How to make a smoothie that packs a punch

A couple weeks ago, Tamara of FitKnitChick did a really interesting post on why she’s cutting back on the number of smoothies she eats and recommends to her fitness clients. Her post made many valid points and I think it’s a good one for anyone who is a regular at the homemade smoothie bar. One point was that her post-workout smoothies don’t really fill her enough to stave off the hungries for long. This one was interesting to me, because mine do fill me up, and I’m going to help you all make sure that yours do, too, especially if you use them as a meal.

I have a smoothie for breakfast probably about three times per week. And as you know, I don’t snack between meals, so it’s important that my smoothies have some substance if they’re going to bridge a four- to five-hour gap between meals. One thing I must be upfront about is that I typically don’t have breakfast much before 8 a.m. I’ll get up to workout around 5, do my workout in a fasted state, and then get caught up on getting kids out the door, etc. before I get around to eating. I AM hungry by the time I eat, trust me!

So how do I make sure my smoothie is going to keep me satisfied all morning? I think one of the keys is the good fats that I use in it. I always start with a base of coconut milk–the light canned version from Trader Joe’s is my go-to. I also usually throw in some nuts–walnuts or almonds–for an additional dose of fats and protein. Then I usually use two types of vegetables. I vary the greens I use, from kale to chard to mustard greens. Sometimes I’ll add beets and other times broccoli.

As to fruit, I do use it in my smoothies as well, but try to keep the ratio higher on the vegetable side. I usually throw in some chia seeds (I’m a fitness blogger, right?), too, for all their health benefits, and finally, I add protein powder at the very end. My protein powder of choice is Whey Cool, which is not heat processed and therefore devoid of the MSG that is in most commercial protein powders (even when the label doesn’t read MSG).

So that’s the scoop. My smoothies aren’t polite little numbers. They’re pretty good sized, which I think also helps me stay full all morning. Like I said, I don’t do smoothies every day, for a variety of reasons, but when I do, I make sure they’re going to serve as a full breakfast.

How about you–does your smoothie keep you filled up all morning? Do you drink smoothies at other times of the day?

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  1. says

    I do have green smoothies often and they do keep me full but not my husband. He’s ravishing half an hour later. I use coconut water, greens, fruit and protein powder. Sometimes I add a little coconut flour to make it a little heartier and that definitely helps keep me full. I do think that there’s a big difference between making your own and controlling the ingredients and portions vs going to a juice/smoothie bar every day.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Yoga Teacher Training: Weekend 1My Profile

  2. MJ says

    I’ve only done a few smoothies, need to start doing them as nutrient-dense, calorie-heavy portable snacks. Thanks for the good tips, and a possible new whey protein (have to check it out, needs to be isolate only for me – I’ve got some Klean Athlete to try too). Did you see the protein powder article in Consumer Reports? Scary.

    Wondering if I should get a refurb’d Vitamix – my regular blender can’t even handle frozen chopped kale when I try to make smoothies now.

  3. says

    I have smoothies about 3x/week as well and mine DO fill me up! I too have become much more aware that all protein powders are not created equal. I think greens are key. I also throw a scoop of steel cut oats in mine, and spirulina. The Caveman likes almond butter in his.
    Marcia recently posted..One Small Change Link UpMy Profile

  4. says

    I love the addition of the Chia Seeds as these definitely do fill you up. Plus thanks for the tip about the use of MSG in most protein powders. I had no idea and I get terrible migraines from MSG. Thankfully I typically use Tera’s Whey Organic Protein powders so this hasn’t been a problem.

  5. says

    I too drink smoothies a few times a week. Sometimes I just do almond milk, a banana and peanut butter for a recovery drink. If I’m eating it as a meal I use almond milk, banana, chia seeds, flax seeds, oats and either blueberries or spinach. The chia seeds always full me up nicely! Good to know about the msg! :(
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  6. says

    Green smoothies are my go-to breakfast during the week — I drink them during my long commute! Mine are usually pretty heavy on the fruit, though — greens and banana (always), and often another fruit or two. (Today was strawberry & pineapple.) I don’t use protein, instead relying on hemp seeds to bump up the protein. They only really fill me up when I use avocado and peanut/almond butter, though. I tend to snack on some nuts mid-morning otherwise.
    Lauren @ mostly i run recently and giveaway: energybitsMy Profile

  7. Sarah C. says

    I have a smoothie every single morning for breakfast after my workout. It is the ONLY breakfast that keeps me full until lunch. Nothing else – not eggs, or oatmeal, and certainly not pancakes or the like – can do that. I think it’s a combination of the high-protein powder I use and all the vegetables that keep me full. I love them and they’re certainly not going away from my diet!!