I've been eating (or drinking) more or less the same thing for breakfast since high school: a smoothie with protein powder. In the past 10-plus years I've been making protein smoothies, I've experimented with different ingredients and flavor profiles. Up until a few months ago, I pretty much stuck to the following concoction: vegan protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, leafy greens, and fruit. But I noticed that I usually got hungry again around 10:30 or 11 in the morning. And since I normally don't eat lunch until about 2 p.m. (I find eating a later lunch breaks up my day better), I would need to snack on nuts or something else to keep me going.
Then I realized that my morning smoothie contained way too much sugar. I would usually add half a banana (sometimes a whole banana) and at least a cup of frozen berries. Although I had protein in the form of vegan protein powder (around 20 grams of the macronutrient per serving), the carb count was too high and this smoothie didn't have any healthy fats. While the excess sugar from all the fruit would spike my blood sugar and leave me crashing by midafternoon, the protein wasn't enough to keep me feeling full. I realized I needed to add a healthy fat, which is a satiating macronutrient, to keep me full.
I started adding one tablespoon of Perfect Keto MCT Oil ($29 on Amazon) to my morning smoothie and cutting back the amount of fruit I was putting in. Instead of two cups of fruit, I now add about one-fourth to a half of a cup of fruit. Although the MCT oil is caloric — one tablespoon contains 130 calories and 14 grams of fat — it keeps me full well until my late lunch. And since I usually drink it around 8 a.m. after my morning workout, that's hours of feeling satiated. Plus, I don't have to reach for a midmorning snack of nuts, which is around 175 calories and 15 grams of fat.
Here's what I put in my morning smoothie to keep me nourished and full:
- Vegan protein powder — I usually opt for Vega One All-in-One Shake ($47 on Amazon) or ALOHA Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder ($24 on Amazon)
- Handful of spinach or kale (usually about two cups or so, packed)
- One cup of unsweetened almond milk
- One-fourth of a banana or one-fourth a cup of frozen strawberries
- One tablespoon of MCT oil
- Ice, as needed