Recipe: Cacao Mint ice cream protein smoothie

With lifting heavy at the gym, I’ve been incorporating protein shakes into my diet to aid recovery and muscle growth, but I’m not a huge fan of how protein shakes taste, especially if I’m having them day after day when I come back from the gym. So I’ve been playing around with things I can add it to flavour the shakes and give myself a bit of variety. My current favourite is mint chocolate chip ice cream inspired – my favourite ice cream flavour! I used to put a square of Green and Blacks mint dark chocolate in with my vanilla protein powder for a treat but as I’m looking to rein in my diet further, I wanted to recreate an even healthier version.

Here’s the recipe for my healthy mint chocolate chip ice cream shake:

  • Add amond milk or water to your blender (almond milk makes it extra creamy so for my mint ice cream shake, I usually go for all almond milk)
  • Add protein powder, a heaped tea spoon of raw cacao, some mint flavouring or fresh mint leaves (I use cupcake world mint chocolate) and any other healthy additions you want to add…I have been adding a teaspoon of bee pollen to mine recently.
  • Blend and serve!

If you’re not incorporating protein powder into you diet, a frozen banana is a perfect substitute – it’ll give a cold, thick milkshake texture to your shake!


  

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Breakfast protein smoothies

Smoothies are a great way of packing lots of healthy ingredients into one meal, getting lots of nutrients from foods that you might otherwise not eat alone. I’ve been making lots of smoothies recently, as I’ve been exercising more and trying to eat more protein. I don’t believe in fad diets or cutting essential food groups, but I do like to eat whole foods and eat plenty of protein, especially if I’m exercising more, so smoothies are my go-to way of incorporating lots of fresh ingredients and high-protein food sources.

I’ve been using PHD Diet Whey as a post-workout shake for a while – the chocolate flavour and the vanilla creme, but I thought I’d give it a go in a healthy breakfast smoothie and found it fills me up until lunchtime. My current favourite recipe involved plenty of fresh berries (hello, antioxidants!), greek yogurt for protein and probiotics, and pumpkin seeds and almonds for essential minerals like zinc. I may also add flaxseed to a smoothie (although the Diet Whey also contains flaxseed) for iron, healthy omega 3 fats and fibre, and often I’ll add a spoon of raw cold pressed coconut oil for good fats and healthy lauric acid.

This smoothie recipe has been keeping me feeling full until lunch and it’s great to know I’m starting the day with a good amount of protein and lots of nutrients from the seeds, nuts, berries and good fats.

If you’re looking to add greek yogurt to your smoothies, please check the ingredients on the brand you’re buying – so many products are named as ‘greek style’ and are full of sugar, not what you should be adding to a healthy diet. My favourite is Fage – it’s much better than any of the sugar-filled yogurts on supermarket shelves in my opinion.

Happy blending!


Healthy Living: Summer Smoothie Recipes

I’m trying hard to eat a healthy diet and get lots of exercise – not because I have weight to lose (although toning up in a few places wouldn’t go a miss) but because I want to improve my health and wellbeing. I want to feel energised and vibrant, and I firmly believe that what you put into your body has a huge impact on that. I am passionate about ‘clean eating’ and eat very little processed food. Smoothies are one of my go-to snacks when I feel I need a nutritional top up throughout the day.

I’m also trying to be really careful with wastage and budgeting, especially when it comes to food, so I’ve been buying fruit when it’s on offer and packing them up in freezer bags to defrost later. It’s a little bit of work but it’s making smoothies even easier and more accessible. Fruit is perfect to freeze and freezing is a great way to avoid fruit spoiling before it’s eaten. My current smoothie bags are full of a variation of berries (complete with their leafy tops for added nutrition), half a banana (frozen banana makes for a creamy base) and a big handful of leafy greens. I can always add additional ingredients like flaxseed, coconut oil or wheatgrass shots when it’s added to the blender. The fruit can be defrosted, or for a cool, slush-style drink, blend with water or almond milk while frozen.

My favourite smoothies at the moment are berries, kale, spinach and banana, with a splash of almond milk, but I also love a green smoothie. The green smoothie recipe I use most is cucumber, pear, lime, celery, kale, spinach and wheatgrass. If you’re new to drinking your five-a-day, definitely start with a fruitier smoothie and move onto a green vegetable one when you’re feeling brave.

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Green Juicing

I love juicing and green juice is one of my favourite ways to boost my intake of vegetables. Whilst the taste of a green juice may take some getting used to, the nutritional benefits of a daily vegetable juice is well worth it.

I use a masticating juicer, which chews the fruit and veggies to cold press the produce and retain as many nutrients as possible. A centrifugal juicer is a cheaper alternative, which is a great place to start if you’re new to juicing.

I try to use low sugar vegetables and fruit, with more emphasis on green leaves when I juice, but it can create a bitter, hard to drink juice if you’re not used to it. A base of carrots or apples will sweeten your juice, if you want something a little more palatable but again, these have quite a high sugar content.

My usual green juice recipe:

1 whole cucumber

1 lemon or lime (if you have a masticating juicer, you can juice with the skin on, but the taste will be more pungent so only half may be needed)

2 sticks of celery

1 handful of lettuce, or a whole baby lettuce

2 handfuls of spinach

1 small handful of kale or broccoli.

1 small piece of ginger.

The lemon or lime neutralises the bitter greens a little and tones down the taste of broccoli or kale. I like to use raw kale and broccoli in my juices as they’re so nutritious, however you only need a small amount if using raw as they can interfere with your thyroid if consumed raw in high quantities. With the more neutral leaves like spinach and lettuce, you can really add as much as you like as it doesn’t really interfere with the taste too much. Ginger adds a nice kick and is a great anti-inflammatory.

With a masticating juicer like mine, you can get about 2 big glasses of green juice out of this recipe. I also like to add a shot of wheatgrass to each glass of green juice for added nutritional benfits. I get frozen wheatgrass shots from LiveWheatgrass – theirs is fresh, organic and frozen straight away to lock in the nutrients…plus they’re local and I love to support my local businesses. You can order LiveWheatgrass (along with their other frozen shots, such as kale and beetroot) from their website here. I also use Wheatgrass Powder from Organic Burst too, which is great for mixing into other juices for a nutrition boost.

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