When is the last time you made a nutrient dense meal in under 2 minutes flat? Smoothies have been a long standing staple for breakfasts around my home, for both myself and the kids for good reason. The standard American diet does not get nearly enough fruits and vegetables, and the USDA reports that the most popular vegetables are far and away potatoes in our fries and tomatoes in our pizza and ketchup. Research shows us that people who eat a large variety of fruit and veggies every day can fight illness, kick cancer, lose weight, have better skin and hair, and are generally healthier.
Smoothies are the easiest way I can think of to get leafy greens into my kids diet before 8am (without them even knowing) and are extremely time efficient, easy to make, and provide us with all the energy and nutrition we need for an amazing start to the day. This guide will provide you with the endless options that superfood smoothies offer, starting with what you already have in your kitchen.
1. Choose Your Liquid: You will want to use about 1 cup of liquid for a 16-20 ounce smoothie: Water, coconut water, tea, coconut/almond/hemp milk are all good options.
2. Frozen fruit: This is an economical way to get organic fruit into your diet and you can most likely find large bags at your favorite supermarket, coop or membership store. Throw bananas in the freezer for this use as they get too brown to eat. Use 1-2 cups of frozen fruit, depending on the consistency you am looking for, and try berries, cherries, mangoes, peaches, pineapple and banana’s.
3. Use a handful of spinach, swiss chard, beet greens or romaine for a more neutral flavor or kale (thick spine removed), arugula, or bok choy for “earthier” flavors. Just don’t get stuck in a rut here, be sure and rotate your greens on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to get ALL the benefits of these amazing additions.
4. Superfoods are defined as “a nutrient rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being”. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of these powerhouses, and experiment to figure out what your favorite combinations are: coconut oil, maca, cacoa nibs, avocado, hemp seeds, camu powder, chia seeds, acai berries, flax seeds, goji berries, aloe vera, raw almond butter, spirulina, certified pure therapeutic grade essential oils such as grapefruit, lime or lemon, or a green superfood powder.
5. Our bodies need protein to provide us with sustained energy throughout the morning and stabilized blood sugars. One scoop of protein powder should be enough, or 2 Tablespoons hemp/chia/raw pumpkin seeds or almond butter. Other items you may already have in your smoothie have protein too such as kale and avocados.
6. Sweeteners such as a date or two, liquid stevia, raw honey, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla or almond extract, 1 tsp cinnamon and a dash of sea salt can help brighten the flavors if you are so inclined.
7. Add about a cup of ice and blend well. This will work best in a high powered blender, and you may need to add more liquid to get a nice texture if you have a standard kitchen blender (nobody likes to chew on bits of kale in their morning smoothie!). If you are using a nutribullet you will just need to cut back on the amounts of ingredients listed here.
Smoothies taste best if you can drink them immediately, however if you must make them ahead of time you’ll notice they begin to separate after about 20 minutes; just give it a good stir or blend again for a minute with an ice cube or two to bring it back to its original consistency.
Hopefully this guide will give you a little inspiration to getting more fruit, veggies and superfoods into your day in an easy way. There is no exact science, so feel free to play around and experiment. The possibilities are endless.