A few weeks ago I wrote the ultimate guide on choosing the best protein powder to suit your different requirements and goals.
It’s no secret that I am a big advocate of incorporating protein into my diet every day, which is why I’m continuing my protein series this week with Part 2 - the secret to making my ultimate protein smoothie. Protein has supported my own health journey over the last few years, especially when dealing with my own chronic digestive issues. This was ultimately the driving force in designing my own range of protein that specifically targets those with digestive issues.
Protein is important in maintaining healthy skin and digestive health. It also helps support pregnancy, a strong immune system, enhanced sports performance, sports recovery as well as sustained weight loss.
A smoothie that includes protein means you’ll feel fuller for longer, and you’re less likely to give in to your cravings because of its satiating effect. If you were to simply blend up fruits, vegetables and milk, you’d be leaning towards a carbohydrate heavy smoothie, which can elevate your insulin and blood sugar levels, making you feel hungry well before lunchtime.
THE SECRET FOR THE ULTIMATE SMOOTHIE
The secret to blending the perfect protein smoothie is to have the right balance of macronutrients – that is, your protein, healthy fats and carbs – to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs for optimum health + wellbeing, as well as keeping you fuller for longer. It’s also essential to include either water or dairy free milk – I Iove including homemade almond or macadamia milk – to help blend all the ingredients together.
The secret to blending the perfect protein smoothie is to have the right balance of macronutrients – that is, your protein, healthy fats and carbs – to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
TO SHAKE OR TO BLEND?
Shaking your smoothie with ice, along with water or nut milk, is the quickest and most convenient way to enjoy your protein supplement. For me, it's great as an afternoon or mid-morning snack. When traveling or busy with work, I make it portable and keep my protein powder in a shaker bottle to have on my desk or in my suitcase when traveling. I usually blend my smoothies in a high-quality blender, like a Vitamix, if I'm wanting something more substantial.
THE PERFECT BLEND
My perfect smoothie works as a healthy meal replacement. This is because it contains the right amounts of macronutrients my body needs to keep me energised and satisfied. Below are the essential ingredients I include in my protein-packed smoothies or smoothie bowls.
PROTEIN: All my protein smoothies use either wholefood protein ingredients such as nuts, seeds and their mylks, or my Healthy Chef protein. I love to add a spoon of tahini as it provides an added hit of calcium that tastes purely delicious. For a truly satisfying protein-packed smoothie, I love to blend 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons of Healthy Chef protein , a cup of almond milk or water and a spoon of tahini. It's important to ensure you use a quality, clean protein powder that's not filled with fillers or ingredients that may disrupt your digestion. Our range of protein is specifically designed to help support perfect digestive health.
Our range is also low in fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPS) and can be enjoyed by everyone including those with gastrointestinal issues and lactose intolerance. This means you won’t get that bloated feeling you can get from other protein powders that contain casein, milk solids, added sugar and fillers.
HEALTHY FATS: Fat has a vast range of functions in the body. It is a compact source of energy, a vital component of cell membranes needed to synthesise hormones and transport essential vitamins around the body. Healthy fats are also warm and nourishing, protecting vital organs, helping nutrients absorption and keeping you satisfied.
As well as nuts, seeds and tahini, other sources of fats that make a perfect smoothie include avocados, coconut milk and cold-pressed coconut oil. Adding some form of healthy fats into your smoothie will provide a smooth, creamy and delicious taste every time. Just make sure your portions are just right – one tablespoon of nut butter or small handful of nuts is enough, as well as 1/4 of an avocado.
As well as nuts, seeds and tahini, other sources of fats that make a perfect smoothie include avocados, coconut milk and cold-pressed coconut oil.
HEALTHY CARBS: A perfect smoothie is not the same without greens or some fruit for fibre and great taste. The fibre in fruits and veggies helps to promote gut function and peristalsis. A diet high in fibre has also been shown to help regulate blood sugars, reduce cholesterol and promote satiety. Along with protein, this is great for maintaining your energy levels and a healthy weight. I love a handful of strawberries in my smoothies as they are low in calories and high in antioxidants. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that adding strawberries to your meals slowed the insulin responses by delaying the absorption of sugars in the digestive tract. Insulin is an anabolic hormone that increases storage of fat, protein and glucose. It’s main effect in regard to fat is to block lipolysis (oxidation of fat).
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that eating at least 5 serves of greens a day is ideal and an effective strategy in the prevention and treatment of obesity and chronic disease.
Fresh fruit is a great way to naturally sweeten your smoothies. Fruit consumed whole gives us nutrients, phytochemicals as well as soluble and insoluble fibre, which is great for your digestive system. The soluble fibre is known as pectin and this beauty has the power to decrease the appetite for up to 4 hours, making it a terrific natural appetite suppressant.
My favourite leafy greens for adding into smoothies are cos lettuce and baby spinach as they are rich in folate and vitamin A that keeps my skin healthy and glowing.
LIQUID: Around a cup of liquid is enough to get your smoothie blending perfectly. Water is my ultimate choice, particularly if I need something light. I also love coconut water or a homemade nut or seed milk, or a mix of both. For probiotic and gut health benefits you can add a dollop of cultured yoghurt or even 1/4 cup of whey from your next batch of homemade labna. The less liquid you use, the thicker your smoothie will be. If you're making a smoothie bowl, you would need less water or milk than a smoothie.
Adding extra boosters such as a spoonful of chia seeds for omega 3s or antioxidant rich superfoods such as Organic Superfood or Matcha is one of my favourite things to do for a nutrient rich breakfast. Organic Superfood is rich in prebiotics. Prebiotics refer to natural soluble fibres that feed the good bacteria in our large intestine, helping to promote balanced gut flora and healthy bowel function. Half a spoonful of Organic Matcha energises my body and supports my stress levels which helps for my quite highly strung nature!
ANTIOXIDANT RICH SMOOTHIE BOWL
Here is one of my favourite smoothies that incorporates the right balance of macronutrients, protein and goodness. This smoothie bowl is bursting with antioxidants and powerful super foods. It has a stabilising effect on blood sugar and promotes feelings of wellbeing. Rich in minerals including magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and essential micronutrients for health, energy and vitality.
125 g (1 cup) frozen berries (I love blueberries and blackberries)
1/2 banana, peeled and chopped
handful baby cos leaves
1 tablespoon Organic Superfood
2 tablespoons Healthy Chef Pure Native WPI or organic Pea Protein
250 ml almond milk, rice milk, water or milk of your choice
1 teaspoon almond butter or a spoonful of tahini
Extra berries to garnish
Combine all the ingredients into a high speed blender like a Vitamix.
Blend until smooth and creamy.
Pour into 1 – 2 serving bowls.
Top with extra berries and eat your smoothie with a spoon.
Serve immediately and enjoy.
Notes: Add 1/4 teaspoon organic matcha green tea for antioxidants and a metabolism boost.