I go through cycles as an eater. I’ll have oatmeal for breakfast for months on end, and then abandon it completely for a year. Yogurt was my meal of choice for most mornings in 2013, but in the past few months, it has been relegated to “afternoon snack” status (a definite downgrade, since breakfast is my favorite meal of the day).
In its place? Smoothies. All of a sudden, I can’t get enough of them — as a frosty reprieve from the heat, a refreshing post-workout treat in the mornings, an easy “on the run” pre-meal before Sunday brunch.
They are so easy, so versatile, so virtuous, that it almost seems unfair. Packed with fruits and greens, with ground flax or chia seeds thrown in, they’re almost the ideal “healthy meal,” but so creamy and thick (thank you fro-bo!) that they feel more like a milkshake than a glass of spinach. The lone issue to watch out for — sugar content — is somewhat mitigated by the fact that at least it’s all natural sugars, and since you’re blending everything together, there’s no fiber loss like there would be with green juices. (The fiber slows down the absorption of the sugar in the fruit, so you don’t get the spike-crash situation that you would otherwise.)
In smoothies past, I’d been relying exclusively on frozen bananas for that thick, creamy texture. But then I realized that avocados make for equally “rich” smoothies, minus all of the sugar of bananas (and the added boost of healthy fats to keep you satiated for a longer period of time — important when you’re drinking your calories). Of course, I couldn’t go cold turkey from my fro-bo addiction, so I threw half of one in here. But I’ve had it with and I’ve had it without, and it’s delicious either way.
To counterbalance the bitterness of the kale in this version, I threw in some pineapple. But any combo of greens and fruit would work — spinach, beet greens, chard, berries, mango, peaches (oh how I’ve missed you, summer peaches!). You could add a scoop of yogurt for extra protein (or protein powder, obvi), and some chia or flax seeds for added fiber. Just make sure you drink it cold. And often.
Note: As I mentioned in this month’s newsletter, frozen greens and fruit are a budget smoothie-maker’s best friend — they’re much cheaper than buying fresh, are just as nutritious, and since they’re already cold, you don’t have to worry about crushing ice.
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Adapted from Alida’s Kitchen
– 1/2 cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
– 1/2 avocado, diced
– 1 cup fresh or frozen greens (I used fresh kale, but anything will work)
– 1/2 cup almond milk (or pineapple juice, soy milk, water, etc.)
– 1 teaspoon flaxseed or chia seeds (optional)
– 1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1) Blend all of the ingredients until smooth. Serve immediately.