Tag Archives: protein powder

Breakfast Smoothies

Protein Acai Bowl Recipe and a $100 Naked Nutrition Giveaway!

Thank you Naked Nutrition for sponsoring this post. Make sure to read all the way to the bottom to learn how to enter this awesome giveaway!

I am on a major acai kick right now! Acai bowls are nothing new, and they’ve been incredibly popular here in LA for the last 5 years or so. I’ve had them at juice shops around here, but I usually find them to be way too sweet, and I never felt like I was truly eating something that healthy. It wasn’t until recently, per the great recommendation of my friend Kelly, that I started buying frozen acai from Whole Foods and making my own Protein Acai Bowls at home.

Protein-Packed Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

So, you might wondering, what the heck is acai anyway? You can think of it as a cross between a blueberry and a grape, and they grow on skinny palm trees in South America. Acai is so popular to eat because it’s very high in antioxidants (which keep us healthy and prevent illness), while being extremely low in sugar.

Protein-Packed Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

You can find acai packets in the frozen section of your grocery store. Make sure to check the ingredients, though, because some contain added sugar. I really like these organic smoothie pouches from Acai Roots and they contain 0g of sugar.

Protein-Packed Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I love adding Naked Nutrition’s Pea Protein Powder to my acai bowls. Their products are called “naked” for a reason. There are no added colors, sweeteners, or anything artificial in their protein powders. In fact, the only ingredient in the pea protein powder is pea protein.  I add just one tablespoon of it to my acai bowl, and that contains 6-7 grams of pure protein. Because their protein powders are unsweetened (and unflavored), I always mix it with natural sweeteners like frozen bananas and dates.

Protein-Packed Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

I’ve been looking for a good non-dairy protein powder for a long time because I can’t digest whey or casein, but most vegan protein powders I’ve tried tasted so earthy. When you blend this Naked Nutrition Pea Protein with the right ingredients in a high-speed blender, you’d barely know it’s there. You guys know I’m all about eating natural, whole foods, and this protein powder fits the bill.

Protein-Packed Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you’re interested in trying a Naked Nutrition product, you can use the code LILCHEF for 10% off your order

Plus, Naked Nutrition is giving away a $100 credit to one lucky reader! To enter, leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite way to use protein powder. I will randomly select one winner on Thursday, June 8th at 5PM ET. Good luck!


Protein Acai Bowl Recipe
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 serving
  • 1 packet frozen acai
  • ¾ cup almond milk
  • ⅔ cup frozen banana chunks (about ¾ of a banana)
  • ½ cup fresh spinach
  • ¼ cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 Tablespoon (1/2 scoop) Naked Nutrition Pea Protein
  • Granola and nut butter of your choice for topping
  1. Run the frozen acai packet under hot water for 10 seconds. Cut the packet open and break the frozen acai into chunks.
  2. In a high speed blender, combine the acai pieces, almond milk, frozen banana, spinach, frozen blueberries, and protein powder. Blend for 1 minute, scraping down the sides and adding additional almond milk as needed. The consistency should be smooth, like a very thick smoothie.
  3. Pour into a bowl and top with your favorite granola and nut butter.

Protein Acai Bowl with Blueberries and Spinach! This recipe is gluten-free, vegan, and refined sugar-free! Plus, you can make it in under 5 minutes! // www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Eats Lately

What I Ate Thursday

I love when bloggers share their daily eats because I always get inspired with new meal and snack ideas. Today, I am jumping on that bandwagon and showing you what I ate Thursday!

Yesterday morning, my alarm clock went off at 5AM and I forced myself out of bed. After quickly getting ready, I ran to the gym and conquered a tough back and bicep workout. By the time I got home, my body was HUNGRY, so after a speedy shower I rushed to the kitchen to make this delicious protein shake:

Protein Shake

In the mix was: 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 3 large ice cubes, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 scoop chocolate egg-white protein powder, and 2 teaspoons of instant coffee. I love adding instant coffee to my morning shakes now because I get a good dose of protein and caffeine all at once! I chugged half of the shake and brought the rest in the car with me to finish on my way to work.

Protein Shake - Little Chef Big Appetite

A few hours later, my tummy started rumbling, so I grabbed a Kind Bar from my desk drawer (where I stash all my snacks!) I am hooked on this flavor, Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein = YUM!

Kind Bar - Little Chef Big Appetite

For lunch I had a delicious salad that I packed and photographed the night before. I combined pulled chicken breast from the slow cooker, sliced strawberries, apples, toasted pecans, and a delicious new balsamic vinegar to create this bad boy. (All of this was thrown into plastic tupperware to transport to work).

Lunch Salad - Little Chef Big Appetite

As I was taking these pictures on Wednesday evening, I found the best lighting was actually on our living room floor, so Bessie ran over to get in on the action. She was incredibly well-behaved. Instead of lunging at the chicken, she just sat patiently waiting for me to pet her. I was shocked! What dog sees chicken in a bowl on the floor and doesn’t think it is for them? Little Bessie is getting pretty darn smart…

Salad and Bessie - Little Chef Big Appetite

Around 4 o’clock on Thursday my usual hunger rolled in, so I grabbed a quick snack of plain Greek Yogurt with blueberries and my Cardamom Granola. I pretty much eat this combo every day now and I am far from sick of it!

Greek Yogurt - Little Chef Big Appetite

Travis was out for a work event last night and by the time I got home I had no desire to cook myself a “real” meal, so I ended up having breakfast for dinner. I made my favorite protein pancakes and topped them with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter. No complaints here. I was a happy camper!

Protein Pancakes - Little Chef Big Appetite

Looking back on it, almost everything I ate yesterday was “breakfast” type food. Not that I care because that is my favorite meal of the day!

Well, that about sums it up. What was your favorite meal you ate yesterday?



Please note: I am not a registered dietitian. What works for my diet may or may not work for yours. Please consult your doctor with any nutrition or diet concerns.

Breakfast Smoothies Vegan

Mango Coconut Smoothie

Travis and I have a trip planned to Hawaii in about a month, so I have everything tropical on my mind. Mangoes were on sale at Whole Foods this weekend for 4/$5, so I immediately grabbed a few because usually they are at least $2.50 a pop.

Mango Coconut Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.comMangoes always remind me of summer. My mom used to buy a giant box of them at Costco and we would go through them like candy, just the two of us.

Mango Coconut Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

This Mango Coconut Smoothie is a variation of my Basic Protein Shake recipe. It was incredibly refreshing after my very sweaty workout this weekend. If you’re able to plan ahead, frozen mango gives this smoothie the best texture, but otherwise fresh mango will still be delicious.

Mango Coconut Smoothie Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Now if only I was lounging on a beach chair and someone magically transformed this drink into a Mango Sunrise….now that would be perfect!


Mango Coconut Smoothie
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ¾ cup frozen or fresh mango
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder*
  • ½ Tablespoon shredded coconut (or more to taste)
  • 3 large ice cubes
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil (optional for a serious coconut taste)
  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Serve with additional shredded coconut.
*You can substitute ½ cup Greek Yogurt for the protein powder if you wish. You may need to add a bit of honey or vanilla extract for additional sweetness.

Breakfast Smoothies

Basic Protein Shake + Variations

On weekday mornings I am always in a rush because I work out in the morning before work. I’ve been doing the same routine for about a year now, so from the moment my alarm goes off at 5:00AM, I have my morning schedule locked down to the minute. I have to squeeze in my workout, shower, getting dressed, and breakfast all before I rush out the door to hit the road (read: traffic).

Given this mad dash to get out the door in the morning, I try to minimize my time making breakfast to as few minutes as possible.


I’ve already shared with you two of my favorite protein-packed breakfasts: Overnight Oats and Protein Pancakes. Another one of my go-to breakfasts, especially when I am crunched for time, is a protein shake.

It took me awhile before I found a protein powder and shake consistency/texture that I really enjoyed. I try to avoid dairy in my diet, so whey protein powders were never an option. My favorite protein powder is Jay Robb’s Egg White Protein Powder (which I use in my Chia Protein Bars). I love the Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. Both taste delicious (just like a milkshake), and they mix very well so there are no gritty bits or strange aftertastes like you can get with other powders.


I like my shakes thick, so I add lots of ice and half a frozen banana to get this consistency. The shake comes together in under 3 minutes, so it is perfect for a fast weekday breakfast or to enjoy after a workout to refuel.


If you guys have any other non-dairy protein powder recommendations, I would love to hear them! I am always looking for great-tasting protein powders with as short of an ingredient list as possible.


Basic Protein Shake


1 cup Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk

3-4 Ice Cubes

1/2 Frozen Banana

1 scoop Vanilla Protein Powder


Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth, about 30 seconds.



Peanut Butter Banana Protein Shake: Add 1 Tablespoon of all-natural peanut butter to the mixture.

Strawberry Banana Protein Shake: Add 4-5 frozen or fresh strawberries to the mixture.

Mocha Protein Shake: Substitute chocolate protein powder for the vanilla. Add 2 teaspoons of instant coffee to the mixture.



Gluten-Free Snacks Vegan

Chia Seed Protein Bars

I’ve been on a real Chia Seed kick for the last year. I put these little guys in everything – yogurt, overnight oats, and now I make protein bars with them, too!

Chia Seed Protein Bars Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

If you have never had chia seeds, or you’ve seen them in the store and are hesitant to try them, here are a few things that may sway you:

– They are a great source of healthy fats, fiber and protein. Just one tablespoon has 70 calories, 3 grams of healthy Omega-3 fatty acids, 6 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein

– Chia seeds have no taste. That is why they are easy to add to anything.

– The seeds expand when they touch liquid, so many people use them as a thickening agent to make healthy puddings and smoothies. (Warning: getting a chia seed stuck in your teeth is worse than getting a poppy seed stuck. As I said, it expands…so I just hope you have a hand mirror or an honest friend nearby…)

Chia Seed Protein Bars Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

For all of those reasons, chia seeds are a great addition to these bars. They blend right in with the nuts and dried fruit, and add a great dose of fats, protein, and fiber.

With no added sugars, these chia bars are super healthy. So long processed granola bars and high-fructose corn syrup! We are all about real, nutritious ingredients nowadays.

Chia Seed Protein Bars Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

These bars are very easy to make – everything goes in the food processor.  When all of the ingredients are blended together I roll out the mixture with a rolling pin and then cut them into 6-8 bars. I then place the cut bars in the freezer to harden.

Tip: The first time I made these, I rolled out the mixture, froze it, and then tried cutting the bars. It was a bad move. The bars ended up crumbling so much that 1/3 of the mixture went to waste. My advice is to definitely cut, then freeze.

Chia Seed Protein Bars Recipe l www.littlechefbigappetite.com

Wrap these bars up individually for the perfect grab-and-go healthy snack.


Chia Seed Protein Bars
Prep time
Total time
  • ¾ cup almonds, unsalted
  • ¼ cup pistachios, unsalted, shells removed
  • ¼ cup pitted dates
  • ¼ cup raisins (or dried cranberries)
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I love this kind)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  1. Grind the almonds and pistachios in the food processor until they become like course sand (not too fine), about 30-40 seconds. Then add the dates and the raisins and grind again for another 30 seconds. Next, add the protein powder, chia seeds, applesauce and coconut oil. Grind for an additional 30 seconds until the mixture is well combined and moist and slightly sticky (If the mixture is not moist enough add about ½ Tablespoon more of coconut oil and mix again).
  2. Remove the mixture onto a large cutting board. Place a large piece of wax or parchment paper over the mixture and using a rolling pin, roll the mixture into an even thickness. Cut into 6-8 bars and leave on the cutting board. Place the board in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and wrap individually in saran wrap. To ensure shape and freshness store the bars in the fridge for one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months (I can assure you that they will be eaten long before that, though). I prefer mine straight from the freezer!
I have also divided the mixture into 6-8 balls and pressed each ball down into a muffin pan. I then put the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes. After, I used a knife to help me remove each chia portion from it's muffin cup and wrapped them individually in saran wrap.