There’s nothing like a smoothie to start the day, providing the fuel your body needs to get going and keep going until lunchtime. We’ve written before with some tips for the perfect smoothie, as well as recipes for somewhat light and refreshing smoothies without protein powder. But what if you want to bulk things up a bit, to make your smoothie more filling and contain a balanced set of macronutrients and vitamins that could be considered a meal in itself?
Smoothies are portable and pretty easy to make. And the nice thing about them is that you are in total control of what goes inside, making you free to emphasize protein, or carbs, or raspberries, or bananas—whatever flavor or macro you feel like focussing on. Many times after a workout you probably find yourself in need of a smoothie that’s as filling and satisfying as a meal, or at least a solid snack that will tide you over for an afternoon of work or an evening of playing with your kids.
To bulk up a smoothie and make it meal-grade, there are several things you can do. Want a dose of protein? Consider adding a scoop of protein powder or a handful of chia seeds to the mix. To give it a bit of bulk without the extra calories, you can add chunks of ice, which will give it a thick, frosty texture that is very refreshing post-workout. Another tip would be to use yogurt, if you don’t already. Greek yogurt is a good option because it’s packed with protein and is usually thicker than other types. Remember that if you want to feel full after downing your smoothie, consider adding foods with healthy fats such as nuts, nut butters or avocado, as fats make us feel fuller longer.
Here’s one of my favorite smoothie recipes that will fill you up and provide some protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, as well as vitamins and minerals. Think of it as a recipe for energy.
Cuban Pineapple, Banana, and Rice Protein Smoothie (no sugar added)
- 2 very ripe, almost spotty bananas
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup milk or dairy-free milk of your choice
- 2 tablespoons brown rice protein powder (use plain or vanilla)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup pineapple chunks
- Pinch of salt
- Sprinkle of chia to garnish
- Peel and cut the bananas in small chunks. Place chunks in a pot along with the cinnamon, cardamom and water. Heat and cook down the bananas for about 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove banana puree from the freezer and dump it in your blender along with the milk, brown rice protein and vanilla and blend on high speed until smooth. Place banana shake in a jug or bowl in the freezer and rinse your blender.
- Blend pineapple with a pinch of salt on high speed until puréed.
- Bring the super cold banana shake out of the freezer, grab a tall glass and pour layers of banana shake and pineapple purée alternating them. Top with chia seeds and additional pineapple.
What’s your favorite smoothie meal? Let us know in the comments!