These easy smoothie recipes are a healthy breakfast option that doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming. Find out the best smoothie recipes for breakfast that are high in protein and low in carbs, for the perfect start to your busy mornings!
I received compensation from Bayer Consumer Health, makers of MiraLAX® to write this post. MiraLAX® is a laxative used to treat occasional constipation. All opinions are entirely my own. #ReliefMadeEasy #CollectiveBias
This article originally published on Aug 15, 2018 and has been updated and republished.
Healthy Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast
One thing that I love about making simple breakfast 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, you have 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. These can be blended together with frozen fruit and greens for a high-protein but low-carb smoothie. Whether you love fruity smoothies or green smoothie recipes, the tips in this article will get you on a healthy start!
Must-Have Essentials for Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast
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. This section explains what kitchen essentials to have for smoothie prep.
Blender – A high powered blender is a must-have. I personally use the Vitamix. Just a few knobs to turn and the blender does the rest of the work. A good quality blender can be an investment that’s well worth the cost!
The blender has a pulse regimen that ensures everything is properly blended and all ice chunks are gone. All the pieces are dishwasher safe so it’s ready and clean the next morning.
More Smoothie Making Tools
Ice Trays – If your fridge doesn’t have an ice machine feature, you’ll need to make ample ice cubes. A silicone ice tray is convenient and easy to use and freeze.
Juicer – For small doses of fruit juice, when making smoothies, try a hand juicer. I personally use the Prepara Glass Citrus Juicer, which gets every drop of liquid from ripe fruit.
Use an ice cube tray to freeze extra juice from lemons, limes, grapefruits, and oranges.
Freezer-Safe Containers – Bags of frozen fruit are a viable option when making a berry smoothie. A budget friendly way to save on the cost of fresh fruit is to prep and freeze ahead of time. Wash, dry, and freeze prepped fruit into freezer safe containers.
Popsicle Mold – Here’s a great idea for leftover smoothies! Save the excess by pouring the smoothie into a popsicle mold. Popsicles are an easy way to get kids to enjoy the health benefits of smoothies.
Choosing the Right Smoothie Ingredients
These healthy breakfast ideas find the best balance between carbohydrates, while still being high in protein. The best healthy smoothies are well-rounded when it comes to ingredients. Budget and taste are personal choices that may sway your decision.
Here are some tips on how to build a morning smoothie: Choose the base first, then a combination of fruits and veggies. Finish off with the add-ins.
When aiming for high protein, choose all higher protein ingredients. For instance, low-fat cow’s milk, protein powder, nut butter, and Greek yogurt will offer a huge protein boost.
If using fruit in a healthy smoothie, consider adding protein and vegetables to keep blood sugar lower. Don’t mix fruit with fruit juice, as this will result in a smoothie that’s too high in sugar. Mix fruits with a high protein base and veggies to create a low carb option.
Liquid Base for Smoothies
The best smoothies start off with a liquid base. Pour the liquid into the blender first to measure the amount (usually between 8-12 oz of liquid).
When aiming for low in calories, sugar and fat, look to plant-based milk options, like almond, cashew, coconut and soy. These can be good alternatives if regular milk doesn’t agree with you. Comparing plant based milks in the list below, soy milk has the highest protein (8 grams in one cup). 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
- Coconut Milk – 552 calories, 5 grams protein, 13 grams carbs, 57 grams fat
- Almond Milk (unsweetened) – 30 calories, 1 gram protein, 1 gram carbs, 2.5 grams fat
- Oat Milk (unsweetened) – 50 calories, 1 grams protein, 5 grams carbs, 3 grams fat
- Cashew Milk – 25 calories, 0 protein, 1 gram carbs, 0 fat
Non-Milk Liquids for Smoothies
- Cold, leftover coffee
- Fresh Squeezed Juice, including orange juice, lemon juice, grapefruit juice
- Canned juice, including pineapple juice
- Coconut water
No Calorie Liquid – Sipping smoothie recipes for breakfast as a means of weight loss? If you’re looking for zero calorie liquids, consider water or black coffee. You won’t gain any protein this way, however.
Juice – Juice can be very high in natural and added sugar. If you’re making your juice from fresh squeezed, mix it with water to equal the portion size.
Mix Liquids – Consider mixing your liquids for added variety. For instance, try half milk and half cold coffee.
Breakfast Smoothie Protein Powder
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.
The Trick to Adding Kale and Spinach Greens to Smoothies
Kale and spinach leaves are a perfect way to get essential vitamins, without much effort! I was never really sold on the green smoothies before because they always tasted leafy and bitter.
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. Just add in a handful of spinach or kale with the liquid, your favorite fruit, and protein powder.
We even freeze the greens! Just add a handful of frozen greens straight from the freezer to the blender before they defrost. This is an ideal way to save greens before they turn bad. Place them into a zip-close freezer bag before freezing.
Fresh and Frozen Fruit Smoothies
Fruit is good for adding a bit of sweetness but you need to take it easy when adding fruit to your smoothies. Fruit has carbohydrates and plenty of natural sugars too. So, which fruits offer the best dietary results?
Berries are your best low-carb bet for smoothie making, but there are other lower carb fruits you can choose as well.
Bananas are higher in carbs, so consider using just half of a frozen, ripe banana. This can add creaminess and natural sweetness. Aim to freeze a fresh banana before it becomes overripe, when the starch begins to turn to sugar.
More low carb fruit ideas:
- Pineapple chunks
Adding Nut Butters and Nut Powders to Smoothies
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 peanut butter 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
Breakfast 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.
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.
Smoothie Add-In Ideas
Yogurt – Plain Greek Yogurt will add a creamy texture and tangy taste to your smoothie. Look for yogurts without added sugar.
Healthy Fat – Avocado is the ultimate in “healthy fats” and can make for a rich and creamy smoothie. Coconut Oil (about 1/2 Tbsp melted) drizzled in while the blender is running, can add healthy fat.
Vegetables – Cooked Carrots can add a little sweetness and go nicely with ginger and/or cinnamon. Frozen cauliflower rice adds thickness and texture, along with a healthy dose of veggies.
Fruit Combinations – Unsweetened shredded coconut pairs nicely with tropical fruits like pineapple or mango chunks.
Spices – Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and turmeric can add a flavor punch to your smoothie!
Seeds & Grains – Chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and oatmeal add bulk and dietary fiber. Consider blending into a fine powder before adding to smoothies.
Dark chocolate – Melt a square of dark chocolate in the microwave then add to smoothies for a rich chocolate taste. Another option is a teaspoon of unsweetened dark cocoa powder.
Natural Sweetness – Honey and maple syrup are natural sweeteners. A little drizzle should be enough.
Smoothie Recipes for Breakfast
Just add in a few of your favorite ingredients to create a healthy breakfast smoothie recipe. Don’t have time for measuring cups and teaspoons on a busy morning? Use the measurement markers on the side of the blender.
These are my favorite healthy recipes for making breakfast smoothies at home.
Tropical Fruit and Citrus
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 cubes. Like a pina colada, without the beach!
Chocolate Nut Butter Banana Smoothie
Add milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in protein powder and one teaspoon of unsweetened dark chocolate cocoa powder. Blend in half of a frozen banana and either one small spoonful of nut butter or powder and about 1/2 cup of crushed ice.
Almond Joy Smoothie
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 is one of my favorite healthy recipes!
Blueberry & Oat Breakfast Smoothie
Milk of your choice to equal one cup measurement. Add in handful of frozen blueberries, protein powder, handful of raw 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 to equal one cup measurement. Add in chocolate protein powder, half a banana, 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!
Additional Breakfast Ideas for the Family
- For Kids – Ideal for the entire family, these Kids Comfort Food Recipes are kid-friendly and delicious.
- Quick Bread – This Lemon Blueberry Bread is a sweet treat for breakfast or dessert.
- Stovetop Breakfast – Perfect for lazy weekend mornings, these Fluffy Pancakes are a family favorite.
- Grab and Go – Make these low-carb muffins from fellow blogger Sugar Free Londoner.