Friday, March 25, 2011

Chocolate Protein Shake

I love creating my own protein shakes, especially in the morning when I am always crunched for time. You can't beat the quickness factor and if you choose your ingredients wisely you have a super balanced meal that should keep you satiated and provide you with sustained energy for at least 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Everybody reacts to food in different ways, but if you find that this doesn't sustain you, brings on cravings or sends you into sleep mode, you may be lacking enough good fat, quality protein or are going too heavy on the simple carbohydrates.

As a parent of two teens I always try to lure them away from the pull of fast food and other junk that seems to be lurking around every corner - from the fast food court at the mall to the church basement at youth group events. I try to come up with recipes that are delicious, don't scream "healthy" and are suitable stand-ins for their current crap-laden faves. Hopefully with this one I will have them at "chocolate shake" without having to even go near the drive-thru.

As far as nutritionals, this recipe has far more protein than a typical fast food shake. I checked out McDonald's stats for their 16 ounce Triple Chocolate version which came in at 13 grams compared to mine which racks up 32.5 grams, coming mostly from high quality whey protein. Whey protein is loaded with amino acids which have been shown to boost mood and behavior along with the protein content which helps with focus and concentration. As far as the sugar content, which is really the "bad guy" of the equation, the fast food option rolls in at a whopping 84 grams, while mine only has a mere 2 grams. Excess sugar may lead to weight gain, fatigue, poor mood and may contribute to a myriad of other health issues. It can also bring on cravings for more of the white stuff - which may make one think that they are lacking willpower, when in fact it is just the simple logic of sugar feeding sugar. Lastly, the fat content - although the numbers aren't that far off - 14 grams in the Mickey D's, 12 in mine - it's the quality of fat. In my recipe I use coconut oil, a healthy fat which actually accelerates fat burning in the body and helps keep you satiated, is great for healing the gut and makes skin glow. Oh - and the calorie factor - mine comes in at 267 calories while McD's is a staggering 580 - both approximately the same serving size.

So, if you're looking for some quick, easy and healthy breakfast or snack options to fuel yourself or that seemingly always ravenous teen, save yourself a trip to the drive-thru and whip this up in no time in your own kitchen. Feel free to experiment and make your own combinations using nut butter in place of the coconut oil, vanilla protein powder instead of chocolate, or adding a few berries to give it a fruity flavor - the options are endless!

Chocolate Protein Shake

1 C Vanilla Almond Milk ( I use unsweetened Blue Diamond in the box)

1 scoop Jay Robb Chocolate Whey Protein Powder (smartly sweetened with stevia)

12 drops liquid stevia (I use Sweet Leaf by Wisdom Foods)

1/2 Tablespoon coconut oil ( I use Nutiva brand)

2 ounces cottage cheese ( I use half a container of the little four ounce Breakstone's lowfat

1/2 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghiardelli)

Mix in a blender until well combined and serve. Feel free to adjust quantities to your liking, knowing that this may change the nutritional profile slightly.

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