your own creation is to add a little bit here and there of what you like. But before you toss whatever-you-wish into the blender, be sure to check labels. You certainly don’t want to be adding in extra sugar or un-healthy fats. And you don’t want to be drinking a smoothie that’s 500 calories either! Stick to portion sizes or much less, adding a small amount at a time until you have the flavor and consistency you want.
- Greek Yogurt will add a creamy texture and tangy taste to your smoothie.
- Honey is a nice natural sweetener; a little drizzle should be enough.
- Cooked Carrots can add a little sweetness and go nicely with ginger and/or cinnamon.
- Avocado is the ultimate in “healthy fats” and can make for a rich and creamy smoothie.
- Unsweetened shredded coconut pairs nicely with tropical fruits like mango or pineapple.
- Coconut Oil (about 1/2 Tbsp melted) drizzled in while the blender is running, can add healthy fat. It is still however, fat, so use sparingly.
- Dark chocolate. Melt a square of dark chocolate in the microwave then add to smoothies for a rich chocolate taste.
- Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric can add a flavor punch to your smoothie!
- Seeds & Grains like Chia seeds, Flax seeds and Oatmeal add bulk and fiber.
Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast
Who has time for measuring cups and teaspoons on a busy morning?! Just add in a few of your favorites from this list to create healthier-for-you delicious smoothies. Use the measurement markers on the side of the blender. These are my tested “recipes” for making smoothies at home.
Juice of one orange and milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, frozen pineapple chunks, half of a frozen banana, unsweetened shredded coconut and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
Chocolate Nut Butter
Melt dark chocolate square and add milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, half of a frozen banana and either one small spoonful of nut butter or powder and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
Almond milk or your milk of choice, to equal one cup measurement. Add in vanilla-flavored protein powder, half of a frozen banana, 10 almonds, sprinkle of unsweetened shredded coconut and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice. Top with additional coconut (this one is my favorite!!)
Blueberry & Oats
Milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in handful of frozen blueberries, protein powders, handful of dry oats and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice. Sprinkle with dry oats on the top.
More Delicious Smoothie Recipes
Juice of one orange and water to equal one cup measurement. Add in handful of greens (either fresh or frozen), frozen pineapple chunks and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
Combine half cold coffee with half milk with chocolate protein powder. Add in a half a banana and a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/2 cup of crushed ice. Top with a shake of ground cinnamon for added spice.
Milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder, cooked carrots (about 1/2 cup), half of a frozen banana, about 10 walnut halves and a dash each of ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon. If you’re feeling sassy, grate the ginger fresh instead of using powdered spice!
Which of these smoothies would YOU like to try first?
This article originally published on Aug 15, 2018 and has been updated and republished.