Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Liquid Energy for the BusyBody

Looking for a way to squeeze a few more servings of fruits and veggies into your diet? Whip up a smoothie! And I don't want to hear any excuses about how you don't do this because you don't like cleaning the blender. That's just sad, y'all...

To become the king or queen of healthy smoothies, here are a few tricks:

  1. Stock up on frozen fruits. Mango, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches. Those are in my freezer right now. I like having them frozen because they make the smoothie cold and frothy. Berries have great nutrients in them, so get an extra bag of those. And feel free to throw these into oatmeal in the morning - they are perfectly wonderful!

2) Fresh bananas. I like to add about 1/3 to a 1/2 of a banana in my smoothies. It's a great emulsifier and adds potassium and sweetness. Use a little over-ripened banana so you get full flavor without that, you know, brown taste. My secret trick here, since bananas all turn ripe at the same time, is to wait until they are perfect and cut them into the size I'd normally put in a smoothie. Then freeze them. 20 seconds in the microwave allows me to buy bananas in bulk and use them whenever I need them. And since they're already cut, I don't have to wrestle with a frozen 'nana.

3) Okay, do NOT be scared of the following picture. It was delicious! The green comes from spinach and here's probably one of the best pieces on news I have for you: you can add a cup of spinach to every smoothie and never taste it - considering you pair it with fruits. Kale or other dark leafy green works, too. But try this, for real, it's an excellent way to get more vitamins into your diet and a heck of a lot easier to sit by the computer with a smoothie than a sloppy salad you've drenched with dressing.

4) Add nut butters or nuts or wheat germ or flax seed. Again, these add more nutrients. And if you have a Vitamix (I do not, but I've used my Aunt's), you have no excuse not too because that thing pulverizes anything!

5) My final tip for you is to use almond milk. Vanilla is my favorite. It adds a bit more sweetness, because if you've noticed, I don't list sugar as an ingredient. Plus, almond milk doesn't go bad so you can stockpile if it's on sale. Experiment with brands you like - I am a fan of Silk Almond Milk myself.

Here's what I typically put in my smoothies. I try and drink one a day: as a breakfast boost, an afternoon revitalizer, or at night for dessert. Something good about drinking it at night is that I've done all my eating by then and I have an idea of what I missed. If I feel I didn't get enough antioxidants, then I make a berry smoothie.

1/2 cup - 1 cup spinach leaves
4 strawberries
3 slices peaches
1/3 large banana
1/2 cup almond milk
(you can even add a few tablespoons of Chobani flavored yogurt in here)

Pulverize and feel good that you're doing something for all your little cells :)

After I'm sure the smoothie is smooth, I use the froth setting to aerate it a bit - you get into a groove after a while and kind of know the consistency you like best.

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