My Apple Cinnamon Protein Smoothie comes with a story and health benefits.
Late last September I spent a lovely weekend at a friend’s cottage with my partner, in Lake of Bays, Ontario. It was a quintessential Indian summer weekend. The quality of the light shining off the water and shining through the fir trees was absolutely beautiful.
Hanging with the ducks at the cottage
On Sunday before we left my host asked me to help him pick the apples from one of the trees on his property. For my help I got a huge box-full of healthy, organic apples. They’re like a Mac-hybrid — red-skinned with a very white, crispy flesh that has the right amount of sweetness without being tart.
They were the perfect eating apples and I’m sure they would have made a delicious apple pie but I used them as a healthy food staple and fruit snack instead.
I like to grate an apple into my salads or add a couple to a meat dish — they go well with pork and one of my favourite meals I made was sweet Italian sausages with apples, onions and balsamic vinegar.
Health Benefits of Apples
Apples are a smart addition to a protein shake or smoothie. They contain a healthy amount of fibre and are both low on the glycemic index (GI — low in total sugar) and glycemic load (GL) compared to other fruits. By comparison, a very ripe banana will score high for both GI and GL. Here is an explanation of both terms:
Fresh Ontario Apples
The glycemic index of a food refers to the effect the food has on the body’s blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels are raised after you eat foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches).
The glycemic load (GL) is a more accurate tool to assess the impact of eating carbohydrates. It gives a more complete picture than does glycemic index alone because it includes the amount of carbohydrate in a serving. A GI value tells you only how rapidly a particular carbohydrate turns into sugar. [Source]
If you are watching your weight and minimizing sugar consumption fruit may be something you need to avoid or limit. In the very least always consume fruit as part of a balanced meal (i.e. combined with healthy fats and protein), which will slow down sugar absorption and control insulin spiking.
1/4cupWalnutsOr use pecans, or 1-2 tbsp. organic all-natural peanut butter
1tspChia seeds - groundor Ground Flax Seeds
2HandfulsSpinachOr Kale (just remove the hard stems from the kale)
1tbspFlax oilor fish oil
2-3slicesFresh ginger root
20-30grVanilla whey protein powder
Wash the apples, and cut into quarters, removing the seeds and the core.
Add the apples and other ingredients to the blender, except for the protein powder, and blend on high.
When everything is pureed, add the protein powder while the blender is still running and blend another 15-20 seconds.
Use slightly more or less water depending on the consistency you desire and how well your blender purees.
Drink immediately or take your apple protein smoothie in a blender cup to enjoy later. Keep refrigerated (if you can) if you are making the shake as one of your meals for the workplace or school.
Macintosh or Red Delicious would be great choices for this protein smoothie.
My preferred protein blend is Precision All Natural Whey Isolate; unflavoured and unsweetened. The whey is free from hormones used to feed cattle, as well as free of artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours and preservatives.
If you can't get the unflavoured, vanilla is your next best choice. Trust me, chocolate protein powder and kale do not taste great together!