A friend recently asked me for some smoothie recipe suggestions and it got me thinking. My routine these days is to have a green smoothie every other morning, and I've been playing it safe so far. The same tried and true ratio each time:
- 1 banana
- 1 big handful spinach or kale
- 1/2 cup fruit (usually frozen berries or frozen mango)
- 1 cup almond milk or water
- 1 scoop brown rice protein powder
- 1 tbsp ground flax
- goji berries sprinkled on top
Deeeeeelicious, filling, and energizing - all good things! I call it the Green Angel Smoothie and I suggest you give it a try before you wrinkle your nose at the idea.
However, it's important to break out of your routine from time to time, especially when it comes to breakfast, as most people find they eat exactly the same thing every morning (or in some cases, don't eat anything at all). So I decided to mix it up this morning and create a chocolatey orangey smoothie, still green, but with chia seeds instead of protein powder. You can see my concoction at the end of this post. I discovered a similar recipe on Pinterest (where else these days?) which has become my new favorite time-waster. Instead of a long boring list of bookmarked recipes I want to save from around the web, I love the visual bookmarking Pinterest provides. So I urge you to use yours as a place to be inspired for recipes, even if you're not the most confident cook!
Back to the smoothies. Whether you have a state-of-the-art Vitamix or a basic blender, smoothies are so easy and quick, they give us no excuses about skipping breakfast. Rather than the overly sweet stuff you might find at a Jamba Juice or Boost Juice, this is a golden opportunity to add in booster foods and leafy greens where you'd otherwise forget or avoid them completely.
Elements of a Perfect Breakfast Smoothie
- The fruit you include (especially a banana) helps to mask the sometimes bitter flavors of leafy greens. While the greens may create an odd color, don't let that put you off!
- Make sure to add protein. This will set you up with a load of energy for the whole day and will help to balance your blood sugar levels. Protein options for smoothies include: plain probiotic yogurt, hemp seeds, chia seeds, protein powders (I like Sun Warrior, organic whey, or Bauman College's own Vital Scoop), spirulina or chlorella.
- Texture is key! Like a more liquidy smoothie? Add more liquid! Fancy something thicker? Less liquid, more frozen fruit - also fun to eat in a bowl with a spoon! If you need some crunch, top that smoothie with toasted seeds, goji berries, freeze-dried raspberries, toasted coconut flakes, or cacao nibs.
- This is your chance to get some much-needed fiber. I like to get my fiber via seeds, such as ground up flax, chia, or hemp. Luckily, these all blend up nicely and are barely noticeable in smoothies. However, chia and flax both swell when added to a liquid, which may make for a thicker smoothie if you let it sit for a little while.
- Get creative! Come up with a combination of smoothie ingredients that follow a theme. I created the Sunshine Smoothie for a recent workshop I gave on Winter Blues: all of the fruit involved is yellow, making for a beautiful breakfast! It includes frozen mango, banana, pineapple, apricots, and lemon zest. Feeling adventurous? Add half an avocado instead of a banana for great smoothness without the sweetness.
- Stock up on frozen fruits. Most grocery stores sell bags of chopped frozen fruit or berries at great prices. Mango will offer a sweeter and smoother mixture, berries will add texture and a rich color, sour cherries bring a tangy tartness. Best of all, they last for months, so you'll always have access to the base of a great smoothie.
Still need more inspiration? Whole Living have a wonderful slideshow of beautiful smoothies just perfect for breakfast. My friend Gabriela occasionally tweets her awesome green smoothie concoctions. And the Green Monster Movement is just filled with recipes. Go forward and blend!
Cacao Orange Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Keywords: blender breakfast beverage snack gluten-free nut-free soy-free sugar-free vegan vegetarian wheat free