I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Sometimes I sneak some not-that-“clean” food into my healthy-ish meals.
Because sometimes a gal just has to eat something that tastes like cheesecake but that doesn’t blow her macros through the roof. Am I right?
This Banana Cheesecake Protein Smoothie is a case in point. The sugar-free, fat-free cheesecake pudding mix in this recipe makes this smoothie thick, luscious and decadent … and that’s not a bad thing, in my book.
Try it! This was originally posted in 2011, but I updated it to make it even “cleaner” … except for the instant pudding mix. 🙂
Banana Cheesecake Protein Smoothie
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I use Sun Warrior brand)
1 tbsp sugar-free fat-free cheesecake pudding mix
1 cup coconut milk
1 medium frozen, sliced banana
small amount of water (if needed)
Place first four items in a high-speed blender and mix well. Add a little water if it’s too thick. Drink. Yum!
Anyone else love their iced coffees and iced lattes? Especially on a hot summer afternoon?
And especially if they’re mocha iced lattes? So yum.
The problem with coffee shop iced lattes and coffees is not only the price, but who knows what’s in them? If you’re not careful, you’ll be ingesting a bunch of unnecessary and potentially harmful sugar, fat, and processed food products (1).
Also, they really don’t do very much for you nutritionally.
That’s why I came up with this iced protein coffee recipe, which you can rev up to make a full-on latte if you want. It lets me enjoy my afternoon treat guilt-free. It’s low in sugar, has a favorable macronutrient profile (fats/carbs/protein), and is pretty darn tasty.
Adding protein not only adds some extra creaminess to this recipe, but protein helps keep your blood sugar stable as well as helping you to stay fuller, longer. Not only that, but if you are trying to lose weight, it’s important to eat an adequate amount of protein so you can maintain your muscle (2).
If you’re staying away from caffeine, this is just as delicious with decaf coffee. You also could make it with a coffee substitute, such as Teeccino or chicory root, although honestly neither of them will impart the true coffee flavor. But they’re close.
Here’s a recipe for a Starbucks-like mocha Frappuccino, revved up with some extra protein.
I personally like to use Sun Warrior’s plant-based Warrior Blend protein in my beverages.
Try it and Let me know!
Do you have any recipes or snacks you’d like to see healthy-ed up? Have you created healthier versions of your favorites? I’d love to hear about it. Hit me up!
Cherries were on sale last week at the grocery store. Like, big-time.
And you can big-time bet that I bought a whole bunch. I even pitted some and put them in my smoothies because they are so delicious. Plus, I was thinking of trying a couple of new recipes (cherry clafoutis, anyone?).
But guess what? Mangos were on sale too. Again: big-time. And they, too, are also delicious in smoothies and recipes.
I wanted to horde them all because I know in a couple months they’ll either be unavailable or cost four or more times what they do in-season.
You know what I hate, though? Buying fresh fruit and veggies, only to have them go bad before I can eat them. Ugh. So, no extra fruit for me.
And then I remembered. Doh.
My Grandmother’s Frozen Raspberries
Back in the day, my grandmother (“Nanny”) used to grow rows and rows of raspberries every year. Her raspberry pies were renowned – local restaurants would buy them from her for big bucks – and Nanny made the most amazing “fresh” raspberry compote even in the middle of January.
The berries weren’t mushy and nondescript mashes of goo, either. They were beautifully preserved … and it wasn’t because she did anything magical with them.
She just froze them.
And … duh! … I realized that with a teeny-tiny bit of time and effort, I can freeze practically any fruit I want, too, the same exact way Nanny did. I remember hanging out in the kitchen with her every summer during the not-so-elaborate freezing process.
I know this isn’t rocket science, but I spend a fair amount of time in the kitchen and I figure if this hasn’t occurred to me before, then it likely will be new-ish news to someone else. (I hope the mangoes are still on sale this week.)
How to Freeze Fruit for Smoothies and Healthy Recipes
- First, gather your fruit and thoroughly wash it.
- Then, grab a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper.
Next, it’s time to prep the fruit.
- For larger fruits and/or those with pits, you will want to remove the skin or peel, and then slice them.
- Citrus fruits can be divided into sections or quarters.
- Fruits that turn brown – like apples – can be dipped into a solution with lemon and water to prevent them from discoloring.
- Berries need no additional prep beyond washing.
Once your fruit is good to go, all you do is place it on the lined cookie sheet, and then put the sheet in the freezer for 2 to 24 hours. After, you can put the fruit into containers (I use freezer bags) in portion-sized amounts so it’s ready for a quick grab & go.
Seriously, so easy!
Beyond smoothies, this frozen fruit can go a long way toward beating an ice cream craving. Just put some frozen fruit in a high-speed blender and whir it up into a sorbet-like concoction. Delish!
This morning I threw together a quick and easy smoothie from my fresh-frozen fruits.
Try it and let me know how you like it!
Do you get into food ruts? You know, when you tend to eat the same meal every day?
Sometimes I do – and I’m OK with that. Especially when it comes to breakfast.
Because when I have a favorite go-to meal every morning, it starts my day out right. I look forward to it (although maybe not as much as I look forward to my morning cup of coffee!).
My most recent fave breakfast was a Berry Good Green Smoothie with kefir. It was creamy, refreshing and had just a little “bite” from the kefir, which is packed with probiotic and protein.
But when I went to the grocery store last week, there was no kefir to be found.
So I asked one of the clerks, “Where’s the kefir?”
After much investigation, we had the answer, which confused even the clerk, as the demand for kefir is so high they have a hard time keeping it in stock.
They were no longer going to carry it.
Hello, Berry Chia Green Smoothie
Now, I know I can make my own kefir (and someday soon I might) or go to the health food store and buy it there.
But I took this as a little challenge to mix things up.
You see, a while ago my doc ran some food sensitivity tests and I came up “highly intolerant” of dairy. And in fact, most of us are intolerant of dairy – 65 percent of us have issues digesting it after we leave infancy. (1)
It’s not like I consume a bunch of dairy on a daily basis. And kefir can actually help with intolerance issues because of all the enzymes and nutrients it contains. (2)
But that didn’t matter at the moment, because there wasn’t any kefir to be had. I had to come up with a new breakfast that would make me happy.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of typical breakfast foods leave me hungry soon after I eat. I love cereal, but it makes me want to eat all day long. Or, it makes me want to eat the entire box.
Eggs and bacon? Yum! But who has time? Plus, there’s something I like about a cool breakfast.
So anyway, as I stood there in the Hannaford “healthy foods” aisles, my stubborn streak came out and I wanted to preserve as much of my original smoothie as possible.
And I realized I could do that with chia seeds.
Chia seeds, before and after soaking for 10 minutes
You’ve probably heard about all the health benefits of chia seeds: they’re rich in antioxidants (which is why they don’t go rancid quickly), high in fiber, and also contain calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and more. Plus, they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
Some people toss chia seeds directly into smoothies but I like to let mine soak for at least 10 minutes, or as long as overnight. That gives them a gel-like consistency that gives your smoothie a creaminess that’s really delicious.
Now, I happen to think negotiating the maze of non-dairy milks is a very low-impact version of walking through a minefield. There’s no super-nutritious alternative. Unlike non-dairy milks, “real” milk is loaded protein and calcium – but it also has that other stuff in it that makes it hard for a lot of us to digest.
Plus with dairy, even if it doesn’t bother you or you load yourself up with enzymes to help you digest it, you have to be really careful what kind you buy. Otherwise, what comes out of the jug or carton can be riddled with hormones and antibiotics.
That’s why I tend to change out the non-dairy milks I regularly use, and I make sure to choose organic non-GMO varieties. When you’re choosing a non-dairy milk, consider steering clear of those that contain carrageenan (a common ingredient in almond and coconut milks), as it might have an impact on gut health. (3)
Green Smoothie with Chia and Berries
So anyway, that’s the very long story of how I came up with my latest breakfast go-to. It’s especially delicious if you blend it for a couple minutes to let it get nice and fluffy. If it’s too thick, just add more milk.
Mix this up and let me know how you like it!
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Did you ever notice how clementines only seem to come in 5-pound boxes?
That’s a lot of clementines.
Like a lot of people, I love them – they’re delicious, nutritious, and they are only plentiful this time of year.
But sometimes I get tired of just peeling and eating them. Now, I know to some of you that will sound like blasphemy, but it’s true. The only fruit I can eat nonstop till it’s gone is cherries.
So when I bought a box of clementines yesterday, I was wondering how I was going to use them all up.
Then this morning it hit me: make a clementine smoothie.
Result: Super delicious.
Clementine Smoothie Recipe
I was lucky enough to have a frozen mango fruit “medley” in my freezer, which also contained peaches and strawberries. I like to use frozen fruit as the ice in my smoothies but that’s just me. You might want to use just ice, or whatever frozen fruit you have on-hand.
I chose the mango blend because I didn’t think clementines would work well with the frozen berries I normally use in my smoothies. And I also wondered if clementines would be too tangy to go well with kefir. Seriously, who loves a tangy “sour” smoothie for breakfast? (Not me!)
But mangoes (and peaches!) are sweet. Kefir can be an acquired taste, and having a sweet ingredient to offset that is a good thing.
So why do I use kefir in my smoothies? Because it’s a great source of both probiotics and protein. It also doesn’t upset my stomach the way other dairy products do (sorry for the TMI).
But if you stay away from dairy products but still want the probiotic benefits of kefir, you can try coconut kefir. It’s available in some health food stores.
Or, you could use a dairy-free milk alternative such as coconut milk or almond milk and this would still be delicious.
What About All that Fruit?
It’s true that this recipe contains more carbs/sugar than I normally include in my smoothies – berries are much lower in sugar than mangoes, peaches, and clementines. But since today – the day I made it – is a snow day, having this extra bit of “sun” in my morning was well worth it.
Plus, the protein from the kefir (11 grams) and the scoop of protein powder (15 grams) help slow down the release of all that sugar into your blood stream.
Plus, the 8 grams of fiber (most of it from the fruit) also is a big help in lowering the glycemic load.
Try this and let me know what you think! Take a photo and upload it, tagging me on Instagram at @wendyfitnessdotcom or in my private Facebook group, right here!
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This is my latest favorite go-to breakfast. Super yummy and super good for you!
Here’s the deal: I was holding out big-time against the green smoothie trend because so many of them were calorie bombs filled with sugar. Despite being nutrient-dense, this recipe is refreshing and delicious. And it’s chock full of superfoods that will make you feel awesome.
Check it out:
Kefir — even the name means “feel good” (derived from the Turkish word for “good feelings.”) It’s a probiotic, much like yogurt, but in liquid form.
Kale — it’s trendy for a reason: it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals. If you don’t like kale you can use spinach or a mix of the two (that’s my favorite).
Frozen berries — high in fiber, loaded with antioxidants and low in sugar, these add delicious flavor to the smoothie while at the same time boosting the nutrition value.
Protein powder — Getting a boost of protein early in the day can help stave off hunger later, as well as giving you a muscle-maintaining boost. I like hemp protein, which is the only vegetable source of protein that contains all the amino acids necessary to form a complete protein, but whey protein is another great source.
Makes 1 serving. 290 calories, 3.5 grams fat, 5.7 grams fiber, 34 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein.