Protein Smoothies for Two

Wake up your summer mornings with quick 'n' easy protein-packed smoothies that fill a blender with 40 grams of protein for about 400 calories. Here my husband and I split a blenderful, upping our protein intake with a big glass for him, a small one for me. These smoothies call for everyday ingredients plus a protein powder (either PBFit or Orgain); lean into high-protein dairy (buttermilk and yogurt); and are sweetened with fruit, think banana, strawberries and peaches (our favorites). For these breakfast smoothies, maximizing protein is the goal, not an after-thought.

Protein Smoothies for Two ♥ Intentionally fill a blender with 40 grams of protein and about 400 calories.

A Healthy Daily Habit, Mere Minutes to the Table. Hearty & Filling. Not just easy, Summer Easy. A New Addition to The Homemade Pantry, a Kitchen Parade Specialty. Easily Adapted to Your Family's Tastebuds & Protein and Calorie Needs. Budget Friendly. Perfect When Cooking for One or Two. Easy DIY. Low Fat. High Protein. Vegetarian. Naturally Gluten Free. What're you waiting for?! So Good!!

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  • "Oooooo, thank you. I love these shakes." ~ One happy husband, who thinks I'm handing him a milkshake every morning. 🙄

On My Mind: Decision Fatigue.

On My Mind ♥, a form asking 'Do you suffer from decision fatigue?' with two choices, yes and no, with yes checked.

Are sooooooooo many choices empowering or overwhelming?

Too often, I find myself staring blindly at a long list of restaurant ideas or a shelf of similar products or a page of indistinguishable options. My eyes cross and opting out trumps a forced decision. That's decision fatigue.

I've learned to avoid morning decision fatigue, before the caffeine has opened my eyes, by making a breakfast decision just once and sticking to it for, well, years.

That's how, for years, my go-to breakfast 7 days a week was a toasted English muffin with peanut butter. Then for more years, I switched to microwave oatmeal, also with peanut butter. In recent years, all summer long it's back and forth between Magical Breakfast Cream and Everything Bagel Breakfast Salad.

Taking Back Our Smoothies.

But let me officially declare that 2024 is the year we're taking back our smoothies and yes, ma'am, we're pulling out the blender #EverySingleDay. (Who took away our smoothies? Harumph. Weight Watchers. Phooey on WW.)

Early each morning, I fire up the blender (just a regular decades-old blender with a glass pitcher, no kitchen power tool here) and grab the same few ingredients from the fridge. Voila, we're sipping smoothies.

But here's the difference.

Instead of the usual "whatever we've got" smoothies, I'm now:

  • Intentionally loading our morning smoothies with protein
  • Intentionally maximizing protein and minimizing calories
  • Intentionally skipping popular smoothie ingredients that just don't add much protein
  • Intentionally avoiding added sugar by sweetening the smoothies with fresh or frozen fruit, a lesson learned so well with lemonade, see How to Sweeten Lemonade with Fruit Not Sugar
  • Intentionally leaning on ingredients easily purchased without special stops or online orders
  • Intentionally bypassing ingredients that aren't easily used in other recipes

The result? Protein Smoothies for Two. (Or One!) These creamy, fruity and frosty drinks are not the calorie bombs of café-style smoothies but I promise, they are decidedly delicious, so good that we look forward to them every single day.

Curious? I hope so! Read on!

Protein Smoothies for Two ♥ Intentionally fill a blender with 40 grams of protein and about 400 calories.

Choosing Smoothie Protein Sources

I've come to lean into high-protein ingredients that are not only easy to buy and keep on hand but also don't load up on calories and don't add up to a billion dollars.

But please, if you like the idea of Protein Smoothies for Two, think through what works for you. I love this particular combination of ingredients and am happy to recommend them all but really, there's no need to be a slave to my choices. Find your own, the ones that work for you in your own situation. For example, your situation may actually necessitate more calories or even more protein.

Low-Fat Buttermilk — 1 cup = 9g protein for 110 calories

Every so often, I read that some cooks are reluctant to buy buttermilk because it's hard to use it up after using it for some particular recipe.

But buttermilk has long been my go-to liquid for smoothies, it adds such great tang. Now that smoothies are a daily habit, I buy two or three or some times even four quarts at a time, usually at Trader Joe's but also at everyday grocery stores. That's because buttermilk really does keep for several weeks, especially when opened one carton at a time.

FYI buttermilk is also useful for baking, see all my recipes that call for buttermilk.

Buttermilk Alternatives: kefir (harder to find but great because it's fermented and has great tang like buttermilk) or skim milk (easy to find and similar in protein and calories but missing the distinctive tang)

Egg — 1 large egg = 6g protein for 71 calories

We do use raw egg on occasion, despite the FDA's counsel to avoid it. But now that we're making smoothies every day, I add a carton of pasteurized eggs to my grocery list.

Oikos Triple Zero Yogurt (5.3 ounce container) — 15g protein for 90 calories

This high-protein yogurt is a new product for me, it's about $13 for a box of 18 5.3-ounce containers in three flavors, vanilla, strawberry and mixed berry. Our household of two has no trouble going through even that big box, one in the morning for Protein Smoothies and one at night for a quick hit of stomach-settling protein.

We like all three flavors but use the vanilla yogurt with banana, the strawberry yogurt with (duh) strawberries and the mixed berry yogurt with raspberries, blackberries and other fruit. If I had to choose just one, it would be vanilla.

FYI these yogurts have no added sugar but are sweetened with stevia.

Alternatives: Low-fat cottage cheese (easy to find and similar in protein and calories but missing yogurt's tang and flavors) or non-fat Greek yogurt (a great choice, 16g protein for 80 calories).

PBFit Peanut Butter Powder (2 tablespoons) — 8g protein for 60 calories

I've long forgotten how I ended up with a big jar of peanut butter powder but I'm glad to be using it up, thanks to our morning smoothies. The peanut butter flavor pairs especially well with banana but my husband likes it with strawberries, for him it's reminiscent of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The ingredient list? Just three, peanut flour, coconut palm sugar and salt.

I've seen PBFit on store shelves but I'm still using up a big container purchased on Amazon, see PBfit All-Natural Peanut Butter Powder (affiliate link) if you'd like to do the same.

Alternatives: How about real peanut butter? Sure, but it comes with a "price". Two tablespoons of peanut butter comes with 7 grams of protein for 180 calories, that's less protein for three times the calories. Would it work? Sure! And it might be good if you're making smoothies for someone who needs calories. For the rest of us? The PBFit works, it's real peanuts stripped of their peanut oil.

But. Once the PBFit is gone, I intend to explore other products, probably starting with the Orgain Organic Protein which is apparently the best-tasting plant-based protein powder for the price. It's also sold at Trader Joe's and Costco, that's very useful.

It is made from a protein blend of pea, brown rice, and chia and is sweetened with erythritol. Here's where it pays to pay attention to nutrition labels. Orgain's label claims 21g of protein per "serving" but a serving is two "scoops" not two tablespoons. I normalized the portion sizes (yes, I loved math in high school) and it looks like, tablespoon for tablespoon, PBFit and Orgain have the same amount of protein and calories.

So we'll see. If you have a favorite protein powder, please do let me know in the comments, where you buy it would also be useful. Thanks in advance!

All Together (Protein Sources Only) — 38g protein for a total of 331 calories. My husband and I split a blender of Protein Smoothies, 2/3 for him, 1/3 for me, 25 grams of protein for him, 13 for me. I keep tell him that our smoothies are "breakfast snacks" to be followed later by a real breakfast for him, anyway. For us, it works! But the whole blenderful wouldn't be too much for just one person either.

Many popular smoothie ingredients just don't work for me but might for you.

  • Plant-Based Milks — Frankly, if you're attempting to maximize protein, plant-based milks are disappointing. Here's one example, unsweetened almond milk. A cup may only have 40 calories but it also only has 1 gram of protein, you'd need nine cups of almond milk (for 360 calories) to equal just one cup of buttermilk.
  • Hemp Hearts (1 tablespoon) — 3g protein for 55 calories
  • Chia (1 tablespoon) — 2g protein for 56 calories
  • Flax (1 tablespoon)— 2g protein for 55 calories
  • Silken Tofu (1 ounce) — 1g protein for 15 calories

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Protein Smoothies for Two ♥ Intentionally fill a blender with 40 grams of protein and about 400 calories.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Time-to-table: 10 minutes
Makes about 3 cups (24 ounces)

This volume is perfect for one larger serving and 1 smaller serving, that is, 2 cups for "him" (300 calories and 27g protein) and 1 cup for "her" (150 calories and 13g protein).
  • 1 cup (225g) low-fat buttermilk, shaken well right in the container before pouring
  • 1 large egg (see ALANNA's TIPS)
  • 1 container (about 5.3 ounces) high-protein, low-sugar yogurt such as Oikos
  • 2 tablespoons high-protein protein powder (so far we're using PBFit which is peanut flour stripped of peanut oil)
  • 8 ounces (225g) fresh fruit (our favorites are banana and strawberries) or frozen fruit (our favorites are frozen strawberries & peaches)
  • A handful of greens (cilantro, arugula, tender Swiss chard), optional
  • A few ice cubes, one at a time
  • A splash or two of cold water if needed, especially with frozen fruit

In a blender (see TIPS) on low power, blend the buttermilk, egg, yogurt and protein powder until well-mixed. Add the fruit and greens (if using) and blend again. One at a time, drop the ice cubes into the blender through the hole in the blender's lid, letting each cube get "eaten" by the blades before adding another. (With frozen fruit, the first ice cube or two may need a careful little push with a long spoon to move it into the blender's vortex.)

Pour into glasses and serve immediately.

ALANNA's TIPS The U.S. FDA advises against the consumption of raw eggs to prevent food poisoning from the bacteria salmonella. (For more information, please see FDA Food Facts re Egg Safety). For many years, I used raw eggs occasionally without any problem but now that we're drinking these Protein Smoothies every day, I've taken to buying a carton of pasteurized eggs every couple of weeks, just to be safe. Call me shocked that so little volume is both so satisfying and so satiating. We both look forward to our morning smoothies and me, it can be five to six hours later before I'm hungry again. Our blender is a twenty-year old and probably $20 Oster. With some stops and starts and prodding and poking, it can handle still-frozen fruit and ice cubes dropped one at a time dropped through the lid into the vortex of the blades. Cooks with high-powered blenders such as Vitamix can probably throw in all the ingredients, including both frozen fruit and ice cubes, and be done with it all. The rest of us, we just deal: for me, that means thawing a bag of frozen fruit every two days but adding ice cubes as the final step, occasionally adding a splash or two of water as well. I'm listing the specific brand names we're happily using but please, don't be a slave to the choices that for use, are easy to purchase and easy to keep on hand. Instead, look for your own high-protein choices.

FOR MORE INFO If you "skipped straight to the recipe," please scroll back to the top of this page for ingredient information, ingredient substitutions, tips and more. If you print this recipe, you'll want to check the recipe online for even more tips and extra information about ingredient substitutions, best results and more. See .
NUTRITION INFORMATION Per Cup (assumes banana & PBFit): 153 Calories; 3g Tot Fat; 1g Sat Fat; 70mg Cholesterol; 200mg Sodium; 19g Carb; 2g Fiber; 12g Sugar; 13g Protein. WEIGHT WATCHERS Old Points 3 & PointsPlus 4 & SmartPoints 5 & Freestyle 2 & myWW green 4 & blue 2 & purple 2 & future WW points CALORIE COUNTERS 100-calorie serving = 2/3 cup (9g protein). This recipe has been Alanna-sized to maximize protein and minimize calories and sugar.

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Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, for more scratch cooking recipes using whole, healthful ingredients, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. If you make this recipe, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below.

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Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.