Breakfast is often known as “the most important meal of the day” and for good reason. Studies show that breakfast eaters are more likely to have a healthier overall diet and eating habits. It is also shown that those who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight as blood glucose is regulated and appetite is controlled. What you eat first thing in the morning can help in the following ways:
- Kick start metabolism
- Improve brain function and concentration
- Stabilize blood sugar levels
- Replenish your glucose
- Boost energy and alertness
However, not all breakfasts are created equal and what you choose to eat first thing has an impact on the rest of your day. Smoothies are a popular choice with the ability to assist in incorporating more fruit and veggies into the diet. The antioxidants that come from these first thing in the morning have important nutritional benefits for anti-inflammation, brain, mood and immune function. If the sound of the blender doesn’t wake you up, a smoothie packed with goodness will definitely do the trick and will give you the energy to conquer the day!
Smoothies make great meals as well as snacks. The best time to drink your smoothie is in the morning - especially if it is balanced with fruit, veggies, fibre, protein and healthy fats. Studies show that starting your day with a protein rich meal like a smoothie reduces the likelihood of snacking and cravings midmorning and throughout the day. It also shows that those who consume breakfast have better cognitive function and focus throughout the morning and day. It is recommended to eat within an hour or two of waking up to optimise brain function and reduce the risk of having that ‘foggy’ brain feeling.
How to make the best breakfast smoothie
Not only do smoothies taste like a treat, they provide a broad spectrum of essential nutrients to help power your day.
Although smoothies are categorized as “healthy”, the choice of ingredients and portions play a big part in determining whether your smoothies will be nutritious and help you reach your goals. Starting with wholefoods ensures you are consuming quality nutrients with minimal added sugar or excessive fats.
The ingredient options for smoothies are virtually endless so let’s take a wider view of the key ingredient components, their function and what portion sizes to help guide you.
Protein: Including protein in your breakfast will ensure your appetite stays in check throughout the day. Protein helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer due to its ability to reduce your hunger hormone ghrelin, which makes it an essential part of each meal. With 25+ grams of protein powder in each serve Go Good protein powder more than delivers the required protein hit, plus a delicious source of flavour enhance any ingredient combination. Additionally, a tablespoon of Greek yogurt or milk base will boost the protein content.
Fibre: Fibre provides long-burning energy to keep you full until lunch time. High-fibre foods take longer to digest resulting in a prolonged feeling of fullness. Including a half cup of oats to your breakfast smoothie adds fibre and complex carbohydrates which maintains satiation. This is also a low Gi source which means it has slow releasing energy to prevent rapid rises and falls in blood sugar levels. This helps control hunger and energy levels especially when consumed at breakfast time. Fibre can also be found in fruit and vegetables which can provide a low calorie way to bulk up your smoothie without consuming excess energy.
Fruit: Fruit smoothies are always a crowd pleaser. From bananas to berries to mango you really can’t go wrong with any combination. Frozen fruit is just as good as the fresh stuff, plus frozen fruit makes your smoothie super thick and creamy. Take caution, including too much fruit is where many people unknowingly increase the calorie density of their smoothie due to the high sugar content of fruits. It is recommended to include no more than 1 serving of fruit to keep those sugar levels nice and low.
Vegetables: Leafy greens like spinach are a good start when including vegetables into your smoothie, as you can’t taste them, but it provide a good boost of nutrients. Leafy green veggies provide great sources of vitamins, minerals, and fibre while being low in calories making them a perfect way to bulk up your smoothie while reaching the 5 plus a day fruit and veg recommendation. A good rule of thumb is to aim for a 3:1 ratio for greens and fruit, which could be 3 handfuls of spinach to 1 cup of fruit.
Healthy fats: A spoonful of your favourite nut butter, a sprinkle of chia seeds or some hemp seeds will help keep you satisfied between meals as they slow digestion and prevent overeating. However, be cautious of portion sizes as these high fat foods can quickly stack up the calories in your smoothie. Just a tablespoon of peanut butter contains 100 calories so they can quickly add up if you aren’t aware of how much you are adding (we know we are guilty!). It is recommended to include no more than a tablespoon of any nut butter to your smoothie and even avoid nut butters completely if your goal is weight loss.
Liquid: When choosing your liquid source for your smoothie, water, milk or a milk substitute such as nut milk are the best choices. Nut milks are not just great for those who experience symptoms of lactose intolerance, but they are weight loss friendly as they contain fewer calories than regular dairy milk. Try to avoid using juice and juice concentrates as this can add unnecessary excess sugar which consequently stacks up the calories.
We've compared some popular liquid choices below:
How to make a healthy smoothie
With the above in mind a good formula to follow when making a basic breakfast smoothie that promotes weight control and keeps you feeling satisfied and full is:
3 parts green veg + 1 part fruit + serving of protein + 1 part carbohydrate + serving of healthy fat + liquid to your desired texture.
In terms of macronutrients this would help you reach a split of roughly around 30g carbs, at least 20g protein, around 10g healthy fats.
This could look like:
Low bloat / high protein breakfast smoothie:
3 handfuls of spinach + ½ banana + 1 serve of protein powder + 1 tablespoon oats + 1 tablespoon peanut butter + ½ cup of almond milk
Nutritional profile: 330cal, 27g carb, 12g fat, 32g protein, 5g fibre
This smoothie is packed with nutrients that help flush out excess salt resulting in bloating. The potassium from the banana in combination with the high water content of almond milk helps to restore normal fluid balance in the body. This smoothie is also very satiating with 32 grams of protein coming from both the protein powder and peanut butter. The peanut butter also provides that source of healthy fat to ensure this breakfast is just as satisfying as it is tasty.
Low calorie / detoxifying breakfast smoothie:
3 handfuls of spinach + ½ cup of raspberries + 1 serve protein powder + table spoon of yogurt + ½ banana + teaspoon of chia seeds + ½ cup oat milk
Nutritional profile: 270cal, 34g carbs, 7g fat, 31g protein, 11g fibre
A smoothie like this is perfect for weight loss as it is super filling with 31 grams of protein and has a low-calorie density of just 270 calories. Raspberries are great antioxidants, as well as being high in fibre which helps flush out waste and reduce bloating. There is no better time than first thing in the morning to fill your body with nutrients that detoxify your liver and rejuvenate cells.
Both of these smoothie examples are perfect for promoting sustainable energy and weight loss as they are well balanced and include sources of muscle-building protein, filling fibre, and a controlled portion of healthy fat.
Are smoothies better than normal breakfast?
We challenge you to find a breakfast that has a better nutritional profile than a smoothie made in as little time and convenience . That’s why when compared to conventional cereal or toast smoothies are a hands down winner – especially when time is short in the morning.
While smoothies aren’t the only choice for a nutritional breakfast the nutritional bioavailability is hard to look past. Consider protein for example which would take the equivalent of up to 4 cooked eggs to achieve the same as a 30g scoop of protein powder.
Store-bought mueslis and granolas are a trendy breakfast choice which generally incorporate wholefoods such as nuts, seeds, and oats which is great. However, these “health” cereals are often marketed as the better choice despite being very high in added sugar making a small serving size very calorie dense. Additionally granolas are an expensive product, the most nutritious ones retail around $4.50 per 100grams! The average adult would consume a 150g -200g serving of granola making it up to $9 per meal! This alone in comparison to the affordability of a smoothie which sits at around $3.50 for our ideal breakfast smoothie recommendation above is enough to make the switch to a more nutritious and affordable breakfast choice.
Similarly, breakfast cereals can be high in sugar with little nutritional benefit. These cereals are typically dense in refined carbohydrates with minimal protein. Cereals tend to cause blood sugar levels to spike and fall quickly resulting in feeling hungry and sluggish a couple of hours later.
This can lead to cravings for a high sugar/high carbohydrate ‘pick me up’ snack which isn’t favorable for weight control.
These breakfast options are generally seen as the convenient option that take little time to prepare when you’re on a time crunch. Smoothies share the same convenience of being able to throw all your ingredients in a blender, no cooking or excess dishes required, but provide a drastically improved outcome with nutritional bioavailability to set you up for the day.
This is why we love healthy breakfasts so much as studies have shown that people who eat a healthy breakfast generally have healthier diets overall, have better eating habits and are less likely to be hungry for snacks during the day. Put simply healthier breakfast = better subsequent nutritional choices throughout the day.
- Smoothies make a tasty, convenient and nutritious breakfast choice provided it is well balanced
- Protein and fibre are key ingredients to include in your smoothie to ensure you feel satisfied and stay full until lunch time
- Aim to include around 30g carbs, at least 20g protein, around 10g healthy fats plus a quality source of fibre into your breakfast smoothie
- Whole foods are key when it comes to constructing your smoothie due to their various health benefits. Try to reach for whole food ingredients and take the opportunity to include more leafy green veggies into your diet!
- A healthy breakfast is shown to improve the chance of all subsequent nutritional choices throughout the rest of the day.