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Morning Smoothies!

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Joe and I are moderately healthy people. By that I mean, we try and eat fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats, but we also eat pizza every Friday, and we love donuts and desserts too. One thing we've talked a lot about recently is how we need to make food-related adjustments now while Bert is still too young to observe what his dad and I eat and how much and when. One of our plans to help with this is to plant a garden of food this spring. We are blessed with a yard that offers ample space to plant, and we have been looking at the types of things we'd like to try and grow. I need to investigate more, but right now we are hoping to grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, strawberries, and herbs of all kinds. (We already have TWO pear trees that offer an ABUNDANCE of fruit. Sadly, pears are low on the fruit favorites list for Joe and me, but we are learning to like them. They'll also make great baby food!) I have a hope that we won't have to buy as much produce from the store and instead can go outside and gather lots of things we need. I also have a dream of Bert playing in the dirt, helping plant and harvest the garden, and picking all his summertime snacks straight off the vine.

One thing I thought of that would help us get more nutrients is to have a smoothie with or for breakfast. I don't know about you guys, but sometimes my food plans for the day can go by the wayside for any number of factors, no matter how much I plan, but starting the day with a healthy smoothie at least guarantees that we've had some sort of serving of fruits and vegetables in a day. I've made smoothies in the past, and one thing I've learned is there's really no "recipe." But here's what I've been playing with that I like:

- Plain Greek yogurt (This is the "liquid" base for ours. I love Greek yogurt! It is low in sugar and high in protein. We just use the Great Value brand for the sake of economy. I just put "some" in. If I had to guess, maybe half a cup? I don't know, I'm poor at physical estimation.)

- Half a banana (This is great for us because I only like bananas that are green, but smoothies are a great place for bananas that are a little past their snacking prime. No waste!)

- Whatever fruit we have on hand (We always have fresh apples, red grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. Lately I've also been buying frozen mango, raspberries, and peach slices. It's fun to play with the combos to figure out what you like!)

- A handful of spinach (Yep! I pluck the stems off of ours and just toss it in! You can't taste it at all, and think of the nutrients!)

AND THAT'S IT! If I don't use frozen fruit, then I'll add a couple ice cubes because we like them really cold. But you don't have to! And if I feel like it's a little too thick, then I'll add in a splash of almond milk.

I'm hoping to add more things in the future, like maybe some kale or a splash of elderberry syrup. (The other day I bought some off of a neighbor who makes herself, and I'm really excited. I plan to make some gummies with it, so I'll let you know how that goes when I do it!)

Some fruit combos we've been liking are strawberry/mango and blueberry/peach. But I really can't see you going wrong with any fruit combo! I'll usually toss a handful of grapes into every smoothie. We've been doing our morning smoothie for several days, and Joe told me this morning that his (maybe about 12 oz.?) smoothie fills him up till about 2:00 p.m. Wow!

Right now I use a simple Ninja that my aunt got me, which works just fine, but I'm looking into buying a blender (we don't have one) that's geared toward smoothies to see if I can make them just a little more smooth!

As an aside, one thing that has been absolutely LIFE CHANGING in terms of us eating more fruits and veggies is that -- if it's a snacking-type food -- I wash and cut it up as soon as I get it home from the store. We don't have cartons of strawberries or blueberries or random bags of baby carrots or grapes lying in the fridge. I bring these things home, wash them and cut them up (if applicable), then store them. Yes, it's more work up front for sure, but I am willing to spend the extra 15 minutes up front for the ease of grabbing them for smoothies, to put in yogurt or fruit salad or lunches, or as snacks. SO MUCH EASIER and so much more likely we'll eat them and they won't go bad. 

Let me know if you have any great smoothie ideas!

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