With our fast-paced life, many of us tend to skip or delay meals, resulting in feeling depleted and exhausted. Often, it also makes us reach for less-than-optimal snack and meal options. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (which often also comes coupled with shortage of sleep) especially need to be getting a well-balanced nutritional intake daily.
Fortunately, there is an easy addition to daily meals that provides additional nutrient-rich foods your body needs: smoothies.
People get overwhelmed when considering making a smoothie, but the truth is – once you get the routine down, it’s easy:
– Include some healthy fat. I love avocadoes for the texture, taste, and nutrition. Coconut oil is another option – just consider that it will crystalize if you are using some frozen ingredients alongside it.
– Add greens: spinach, arugula, kale, beet greens, collards, chard, or whatever else you have around. I just step outside into the garden and pluck a few leaves.
– Include berries for antioxidants – anything you have around is good – frozen/fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, cherries, currants, etc.
– You can add an apple, pear or banana to sweeten the smoothie if you like. Don’t put too much in though, fructose is still a sugar and not great in large quantities.
– Use water for a plain smoothie or coconut/almond milk for a more creamy consistency.
– Blend and enjoy.
You can experiment by varying the ingredients. Add ground flax seeds, pumpkin, chia or hemp seeds for a protein boost. Make a creamy smoothie by using coconut or almond milk with cocoa, some greens, and seeds. Avocado pairs nicely with pineapple for a tropical variation.
Some practical tips I’ve arrived at:
– Prepare the smoothie the night before – combine all the ingredients except for water (and perhaps chia seeds as they will thicken overnight) and put the blender jar into the fridge. In the morning, just grab the jar, add water and seeds, and blend.
– Rinse/soak the blender jar, lid, and spatula right after you pour the smoothie out. That way you can wash it easily later.
– Use up kids’ lunch leftovers. My kids get a variety of fruit and vegetables for lunch and sometimes not all of it gets finished. I throw the leftovers into the next day’s smoothie in the evening, when I’m making their next day’s lunches. Any fruit, berries, carrots, cucumbers can be saved from being thrown out by making them a part of a delicious smoothie.
– If you are making a smoothie for one person, you might end up with more than you can pour out into a tall glass. No worries, stick the blender jar with the rest into the fridge, and keep refilling your glass. I find that the smoothie does not survive longer than a few hours in the fridge, so when I’m working from home, I just seep it throughout the morning.
It’s a morning ritual for us now: I blend a smoothie in the morning, my youngest child fetches the straws for everyone, I pour it into glasses for the kids and my partner and into a wide-mouth stainless steel water bottle for me, to drink on the way to work, and we all enjoy a smoothie as part of our breakfast.
Smoothies are a great way to ensure we get enough nutrients and keep up our energy throughout the day.