Even though back to school doesn’t apply to me, I can’t help but feel it’s kind of the start of a new year. Cottage season is coming to an end, the air is getting crisper and the days feel a touch shorter. It’s feels like a time of change! And what a perfect opportunity to create some health goals so I can carry my healthy summer glow into the fall. One habit I hope to continue is eating a nutritious breakfast (not always easy for me, as I seem to really like sleeping in), which keeps my energy up and hunger under control throughout the day. My go-to healthy breaky is smoothie. I’ve been putting them together for a few years now, and let me tell you dear reader: I know how to throw together a pretty tasty smoothie.
How to throw together a killer smoothie
Always a good standby, blender drinks are a quick and easy way to get a nutritious breakfast. And if you’re like me and hit snooze a gazillion times every morning, then you’ll be happy to hear shakes are portable – just pour in a mason jar and enjoy in transit or once you’re at work.
One thing I tend to do this time of year is freeze a bunch of summer produce to enjoy throughout the colder months. Peaches, plums, nectarines and berries all make superb additions to a smoothie. I also like to make sure I freeze some bananas, as I prefer a cold, frothy smoothie (this is also a great way to use up overripe bananas). But fresh bananas work well in a pinch.
My key shake ingredients are as follows: frozen or fresh fruit, almond milk (though I’m sure any type of milk works just as well) and yogurt.
Those ingredients work well when you’re too lazy to make a super amazing smoothie. If you’re up to the challenge of making an wonderfuly healthy and tasty smoothie, here are my top suggested add ins:
• Oats. High in protein and fibre, oats help make a shake a complete breaky for me. Add your oats to the blender first and give it a whirl to break them up before adding the rest of your ingredients.
• Nut butters. Peanut, almond, hazelnut and pumpkin seed butters have all found their way into my smoothies. I love the hint of one of these rich butters in my fruit-based drinks, and the velvety consistency it adds.
• Ground flax. Flax is high in fibre, omega-3 and antioxidants. I add a tablespoon from my jar of ground flax seed from the freezer. (Note: Flax seeds should be ground before use to release the health benefits. You can grind them in a coffee grinder. Store ground flax seed in the freezer.)
• Ginger. I keep a piece of peeled ginger in the freezer just for smoothie purposes. Simply hold a grater over the mouth of your blender and grate some ginger into your shake. Ginger is a great immunity booster and anti-inflammatory, and it is known to relieve stomach troubles. And if you’re pregnant, ginger can help keep nausea and morning sickness and bay. A grating of ginger will add nice kick to your morning smoothie.
• Vanilla. I’m not sure if there are many health benefits associated with pure vanilla extract, but I can tell you that it tastes really good in a smoothie. Simply add a small dash before you blend up your ingredients.
• Spinach and/or kale. Sounds kinda weird, I know. But trust me on the following: 1 cup spinach or kale, 1 cup any type of milk (I use unsweetened almond milk), 1 frozen banana, small dash peppermint extract and 3-4 ice cubes. This is one of my go-to morning blender drinks. It’s incredibly easy to put together and it’s so refreshing! This is a variation on one of my fave blogger’s (Angela Lindon over at Oh She Glows) Green Monster recipe. Disclaimer: I prefer spinach to kale in this drink (even though I LOVE kale). Give both a try and let me know what you think. (This morning’s spinach smoothie pictured above.)
What do you put in your smoothie?