I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with breakfast. I love sleep and I love food, but early in the morning, my love for sleep tends to win out. Once I am up, my love for food is front and center, as well as the clock telling me I am going to be late. I don’t ever miss a meal, and when I was in middle and high school, I scrambled every morning to find something that would keep me full until lunch.
It needed to be fast so I didn’t miss the bus. Eggs feel too heavy in my stomach that early in the morning, and I can only eat eggs so many days in a row.
I was always looking for something delicious, portable, fast and filling. Since my mom taught me to help with the grocery shopping early on, I always scoured the grocery shelves looking for the magic answer. Even as a high school student I could tell what was helping my body and what wasn’t.
Poptarts – too sweet, taste gross and not filling. Toast – not filling. Instant oatmeal – not portable, too much sugar. All those starches – blood sugar crash by 9 a.m. Not good. I saw a commercial for those instant breakfast drinks and excitedly grabbed a pack on my next grocery run, but it was no more filling than a glass of milk.
Fast forward to college, and the battle continued until a guy I worked with solved my life-long problem: breakfast smoothies with protein powder. I thought those were for body builders, but no. I’ve been drinking them just about every day since.
My kids have hot breakfast six days a week, and about once a week we have smoothies (aka the day we are all running behind and even scrambled eggs will take too long). They also love to have them as after-school snacks, and it’s something my older kids can make themselves.
My favorite smoothie to date is the chocolate peanut butter smoothie. I drank it every day for years. It tastes like candy in a cup, and it’s healthy! It’s fast, filling, satisfies my sweet tooth for the rest of the day, portable, and the whole family loves it. I also love that it can be made the night before so it’s ready before my early-morning workouts, and it fits perfectly with my 20-minute get ready routine.
There is just one catch these days. My boys are allergic to peanuts. I ate peanut butter daily for years, and one day it was gone from my life. That’s when the chocolate peanut butter cup smoothie disappeared, until…until I found a peanut-free solution. For sandwiches I prefer almond butter, but when mixed into other recipes, the best peanut butter substitute is Sunbutter, which is made from roasted sunflower seeds. On its own it’s not my favorite, but in a smoothie or baked goods, it gives me the closest thing to peanut butter I’ve found.
My recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, nut-free, Paleo, and so good you might name your first child after me.
I make mine in a Blendtec blender (a Vitamix is equivalent), and I cannot express what a different experience you will have if you use a lesser blender. I was faithful to my trusty Oster for years, and the only regret I have about my Blendtec is that I didn’t buy it sooner. I’ve had mine for 6 years and it’s going strong. We use it at least twice a day. Worth. Every. Penny.
The price of cocoa has spiked the last couple of years, so most manufacturers have reduced the amount of cocoa in their protein powders. By a lot. The chocolate flavor doesn’t taste like chocolate anymore, so I supplement with cocoa powder. No almost-a-hint-of-chocolate for me. I like a strong chocolate flavor.
I take the protein powder and cocoa with me when I travel, and since I don’t have a blender on the road, I take one of these blender bottles and mix with water. Obviously it’s not as tasty, but it gets the job done and saves me from a fast food fate. I haven’t tried to shake it with peanut butter/Sunbutter, but I’m guessing it would get stuck in the shaker ball.
CHOCOLATE Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie
1 serving protein powder
Big handful of spinach
Add all ingredients, then add water until the level reaches 20 ounces (Experiment to see what you like best).
Blend until smooth. I use the smoothie setting on my Blendtec blender. If you have a less powerful blender, getting the spinach completely blended will take a lot more time.
If you love smoothies as much as I do, check out my Chocolate Cherry Smoothie recipe!
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