The Perfect Heart Healthy Morning Shake

Say “Good morning” with the perfect heart-healthy shake!

A heart-healthy diet is not only for lunch and dinner, it starts first thing in the morning. So why do so many people skip breakfast? Is it because “I don’t have time” or “I don’t feel like eating so early?” Or maybe you just grab a bowl of cereal because “It’s easy.”  Breakfast often gets low priority among everything on your “to-do” list to get out the door in the morning. If you’re trying to lose weight you may want to rethink skipping breakfast. A protein shake provides a fast, no-brainer meal to stay full, focused, and fabulous all morning.

A protein shake can also help you lose weight. Among its benefits, studies show a high-protein breakfast suppresses your hunger hormone ghrelin, curbs your appetite, and crushes cravings.

One meta-analysis using six studies concluded a meal replacement “can safely and effectively produce significant sustainable weight loss and improve weight-related risk factors for disease.”

Besides being fast, easy, and fat burning, protein shakes become a convenient, healthy option whether you’re traveling, on the road, or stranded at your office.  Here is an option I often recommend to my patients who are trying to lose weight, increase their intake of fruits and vegetables and just generally improve heart health.

Breakfast Protein Shake:

1 cup unsweetened soy milk or almond milk

1 scoop whey, rice or pea protein

1 cup frozen fruit of choice (berries, etc.)

1 cup raw or frozen spinach (optional)

1-2 Tablespoons Flax, hemp or chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla

Can add a pinch of stevia for sweetness


There are lots of different ways to make a great tasting protein shake.  Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Pick a Liquid 4-8 oz.  Less liquid = thick shake.  More liquid = thin shake

  • Water
  • Almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk (all unsweetened)
  • Cow’s milk
  • Iced green tea

Step 2: Pick a Protein Powder

  • Vegan
  • Rice
  • Pea
  • Whey

Step 3: Pick a Veggie 1-2 Handfuls

  • Dark leafy greens like spinach, kale or Swiss chard
  • Pumpkin or sweet potato
  • Beets or beet greens
  • Cucumber or celery
  • Powdered greens supplement

Step 4: Pick a Fruit ½ – 1 cup

  • Frozen berries, banana or cherries
  • Apples
  • Pineapple or mango

Step 5: Pick a healthy Fat 1-2 Tablespoons

  • Walnuts
  • Flax, hemp or chia seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Peanut or nut butter

Step 6: Pick a Topper (optional) just a sprinkle or spoonful

  • Cacao nibs or dark chocolate
  • Yogurt
  • Oats or granola
  • Cinnamon

Blend all the ingredients from steps 1-5 in your blender, top with your favorite topper, put in a to-go cup and you are out the door to enjoy a satisfying, high energy morning!

Information provided by SDCA staff dietitian Susan Buckley, RDN, CLT. For more information on heart-healthy meals or dietary advice, visit our Nutrition Counseling page or our website at


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