Even when I get up early, I still don’t generally have the time to sit down for a balanced, complete meal in the morning before I have to get in the car to go to work or school. All too often, breakfast has consisted of coffee and a pastry from Starbucks. Thinking about the breakfast choices I’ve made in recent months, I knew I could make better choices that are more nutritious while saving myself money and time.
A few weeks ago, I decided that I would try making my own smoothies in the morning. I’ve done it in the past, with success, only this time I wanted to experiment with some protein powders to make it more like a meal instead of just ice blended with fruit and yogurt or milk. Off I went to Wegmans, where I stumbled across Navitas Naturals hemp powder, a very fine olive green colored powder made from ground up hemp seeds with about 9g of protein per serving. It comes in a 16oz bag and is raw, vegan, and organic.
I blazed forward and tried the hemp powder in a fruit smoothie made with banana and strawberry, not knowing what to expect. I was left with an olive green smoothie with red flecks from the strawberries — not exactly the best visual. The taste was nutty, but a little gritty because the powder didn’t blend well thanks to my old, shitty blender, since I don’t have a small fortune to spend on a Vitamix or Blendtek blender. I didn’t dismiss using the hemp powder completely, but admittedly the $10 bag of it sat on a shelf, untouched, for a couple of weeks while I went back to Starbucks in the morning. Le sigh.
Oddly enough, it was a smoothie I had at Starbucks at lunch last week — the banana chocolate Vivviano smoothie – that piqued my interest to try using the hemp powder again with different ingredients. Instead of banana and strawberry, I picked up some Navitas Naturals raw organic cacao powder and blended a few tablespoons of that with a banana, ice, soy milk, and the hemp powder. Great success! The banana and cacao masked the slightly strange, nutty taste of the hemp powder, which also dissolved better this time. The cacao powder turned the smoothie a nice chocolate color, akin to a chocolate milkshake, so it didn’t look like I was drinking slime from some B-horror movie.
In the same trip when I got the cacao powder, I also decided to try the Wegmans brand of unsweetened soy protein powder, which packs about 22g of protein per heaping spoonful. This blended well with fruit due to its neutral color and flavor. I’m sure other brands would work fine, but I like the fact that Wegmans soy protein powder is unsweetened and in a smaller container. If you were to go to GNC or Sams Club, you could by a similar product, but it would be in a larger volume and might cost more.
Ingredients for Chocolate Banana Protein Smoothie
1 cup vanilla soy milk – depending on your preferences, swap chocolate or plain soy milk in place of the vanilla, or use nut milk, coconut milk, or regular milk
1 tablespoon hemp powder (recommended: Navitas Naturals)
2 tablespoons cacao powder (recommended: Navitas Naturals)
1 small or medium banana
Ingredients for Fruit Protein Smoothie
1 cup coconut water
1 heaping tablespoon unsweetened vanilla soy protein powder
2 cups of your fruit of choice, such as mixed strawberries and apricots; strawberries and bananas; pineapple and mango; or berries
Method, for either smoothie
Put all of your chosen ingredients in a blender, starting with the liquid before adding the powders so they don’t stick to the bottom of your blender. Blend and serve immediately. If I had to guess this could be one 16oz serving that could be split into two 8oz servings.