How to make a protein smoothie: 5 essentials steps
1. Choose your liquid
You’re going to want to add about 240ml – 400ml of liquid to make your protein smoothie.
Filtered water is a cost-effective choice and, if you choose the right ingredients, your smoothie is going to be tasty enough not to add anything more substantial.
If you want to give your smoothie a little extra, my personal favourites are coconut milk (from the chiller, not the creamy stuff in a tin) or unsweetened oat or almond milks.
Of course, there’s no reason why you couldn’t choose semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, unless you are vegan or dairy intolerant.
More experienced smoothie makers might chance their arm with green tea or a herb tea.
The only no-no is fruit juice. Let the real fruit do the talking.
Whatever you choose, the liquid goes into the blender first so it can surround the blade and enable all the ingredients to mix more thoroughly.
Love smoothies? Also check out this Detox diet plan with smoothies
2. Pick your protein powder
Protein powder is going to cover all your breakfast, snack or post-workout nutrition requirements right there in one scoop.
Whey protein is the undisputed king of protein powders because it’s easily and quickly digested. There is a pecking order when it comes to whey (whey concentrate, the next best is whey isolate, followed by top dog hydrolysed whey, since you ask). However, unless you’re seriously into your training, the concentrate will be fine.
Sure, there are other options if you’d prefer, including hemp and rice protein, but whey gets my vote.
What about flavour? Plain or vanilla go with most things. If you get into your smoothies, you might want to try some other flavours – chocolate, coffee, strawberry, and so on. Do check the ingredients list before you buy. Some protein powders contain artificial sweeteners.
3.Bring in fibre
Here’s where you add your fruit and/or veg. The balance of what you’ll add depends on your taste but also on what you want to achieve with your protein smoothie.
Green smoothies are the choice du jour. Spinach is the perfect starter green, but kelp, watercress and pea shoots are worth working up to.
Fruit takes the edge off bitter greens. Using frozen fruit will slash the cost of your protein smoothie, and the fruit is perfectly nutritionally preserved. Berries are the perfect choice to buy frozen as the season is quite short and they can be pricey.
Frozen fruit means you’ll need less ice to chill and thicken your smoothie.
Using fresh fruit not frozen? Add 5-10 cubes to help thicken the smoothie.
Juicy fruits like melon, pineapple, mango, and so on, also mean you’ll need to add less liquid.
Bananas are a mainstay. They add great sweetness, they go with practically anything else you might want to throw in, and add a lovely thickness to your protein smoothie.
4. Add some good fat
Your body will love you for adding some good fats. They are, after all, the buildings blocks of hormones. Chia seeds and flaxseeds pack a punch for their omega 3 content. Check out coconut oil for its lauric acid content, which has anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. 1tsp should do the job nicely.
5. Customise your smoothie
Now’s the time to customise your protein smoothie.
For energy, consider chlorella or spirulina. They’ll turn your smoothie a rather unappetising dark green, but they’re brilliant sources of pretty much every vitamin and mineral, plus they’re packed with protein.
Oats are great as a breakfast addition. They’re prebiotic (especially when soaked first), making them great ‘happy tummy foods’. They may also help lower cholesterol and can make your smoothies seem more like a meal.
Women should check out the South American root macca. It has a caramel-like flavour and is a well-researched hormone balancer.
Take care not to overfill the blender or you won’t get the ingredients circulating. Enjoy as a meal replacement, a snack or 15-20 minutes after the end of a workout when your muscles most need the protein.