This delicious, vanilla chia seed protein-packed smoothie is perfect for those grab-and-go mornings when you’re short on time but still need a quick, nutritious breakfast.
This is such a healthy and delicious smoothie that will definitely be a breakfast favorite in your low carb journey with only 3 net carbs. Each serving is about a cup and it stores well for a day or two in the fridge. So perfect for busy mornings!
Also, if you work out, this is the perfect post-workout smoothie that helps with muscle repair and speeds up recovery, without taking in more carbs.
This is typically made as a breakfast but who says you can't have it for a quick replacement meal or a pick-me-up midday snack? I know there are some days I don’t feel like eating dinner but don’t want to go to bed without eating, lest I wake up in the middle of the night to a growling stomach!
This protein smoothie can also be an excellent quick meal for times like these - just enough to hold in the hunger but not too heavy that I feel so bloated and uncomfortable.
Ingredients used and substitutions
Protein powder: I used this Isopure Zero Carb protein powder. I like that it has zero carbs and is flavorless, that way I can better control the flavors I want. There are a lot of protein powders loaded with sugars and other hidden ingredients.
I have tasted some low carb or keto protein powders and immediately gagged because of the blend of sweetener used. But this protein powder is just plain whey protein and contains only two ingredients.
Sweetener: I don’t like most of the low carb sweeteners out there but I love Monk Fruit sweetener with Erythritol. It doesn’t have any weird aftertaste or upset my stomach in any way.
I use this in a lot of my recipes, just like this low carb spicy coleslaw. You can use your favorite low carb sweeteners, instead.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are tiny, little black seeds that really pack a punch. One ounce (two tablespoons) contains a whopping 10g of fiber! They are loaded with antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and reduce inflammation, among other powerful health benefits.
Even though they are a whole-grain food, they are naturally free of gluten so this works for those on a gluten-free diet too.
Nut butter: Nut butters are a great way to pack in some more healthy fats into your diet. I used cacao butter which is a zero carb nut butter, with a very mild flavor and packed full of antioxidants and vitamins. It solidifies into large chunks in cooler weather but you can break off a chunk to use.
You can easily substitute with peanut butter or almond butter, but they do contain some carbs and some brands of peanut butter have been known to contain sugar as well.
Coconut Oil: You can use any refined or unrefined coconut oil depending on whether you like the coconut taste or not. I personally do, so I used unrefined coconut oil.
Unsweetened Coconut Milk: This can be very easily substituted with almond milk or any low carb milk but I am partial to the nutty flavor of coconut milk. It is important you use a more watery milk like coconut or almond milk and not coconut cream or heavy whipping cream.
The heavier creams will make this smoothie extremely thick and you might not want that since the chia seeds already make it thick enough.
Flavorings: I use ginger and vanilla extract as a flavoring. The ginger gives a slight spicy kick to this smoothie which I absolutely love! You can add cinnamon or any spice and play with the flavors till you get what you like.
Kitchen tools used: To blend this smoothie, nothing beats the convenience of a smoothie blender like this Ninja Personal Blender. Other similar personal blenders will work but since I have a large Ninja Countertop blender, I wanted to be sure the accessories would fit.
I love the ease and convenience of using this as I don’t like lugging around my huge blender just to blend one serving of a smoothie.
How much chia seeds can you eat?
Chia seeds contain a lot of soluble fiber which draws in a lot of water and swells in the stomach. They can absorb about 15-20 percent of their weight in water!
This has the advantage of making you full very quickly and can help with satiety. But there is a flipside. Eating too much chia seeds can cause terrible bloating and digestive issues, so use in moderation.
This recipe only calls for one tablespoon so it does not cause any issues. But if for any reason, you feel bloated after drinking this, you can cut back to half a tablespoon or omit it altogether. It does provide a lot of bulk though, so omitting it will make the protein smoothie a lot lighter and less filling.
Don’t forget to drink a lot of water so you don’t get dehydrated since the chia seeds soak up a lot of water like a sponge.
How to prepare vanilla chia seeds protein smoothie
Combine all ingredients together and blend using a smoothie blender for a minute. If it is too thick, add a splash of milk and blend again for 10 more seconds. If not thick enough, add a few more ice cubes and blend for 10 more seconds.
Tips on making ahead
I like to have the ingredients together the night before so that in the morning, it’s a quick grab, blend and go. Note that the chia seeds will expand if left overnight so if that bothers you, you can add it in the morning just before you blend.
I actually like it when the chia seeds swell and expand, as it fills me up for several hours. If you blend before storing it in the fridge, it becomes very thick in the morning and you’ll have to add a bit more milk and stir or blend again.
Vanilla Chia Seed Protein Smoothie
- Add the almond milk first, then add the other ingredients.
- Blend using a personal blender or nutribullet for about a minute.
- Serve and enjoy!