Healthy living is more than just finding those perfect recipes. It is about combining them with daily healthy habits that will sustain you for years to come. Now that you are coming home from the market with more fresh vegetables (like we talked about in earlier posts), and adding more vegetables to your diet, let's talk mornings. I want to share with you my favorite, let me say that again...FAVORITE way to add in those leafy greens, first thing to start your day. I have been blending smoothies now for 6 years. Every. Single. Morning. And it does not get old. In fact, my body loves green smoothies. The 1 or 2 times a year that I miss them, I can feel the difference the whole day. And the best part: my husband and kids love them too! (Ok, I have one child who drank them for a few years, but doesn't anymore. But 3 out of 4 isn't bad, right?) I don't even have to sneak the leafy greens into the blender anymore when they're not looking. The kids ask me when I'll be making our smoothie and have come to rely on our morning ritual as much as I have.
Starting with leafy greens and good fruit first thing in the morning is such a great habit to form. I have more energy and less cravings through until lunchtime. Are you worried about the cost of making a smoothie every day? We have made room in our budget by giving up unhealthy breakfast foods so that I can always have our smoothie ingredients on hand. Most of these items I buy in bulk so that I have plenty of options to choose from each day.
I have a Bosch blender, which I love, but if you are just starting out, then buy whatever blender you can afford. As you begin to rely on smoothies like I have, you will naturally let unhealthy things drop out of your budget to save up for an upgrade when the time is right for you.
I have found over the years that all of our smoothies need a few certain components to make them a success:
1. Leafy Greens. I generally use spinach, kale or a mixed variety pictured here. I stay away from cabbage and other more bitter leafy greens and save those for soups and salads.
2. Something creamy. A banana adds a great creamy sweet texture. Avocados add a yummy smoothness. And of course there is low-sugar yogurt or milks (normal, almond, rice, soy, cashew, coconut etc) that are great too. Sometimes I'll add more than one to be extra creamy!
3. Fruit. I feel like this is what determines the real flavor and outcome of the smoothie. If I want tropical I'm going to go heavy on pineapple and mango. If I want pink berry, I of course use frozen mixed berries. Sometimes I use just blueberries. I like being creative and changing it up.
4. Add-ins. I love boosting our smoothies with a variety of seeds and powders to add healthy plant-based proteins. Some favorites include: chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, flax oil, non-whey protein powders, peanut butter powder, or any nut butter. This transforms our smoothies into super-smoothies. It's a fun process of experimentation and it's ok if not every single smoothie is a win. That's how you'll learn.
For this recipe I used the following in this order:
Mixed leafy greens- filling the blender to half (1/4 if just beginning)
1/2 c plain yogurt
1 c frozen mixed berries
1/2 c frozen strawberries
2 TBS chia seeds
Lastly, I add about 4 cups of liquid (all water, or a mix of milk and water)
When I blend, I let it run for a full minute or two so that everything is nice and smooth. If your blender can't handle the frozen berries, try letting them soak in the blender for a few minutes first. After trying the flavor, if it needs to be sweeter, add more banana or a pinch of stevia and re-blend.
Serve them in small cups with straws and your kids will slurp them down and be asking for more. Like I said, we LOVE green smoothies. And by green, we mean: pink, blue, purple, maroon, yellow, orange, and brown, because the color changes daily. Check back for more smoothie recipes that we will be posting regularly and blend away! What are your favorite green smoothies?
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