I open the doors to my gym GuitarTown Athletics every morning at 5 am (get out of bed at 4:35 on the dot) and am typically there until AT LEAST 1 in the afternoon, and often times I’m there until 5 pm. Since I’m there so early, I know a thing or two about needing EASY, FAST, FILLING, and HEALTHY breakfasts. There’s no way I’m going to wake up any earlier than I already do to make some complicated meal. I’ve experimented with a lot of different things but my go-to has been and always will be smoothies. I typically make my smoothies the night before and put them in a shaker bottle so that the next morning I can just grab it and leave.
Before I go any further, I should mention that I typically try to pack my smoothies with a protein source, a carb source, and a fat source. I’ve found that having all three of the macronutrients keeps me full longer and gives me more sustained energy. After that, I basically try to sneak in as many nutrients as possible without making the smoothie taste too weird. Here are some tricks I’ve either made up or been taught to accomplish these goals.
The first thing you need to think of is what the base of the smoothie is going to be. A lot of people use milk, water, almond milk, coconut milk, soy milk… whatever. It’s personal preference but I personally like to switch it up weekly, and I’ve found some combos I just don’t like. I say experiment with some different bases and find what works best for your stomach and taste buds. Also, at the end of this article I’m going to give you a secret ingredient base that’s actually better than any of the ones I mentioned above, in my opinion.
If you’re going to be able to function at all in the morning, you need protein. The first way to add protein to a smoothie is to simply add protein powder.
The second way I sneak protein into my smoothies is with greek yogurt. I actually enjoy the consistency yogurt gives the smoothie MORE than protein powder, and to be honest I get pretty sick of most protein powder flavors. Yogurt also goes well with almost any fruit you could think of (except durian… nothing goes well with durian).
Third – hear me out here… cottage cheese. Pretty much the same deal as yogurt, but with a slightly different taste. It’s nice to mix it up a bit.
I freaking love oatmeal. I just straight up toss dry oats into my blender and love it.
Fruit. I’m a big fan of freezing my fruit before putting it in. Frozen bananas are great and thicken up the smoothie, but really you can’t go wrong with any fruit (except durian).
Peanut butter and almond butter are incredible, but also not always the healthiest. Look for natural nut butters if you are trying to cut down on sugar.
Coconut oil is a great source of healthy fats and doesn’t change the taste of the smoothie at all.
This is where we can just go nuts. I will always add a handful of spinach or kale into my smoothies. Looks green, can’t taste it one bit, and is probably the most enjoyable possible way to ingest kale.
Chia seeds are a great source of protein, carbs, healthy fats, and fiber.
The Secret Base
Warning: Once you do this you may never go back.
Coffee. Glorious, glorious coffee.
I now almost exclusively use cold brew coffee as my base. It’s actually very pleasant with frozen bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate protein powder. If you want to use HOT coffee, you might want to switch out the protein powder with collagen, because whey protein can be denatured when it’s heated up.
Check out these two recipes we use in our nutrition program at our gym.