When I was little, my mom would make us “banana milkshakes” — frozen bananas and milk blended together — as a dessert. She’s never been big on junk food, and this was a good way to make sure overripe bananas didn’t go to waste.
I high school, my preferred breakfast was very similar: peanut butter and banana smoothies. Adding peanut butter to the simple banana-and-milk smoothie not only kicked up the flavor (seriously, bananas and milk are pretty boring), it also thickened up the smoothie to a true milkshake-like consistency. Delicious.
Directions: Simply put your frozen banana(s) in the blender, and almost cover them with milk. Blend them up and add a Tablespoon or two of peanut butter. If the blender stops making process, the mixture probably froze, so then adding some peanut butter or some more milk will help loosen things up. Add and blend ingredients until you reach your desired consistency — each smoothie is different!
Tips: I like to use at least one banana per person enjoying the smoothie. If you don’t have any frozen bananas, fresh (ripe!) bananas work, too, but you’ll probably have to add some ice cubes. In that case, make sure you don’t add too much milk, or the smoothie will be too thin. A mix of frozen and fresh bananas is great. Also, adding some chocolate — unsweetened cocoa powder, low-cal chocolate milk or Ovaltine — makes for a fun twist.
If you can have dairy and peanuts, you can stop reading there. 🙂
One of the things I loved about this smoothie was that it provided healthy protein (about 16 grams with the skim milk and peanut butter) and fiber in the morning. But after eliminating dairy and peanuts, I went looking for ways to add protein back into this go-to breakfast.
I generally use almond milk (for the banana smoothie, I like to use a combination of the plain unsweetened variety and the chocolate variety). Sadly, almond milk has basically no protein. (See “The Dairy Dilemma.”) And as I can’t have soy, that eliminates a lot of widely available protein powders. A few months ago, however, I found a variety of protein powders made from rice, peas, hemp and more at the Natural Health Center in Kalamazoo.
The rice protein powder I ended up purchasing does not have the best flavor or texture (both are chalky), but it offers 16 grams of protein per scoop. I use one scoop per smoothie, but I make a two-banana smoothie to help disguise the protein powder texture. It’s not the best-tasting thing ever, but it is filling and satisfying. (Also, I sometimes like a fruitier smoothie — banana and mango, banana and strawberry, etc. — so having this rice protein powder available means I can try those combinations that don’t call for nut butter, yet still get some protein. If you can have dairy but not nut butter, try one of these combos and add Greek yogurt. Yum.)
For most smoothies, I’ll add either cashew butter or almond butter (or a combination of both). It seems like you have to add more of these butters to get the same taste and texture effect as adding peanut butter, and almond butter seems to work a little better in this recipe than cashew butter. Almond butter is usually the more-expensive of the two, but Target’s Archer Farms almond butter is usually slightly cheaper than its cashew butter.
With the 16 grams of protein in the rice powder and the 5 or 7 grams in the nut butters, I can enjoy a nearly identical allergy-friendly version of my favorite breakfast!