Let’s talk about smoothies. I’m a person who needs breakfast in the morning – if I don’t eat first thing in the AM, I become pretty unpleasant to be around. Plus, breakfast is my absolute favorite meal. There’s nothing better to me on the weekends than a long and leisurely morning spent making banana bread and sipping coffee. But lately I’ve been experimenting with fast and easy breakfast options as a way to streamline my time during the work week, which usually means one thing: Smoothies.
You know a food has hit the collective conscious when it begins popping up on fast food menus. Because of this, the idea of what a smoothie is, especially a healthy smoothie, varies dramatically. Search the word on Pinterest and you’ll be met with everything from super green, veggie-only options, to sugar-bomb dessert drinks topped with whipped cream. Definitely a confusing atmosphere to wade through when you’re just looking for something healthy and nutritionally balanced.
There are usually two main issues that arise with smoothie recipes: way too much sugar and not enough protein and fiber to balance it out. A morning smoothie should be a meal, not a dessert. It should fill you up and keep you even-keeled until lunchtime rolls around. Because so many smoothie recipes contain large amounts of fruit, sugary flavored yogurt, and juice — all seemingly healthful things — that intense and covert rush of sugar sneaks right by, spikes your blood sugar, and before you know it, two hours have gone by and you’ve crashed. And you’re hangry. In my opinion, the perfect smoothie contains the right balance of hydration, leafy greens, seeds for fiber, some naturally occurring sugars, and protein. I like to use the formula below:
I’ve been tweaking two variations of the same smoothie recipe over the course of the past few weeks with the goal of making them high in protein and reasonably low in sugar. Check ’em out below:
Green + Cocoa
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drink immediately. This is also good with an added 1/4 cup of black coffee.
Green + Blueberry
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend on high for 30 seconds. Drink immediately.
I love experimenting with new combinations, but to make sure my portions stay in check, I measure everything in the same Ball glass I’ll be drinking from and I also find it helpful to imagine all of the ingredients in their natural state sitting on a plate together as a meal. If you can see yourself eating it all at once, you’re probably good. It’s important to keep in mind that there’s no one number for the amount of food we should each be eating, it varies considerably from person to person. I think the key to finding what works for you is experimentation, trial, and error. Talking to a nutritionist and using a nutritional calculator can be extremely helpful as well.
Do you have a favorite morning meal? Please share!
More healthy recipes from the BLDG 25 blog.