I have been unacceptably delinquent with my blogging lately. I could try to blame it on the fact that I just moved house, but the reality is that it’s probably more a function of the summer lazies. Why cook dinner when you can order sushi, crank the AC and watch four back to back episodes of Downton Abbey? Who’s with me? Whatever the reason for my delinquency, please forgive me, and allow me to make up for it with smoothies.
I’m going to to out on a limb and suggest that smoothies are the **perfect** busy family breakfast food. Simple, fast and portable, a smoothie can be whipped up using ingredients you can buy, and store, in bulk. And a smoothie done right is a nutritional powerhouse: a great way to sneak in lean protein, leafy greens, fibre, and even a hefty dose of iron. (Try getting that from a sesame bagel with cream cheese.) And most importantly, especially if you have a little mouth to feed: smoothies look beautiful and taste like dessert. Yum.
I’ve given you our favourite “recipe” below, but it’s really more of a formula that you can adapt to use up what you have and what you like. The basic components?
- Frozen berries: This is the backbone of a yummy smoothie, and a great source of fibre and antioxidants. Frozen is key to leaving your smoothie thick, frosty and creamy; I don’t recommend using fresh berries. I buy organic frozen berries in bulk when I find them on sale (they are usually no more expensive than their conventional counterparts) and store them in my deep freeze.
- Banana: Frozen or fresh, the banana is the sugar for your smoothie. More banana = sweeter smoothie. I typically use a half banana for sweet berries like cherries, strawberries and blueberries, and a little extra banana for tart berries like raspberries.
- Leafy greens: Imagine how awesome you will feel after consuming two whole cups of greens…for breakfast! Fresh (not frozen) pre-rinsed baby spinach is the gold standard, in my humble opinion. When blended with everything else, the spinach turns velvety smooth and is totally undetectable. Kale works too, but imparts a grassy flavour that I don’t much love.
- Plant protein powder: Protein is the nutritional lynchpin, and the key to keeping you fuller, longer (and if you believe the hype, leaner too). And I’m not talking that supersonic sugar-laden bodybuilder stuff here. There are some amazing, minimally processed, single-plant protein powders out there. I particularly like hemp protein, which packs a whopping 15 grams of protein, 8 grams of fibre, and 25% of your daily iron intake. All in a measly 2 tablespoons! If you find the nutty flavour comes through too strong for you, add a little bit of extra banana to take the edge off.
- Yogurt: Yogurt adds creaminess, calcium and extra protein. Skip the sugary stuff (you won’t need the extra sweetness) and use plain, either regular or greek.
- Liquid: Pretty much anything will do–juice, water, cow’s milk, almond milk, coconut milk. The amount will depend on how thick you like your drink–the less liquid, the thicker the smoothie. Duh.
What’s your favourite smoothie formula?