How to Make the Perfect Morning Smoothie

Ever since I traveled down the Nutrisystem road and lost a bunch of weight, one of the things that’s stuck with me is having a fruit and protein powder smoothie as breakfast. Now in the Nutrisystem program it’s an accompaniment to a small bowl of cereal, a bar, a cinnamon roll, or similar, but outside of the program I prefer to have the smoothie become a bit more substantial and have it as my only food and drink in the morning. Fast, efficient, healthy and portable. What else could a guy want?

I started out with really boring smoothies, literally just protein powder and milk. Then I added ice. Then I realized “hey, I could add some fruit and make this 10x better”. That was the real beginning of my smoothie journey, I think, when I realized that adding a banana made a huge difference in both the taste and texture.

Then I was looking at one of the little bags of pre-portioned granola included with the Nutrisystem plan and realized I could just toss it in the blender along with everything else I was including.

Cue mad scientist music.

Turns out, that was a great addition. Now my smoothies have become a bit more complicated, including the addition of frozen spinach, something I first learned from a nutritionist girlfriend and then had reinforced in a Men’s Health article on the health benefits of dark green veggies.

So here’s what it all looked like this morning for my liquid concoction:

ingredients in a great breakfast smoothie

From left to right, clockwise, it’s a bowl of frozen blueberries, plain organic yogurt, Rainbow Light protein powder (you can’t really see the bag in this photo), a bowl of frozen spinach, a lone strawberry, organic crunchy peanut butter, 1% milk, and a half-peeled banana. Oh, and the plastic drink mixing cup from my terrific Ninja blender.

I’ve learned that the order you add ingredients is important. In particular, I don’t add the protein powder until I have some liquid in the container, or it ends up sticking to the bottom and requires extra blending to fully mix. Easily compensated, however.

Step one is to put all the fruit and spinach in the cup, with the strawberry at the top for aesthetics:

fruit in the cup, step one

Next step is to pop open the peanut butter and add some. I add about a teaspoon, as you can see:

add peanut butter to your smoothie

At this point, it’s safe to put in about 2/3 of a scoop of the protein powder, two teaspoons of yogurt, and enough milk to fill it up to just below the “fill” line on the cup, which makes it look like this:

added liquid ingredients to smoothie

At this point we’re almost done! Just screw on the bladed lid and put it on the Ninja blender, ready to whirl:

smoothie ready to blend on ninja blender

Once the milk all moves to the “bottom” of the cup, it’s actually quite interesting and you can see each and every ingredient, ready to be blended up.

With the Ninja Ultima BL810 blender, it’s a matter of about five seconds to go from the abstract food art shown above into a perfectly blended smoothie that matches healthy and sweet, fiber and liquid. I usually let it blend for 10-15 seconds, however, to ensure that there are no stray bits (and this can be particularly important if you are using granola or a similar ingredient that might be more difficult to blend up).

The result:

The perfect smoothie. Done!

I can only say that it tasted terrific and is easily the best way to consume spinach on a daily basis, not to mention the couple of fruit servings. With 1% milk, low fat yogurt and a teaspoon of peanut butter, there’s protein without too much fat or too many calories either, and the cup makes a perfect amount for an on-the-go breakfast.

Quite delicious. Now, how about you? Do you make smoothies and if so, what do you put in them? I know my 10yo daughter K- likes to add vanilla ice cream, but, well, what kid doesn’t?

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