A couple of days ago, we had my mother-in-law and friends over for dinner and they kindly gifted us a cornucopia of fresh fruit. Berries, grapes, apples, oranges, deliciousness! Yesterday, we had fruit and yogurt bowls to start the day, and today, we went for smoothies. Breakfast smoothies are a great way to start the day, especially when on the go, or in a rush. A lot of people think these are a “light/diet meal” substitute, but in reality they can be incredibly nutrient dense, and both delicious and fulfilling, without breaking the calorie/macro bank. So how can you achieve that? Here are 4 of my tips for constructing a breakfast smoothie:
- Pick 3-5 fruits and vegetables that are nutrient dense even on their own
- Not all fruits/vegetables are created equal. Some are healthier than others. When you pick them, make sure you have a good balance of vitamin and mineral packed choices; and be aware of their contents so you can customize to your needs. For example, watermelon = high in water and Vitamin A, but also high in sugar, and not much else. Meanwhile, Winter Melon = lower in sugar, higher in Vitamin C, but very little Vitamin A.
- Make sure that the majority of your components are low Glycemic Load (GL) and “low” sugar save for one or two
- The Glycemic Index is a record of how food affects blood sugar levels. Food is measured in GL counts (Low = <10, Medium = 11-20, High = >20). The lower the count is, the slower they are to digest, and (like a sustained-release Vit C pill) the more likely is your body to: 1) remain full on them, 2) take advantage of and absorb the nutritional content. A quick search will tell you where food is on this scale. Bananas are high in sugar and medium GL (11) for example, so it’s a good idea to mix it with lower GI fruits (such as blueberries, at 5).
- Add in a healthy fat and protein source
- For some, that may be protein powder, but if you don’t take that, you can also add soy (unsweetened), milk (unflavored, no sugar added), nuts, unsweetened Dutch process cocoa (which is high in antioxidants), or seeds (chia, pumpkin, sunflower, peanut, cashew, and almonds are all good options). Chia in particular is a favorite of mine because it’s got tons of fiber as well as protein, Omega-3s, and more. And, of course, I’m a sucker for peanuts (even though they aren’t the healthiest nut) – they’ve got a lot of folate, vitamin B1, biotin, and protein.
- Allot for about 2 cups a serving
- This is to make sure you get enough of a serving to keep you satisfied! Quality and quantity.
- Lastly: if you must add a grain (and in many cases it’s not really necessary), apply the same principles listen in #’s 1 and 2)
- Some such grains that are nutrient dense and low GI include: rolled oats, steel cut oats, buckwheat, rye.
If you follow these principles, you’ll likely end up with a delicious, energizing, and fulfilling breakfast for when you’re on the go or want to use up your fresh produce stash before it goes bad.
I thought I’d share this particular recipe from today because it’s a real metabolism kick starter, keeps you nice and satisfied, and gets you a lot of your daily vitamin and mineral dose (43% Vitamin C, 7% Vitamin A, 14% Calcium) at just 226 kcal a serving. I look forward to when I can add protein powder (at the moment, I can’t because I’m still breastfeeding and nearly all Whey powder labels have a warning label for pregnant and nursing women). Anyway, without further ado, here’s this morning’s recipe for a berry bombshell breakfast smoothie (makes 2 servings):
- 1/4 cup papaya
- 1 large ripe banana
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2/3 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/2 cup strawberries
- 1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
- 1/4 cup low fat milk
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp PB2 (or your chosen brand of powdered/dehydrated, unsweetened peanut butter)
- 1 tbsp Jiff crunchy peanut butter
- 1/2 tbsp unsweetened Dutch cocoa
Macros per serving:
- Kcal: 226
- Protein: 9g
- Fat: 9g
- Carbohydrates: 35g (of which sugars: 13g)