My original Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie has served me well. I make one every morning without fail. It’s still an easy and nutritious way to start my day. Recently, I had to buy the Carnation Instant Breakfast variety pack because the market was out of the big tub of milk chocolate flavor and I discovered something…although I still hate the vanilla and strawberry flavors, the dark chocolate variety is far more rich and delicious than the milk chocolate. There’s a hitch though. The dark chocolate flavor ONLY comes in the variety pack. I’ve been a big fan of CIB powder…it’s helped me get well and be well fed over this past year with Gastroparesis. All of us GPers know that frankly, when we’re really sick, have no appetite and are having trouble maintaining weight, sugar content is the last thing on our minds, getting enough to eat is the first but I’ve always had a nagging concern about all the added sugar in CIB (its second on the list of ingredients).
I’ve developed my own version of CIB powder using instant nonfat dry milk and dark, rich natural cocoa powder and not a stitch of added sugar. The fresh milk, dry milk and banana in the smoothie already provide carbohydrates without the added sugar of CIB. I already take a quality, high potency, daily liquid multivitamin supplement by Now Vitamins so the 10-25% RDA of vitamins and minerals found in CIB powder seems insignificant and redundant by comparison.
According to the Hershey’s website, natural cocoa powder (not dutched or dutch processed) contains healthy fat, antioxidants and a small amount of fiber (cocoa like coffee, is derived from a bean). These antioxidants, called flavanols, are associated with good cardiovascular health, healthy cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure. Two tablespoons of natural cocoa have more antioxidant capacity than 3 1/2 cups of green tea, 3/4 cup blueberries and 1 1/3 cups red wine.
According to World’s Healthiest Foods, bananas are one of the best sources of potassium, essential for maintaining normal blood pressure, heart function and promoting bone health. A simple mixture of banana and milk creates an antacid effect by suppressing stomach acid production. Bananas also contain pectin, a soluble fiber, called a hydrocolloid that can help normalize movement through the digestive tract and ease constipation…yes, you heard that right! Although bananas are best known for treating loose bowel movements (think BRAT diet:bananas, rice, applesauce and toast…all coincidentally GP-friendly…something to ponder) they also can promote healthy bowel movements by providing soluble fiber to relieve constipation.
Milk and whey protein powder are excellent and easily digestible (as long as you’re not intolerant!) sources of protein. Milk contains most of the nutrients essential for the body to carry out its daily functions. According to Barlean’s, the makers of Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement, flax oil is nature’s richest source of vegetable-based Omega 3 fatty acids and promotes heart health, healthy cholesterol levels, joint mobility and bone density, energy, healthy blood glucose and skin, hair and nail health.
Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder
Approximately 12 servings at 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) per serving
2 1/4 cups instant nonfat dry milk
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
sweetener of your choice, if desired, I like mine unsweetened
Mix milk and cocoa powders thoroughly…a wire whisk works well. Store in an air-tight container (I’m using my old CIB tub).
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
68 calories, 2 grams fat, 1.6 grams fiber, 6.8 grams protein
Banana Chocolate Protein Smoothie Revamp
1 cup skim milk
4 tablespoons Mary’s No Sugar Added Instant Breakfast Powder
1 scoop chocolate flavored whey protein powder (I use Whole Foods brand)
1 large ripe banana*
1 Tbl Barlean’s Omega Swirl Flax Oil Supplement- Strawberry and Banana flavor (available at health food stores and on-line @ http://www.barleans.com)
Blend until smooth.
Nutritional Information Per Serving:
Based on a large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long)*
433 calories, 7.4 grams fat, 5 grams fiber, 33.3 grams protein**
*Small banana (6″-6 7/8″ long): 90 calories, 0.3 grams fat, 2.6 grams fiber, 1.1 grams protein)
Medium banana (7″-7 7/8″ long): 100 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.1 grams fiber, 1.3 grams protein
Large banana (8″-8 7/8″ long): 121 calories, 0.4 grams fat, 3.5 grams fiber, 1.5 grams protein
**If either of the fat or fiber numbers concerns you, reduce the cocoa powder by half in the Mary’s No Added Sugar Instant Breakfast Powder, omit or reduce the flax oil supplement or choose a smaller banana.