I’m trying to increase my protein intake, and for me, one of the easiest ways to do that is to add a protein shake to my day. I’ve got a couple of favorite store bought ones, but I wanted to try and get the same flavors and textures at home. One of the downsides of protein shakes is that if you don’t do it right, you end up with a grainy texture – which I dislike. I also tend to have to adjust the ingredients slightly, and then again, so I end up with enough smoothie for the next week. I had a bunch of strawberries to use up, and added a ripe banana as well so that I could have the extra vitamins before my walk. The oatmeal adds some fiber to help me stay full longer, as well as being heart healthy. Almond milk is always an alternative in smoothies, and works great, but I went with skim since it’s high in protein and calcium, but lower in fat. A little vanilla helps to bring all the flavors together. The result was a perfect smoothie. I used it for a snack both before and after my walk. Since I had some congestion recently, I was using some Emergen-C to get extra vitamins to try and prevent getting any more illnesses (that seem to be going around). I added my packet of Emergen-C to the second half of my smoothie and gave it a good shake. It added a little bit of fizz to the smoothie, which really seems to lighten the smoothie. The end result of that I liked it so well, I thought I’d add a little sparkling water or club soda into the second half of my smoothie, just to freshen it up. That’s easy to do, and if you make sure your sparkling water or club soda has no flavorings that add points, you don’t alter the points of your original smoothie. However, when adding the carbonation – be careful not to stir or shake too vigorously or you’ll end up with a little more cleaning than you wanted!