Easy And Delicious Breakfast Smoothies
Health experts repeat over and over again that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We know that it kicks off the metabolism and maintains the blood glucose levels. Those of us trying to lose a few pounds know that eating a healthy breakfast every morning promotes weight maintenance and weight loss. The importance of breakfast has sunk into our brains. So why is it that, when our morning schedules are too hectic, breakfast is the first thing we cut out in order to get to work on time?
Mornings can be stressful for a number of reasons; not enough sleep the night before, trouble waking up, wrestling unwilling children out of bed, or trying to leave early just in case there are traffic problems. But cutting out breakfast won’t make the morning, or the rest of the day for that matter, any easier. Even the most turbulent mornings seem a little better when your stomach is full and your body is properly nourished.
Of course, there are those who will stop by a bakery or coffee shop before work and buy a coffee and pastry to go for their morning meal. This is just as bad in the long run for anyone trying to improve their overall health. Coffee may boost your mood and energy for a while, but we have all experienced the sudden drop in energy when the caffeine wears off. Pastries may also seem delicious and filling, but let’s not think about how much sugar you’re putting into your body first thing in the morning.
So now the question is; how can you start your day right, without spending ages in front of the stove cooking a healthy breakfast. The easy answer is; breakfast smoothies.
Whether you think juicing is worth a try or more trouble than it’s worth, smoothies are a far more effortless breakfast alternative. You don’t need to extract juices from the fruit in order to get the full benefit. In fact, it makes a smoothie better if you use as much of the fruit as you can in order to bulk up the drink and get all the essential nutrients. One of the best things about smoothies is that you can cut up the fruit weeks in advance, freeze it, and still have a great tasting breakfast even months later. There is no reason why, with a little advanced preparation, you can’t have a healthy and delicious breakfast, even when you have to run out of the house.
Also, smoothies don’t have to be solely made up of fruits and vegetables. You can add yoghurt, nuts, or even oats. In fact, the only thing limiting you is the power of your blender, but you can always do some research online and find out which is best suited for your needs.
Here are a few easy, but delicious, smoothie recipes to save you time in the morning and packed with essential nutrients to get your day off to a fantastic start. If you’re really strapped for time in the morning, simply make these the night before, stick them in the fridge overnight, and enjoy chilled the next day.
Spinach, Grape, and Coconut
If you find homemade smoothies to be bitter or tasteless, seedless green grapes are an excellent way to add a little sweetness. Coconut milk is a tasty alternative to soya and almond milk, and can be the base for all your breakfast smoothies. As for spinach, it is loaded with tons of nutrients in a low calorie package that makes weight maintenance completely effortless and keeps your body healthy. Spinach is low in fat and even lower in cholesterol, high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. Dark, leafy greens like spinach do wonders for your hair, skin, bone health, and it’s possible that the improve blood glucose control in diabetics, and lower the risks of developing asthma and cancer.
As you may have guessed from the title of this recipe, you only need three ingredients to make this delicious and unbelievably healthy smoothie. Just stick the spinach, grapes, and coconut milk into a blender and blend until it’s smooth and frothy.
Raspberry and Nut
Swap your favourite PB&J sandwiches for a tasty smoothie made with low-fat milk, frozen raspberries, and your favourite nut butter. Add a banana for a thicker smoothie, and a little agave syrup for extra sweetness. Almond butter is highly recommended for this recipe, and the benefits of almonds have been praised around the world. Their most celebrated benefit is the reduction of cholesterol, but almonds are also low in saturated fatty acids, and contain fiber, and protective phytosterol antioxidants as well as plant protein. Research has shown that snacking on raw almonds can reduce hunger in dieters, helping them to reduce their calorie intake when eaten on a daily basis. Why not bulk up the calories in this smoothie by adding a handful of raw almonds before blending it to smooth perfection?
Chocolate and Peanut Butter
Peanut butter effortlessly bridges the gap between meal and snack in a way that no other food can. If you’re dieting, and you miss the indulgent sweetness of peanut butter cups, then this smoothie will curb the cravings, and maybe even replace them altogether.
The chocolate in this smoothie comes from three tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. When it isn’t compromised by the high amounts of sugar you get in your favourite chocolate bar, cocoa has a lot of benefits for your body. In addition to fibre, iron, and magnesium, cocoa may also have the ability to boost endorphins, and therefore reduce depression.
The rest of the ingredients are a frozen banana, skim milk (or your favourite milk substitute), flavoured or unflavoured Greek yoghurt, a tablespoon of agave syrup or honey, and one tablespoon of peanut butter. You may have to scrape the sides a few times to get everything properly mixed when you’re blending it, but this is a sweet smoothie that is well worth the effort. Who knows, you may find yourself indulging in this instead of dessert after dinner.
Strawberry and Banana
A simple, yet classic smoothie that manages to pack in a lot of flavour with very few ingredients. Also, this strawberry and banana smoothie is an excellent example of fruits you can prepare and freeze for weeks at a time, yet still have a great tasting breakfast. Although banana adds a creamy texture to all smoothies, the secret to the thickness here is in the natural yoghurt. There is considerable nutritional value in natural yoghurt, including calcium, magnesium, and Vitamin B12. Most importantly, natural yoghurt has probiotics, which increase the activity of white blood cells and the production of antibodies - both of which are essential for your immune system.
Mix in a small amount of honey to bring out the sweetness of the banana and strawberries, and add 300ml of low-fat milk (or your favourite substitute) to prevent it from being too thick.
If you’re use to having breakfast in the form of a pastry, you may eventually come to miss the sweet indulgence. Before you give in to temptation, however, try this Apple Pie smoothie. Once you’ve had this, you will never go back.
Admittedly, this is a more indulgent breakfast smoothie since the recipe doesn’t call for any actual apples, but you can shop smart and try to find an apple juice not made from concentrate, or whip out your juicing machine and get the good stuff straight from the source. Similarly, find an applesauce with as few added ingredients as possible, or use the apple pulp leftover from the juicing to make your own, healthier, alternative. Season your apple pie smoothie with ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and agave syrup for extra sweetness. The creamy texture of this smoothie is credited to the low-fat vanilla yoghurt, and the whole banana. This healthy drink would also be delicious as a dessert every once in awhile.
Blueberry and Almond
Almonds make a comeback in this delicious smoothie, but the real heroes are the blueberries. These tiny berries are packed full of fibre, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and potassium, just to name a few nutrients. The most well-known benefit of blueberries, however, is that they are full of antioxidants; more so than any other fruit in the world. Before you get too concerned, oxidative DNA damage is a part of everyday life; it is a part of the reason we grow older, but it also plays a part in the development of diseases like cancer. The reason blueberries are so important, is because antioxidants can neutralise the causes of oxidative DNA damage, thus helping us to prevent cancer and protect against some of the signs of ageing.
This recipe only calls for blueberries, almonds, and almond milk, but you could make this smoothie extra creamy by adding a banana.