Toronto Star

A vegan smoothie best served in a bowl

- NICOLE OSINGA SPECIAL TO THE STAR

I’m a recent vegan and I’m not sure what to eat for an easy, filling breakfast. I usually add1cup (250 mL) of vanilla almond milk with 1 cup (250 mL) of frozen mixed berries, a banana and 1 cup (250 mL) of raw spinach in a smoothie. How can I improve this? Should I add protein powder?

I applaud you for looking to follow a plant-based diet. Although you may have some difficulty with meal planning, there are clear benefits to this way of eating. A plant-based diet contribute­s to longevity and good health, and plants have much lower caloric concentrat­ion than foods from animals, which lets you eat more without gaining excessive weight.

A vegan diet is not without its critics, as you must have heard the question “how do you get your protein?” a number of times already. In fact, your breakfast is, in fact, low in protein. However, there are many ways to incorporat­e protein-rich plant foods into your diet.

Skip the protein powder for now. You’re going to get greater benefit from whole foods such as nuts, seeds and legumes, which are rich in protein. These foods also contain other nutrients that vegans have to watch for, including iron, calcium, B12 and Omega 3s. By adding some nuts and seeds to your original smoothie, we can change it into a delicious and nutrient-packed smoothie bowl.

Change the vanilla-sweetened almond milk to unsweetene­d soy milk, as this will increase the protein content of your meal by 7 grams and minimize the sugar.

Take your 1 cup (250 mL) soy milk, and add 1 banana (sliced and frozen), 1 cup raw spinach and only 1/2 cup (125 mL) berries to decrease the sugar content slightly.

Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) of hemp seeds to this mix and blend until a thick texture is achieved (you shouldn’t be able to drink it through a straw).

Transfer this blend to a bowl and top with 2 tbsp (30 mL) almonds, 1 tbsp (15 mL) chia seeds and 1 tbsp (15 mL) pepita seeds. Enjoy! Nicole Osinga is a registered dietitian who pumps up readers’ meals every Monday. Want to put yours to the test? Email nicoletoro­ntostar@gmail.com or tweet her at nicoleosin­ga.rd.

 ?? KARON LIU PHOTOS FOR THE TORONTO STAR ??
KARON LIU PHOTOS FOR THE TORONTO STAR
 ??  ?? Your original smoothie, above, contains 300 calories, 3.5 g fat, 64 g carbohydra­te, 6 g fibre, 3 g protein, 344 mg calcium, 1.5 mg of iron, 1 ug B12, which is 42 per cent of the daily recommende­d intake. You new smoothie, left, contains 460 calories,...
Your original smoothie, above, contains 300 calories, 3.5 g fat, 64 g carbohydra­te, 6 g fibre, 3 g protein, 344 mg calcium, 1.5 mg of iron, 1 ug B12, which is 42 per cent of the daily recommende­d intake. You new smoothie, left, contains 460 calories,...

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