Ever wonder how you’re supposed to get all your vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, amino acids, fiber, AND antioxidants in without having to spend you’re whole day thinking about organizing meals? The solution to your struggle is here: do the breakfast smoothie.
Whatever you do: don’t skip breakfast. A good breakfast fuels you up and gets you ready for the day. People who eat breakfast tend to have more energy, perform better and eat healthier throughout the day. Without breakfast, people can get irritable, restless, and tired, and are more likely to reach for unhealthy snacks before lunchtime.
I don’t have time is NOT an excuse!
The breakfast smoothie literally takes 5 minutes to make, and this can be done the night before if you’re mornings are hectic. Smoothies are a treat to the taste buds, can be taken with you to the gym, work or school and when made with the right ingredients can be the top of the line fuel your body will thank you for.
Speaking of ingredients: what do you need? This blog is not about providing recipes, of which there are already tons online – rather, I’ll provide you with a guideline on how to get the most out of your smoothie. Experimenting with different combinations of flavours and textures is fun and makes me feel like an alchemist.
Examples are coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, and soy milk (NGM = Non Genetically Modified – this should be mentioned on the label), which are all, by the way, superb sources of calcium.
Protein consists of amino acids, the building blocks for all important processes in the body: immune cells, hormones, neurotransmitters (serotonin, dopamine, etc), enzymes – to name but a few – are all build from amino acids. Some good sources of amino acids are nuts & seeds, legumes (beans, peas) and quinoa. The best amino acid profiles (meaning: containing all essential amino acids) however, are obtained from protein powders, such as whey, pea, hemp or rice protein. Just be mindful that your powder is free of additives, artificial flavours and sweeteners cause that would mess up the purpose of your smoothie. You can add your own flavours, as described below.
Antioxidants are substances that may protect your cells against the cell damage caused by free radicals by interacting with and neutralizing them. Free radicals are molecules produced when your body breaks down food, or by environmental exposures like tobacco smoke and radiation.
The king of antioxidants is matcha powder, a type of green tea. Other excellent sources of antioxidants that make great additions to your smoothie are:
– Berries (acai, goji, blue, strawberries) & cherries
– Vitamin C: citrus fruits, kiwi, mango, papaya
– Vitamin E: seeds, nut(butter)s, peanut butter
– Dark chocolate (cacao)
You probably know that you need to eat your vegetables, because they are little bombs of nutrients which is why they are at the bottom of the food pyramid, in other words: the food group of which we need the most daily servings.
What you may not know (yet), is that vegetables taste deliciously refreshing when blended into a smoothie. By adding them to your breakfast smoothie you can tick off at least 1 or 2 of these daily servings.
Dietary fiber from vegetables helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease and colon cancer. Folate (folic acid) and iron help the body form healthy red blood cells and prevent anemia. Potassium may help to maintain healthy blood pressure. Calcium helps with the formation of strong bones. Magnesium is involved with many important processes and chemical reactions in the body. And so the list goes on: in other words – there’s a reason why you have always been told to eat your vegetables!!
Essential Fatty Acids
Important for a thousand and one things as they surround every cell in your body with a protective fatty bilayer, maintain the right balance between pro- and anti- inflammatory processes and between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ cholesterol, support brain and heart function, decrease depression, etc, etc. This is why everyone should be taking a fish-oil supplement. In addition, you can enrich your smoothie with:
– Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Coconut oil
– Nuts (you need a strong blender for these, unless you use nut butters or oils) & seeds/ seed oils (hemp, flax, chia, sunflower, pumpkin, sesame)
If you must use sweeteners, you could use some honey, maple syrup, or other natural sweetener – I prefer not to use them as they are still high on the glycemic index, which causes your blood sugar levels to spike, followed by a crash (which is experienced as drowsiness or a foggy head). And I don’t need them, as the ingredients described above are already yummy on their own! But I do like to add a bit of spices commonly used in herbal medicine for their many health benefits:
– Sweet: cinnamon, nutmeg, cacao, cardamom, ginger
– Spicy: cayenne
And finally: banana. Tastes good with just about anything and gives your smoothie a more creamy texture