It’s said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sometimes it just doesn’t fit into your schedule the way it should. OK, let’s face it: If you’re a busy person with a nine-to-five or longer, it doesn’t fit into your schedule on most days.
But how you begin your day will determine how the rest of it goes. Eating breakfast can be the difference between feeling energized and feeling lethargic.
It also matters what you put in your belly when you wake up. Sometimes, it can just feel easier to grab a quick bowl of “healthy cereal” or just skip breakfast altogether and rely on a few cups of coffee to fuel you through the morning. However, I don’t want you to just survive the day; I want you to thrive. I don’t want you to go on the “crash and crave” roller coaster for the entire day, either – something that’s bound to happen if you begin your morning with caffeinated coffee and sugar. In that situation, all of your “energy” is used up by the time work is over. But who wants to waste their daily energy on only work? What about your life after work?
Hail the homemade breakfast smoothie, a quick alternative to a fast food breakfast that can help energize you throughout the entire day. When you toss in some greens, a little fruit and a healthy liquid like coconut water, you are bound to feel energetic and ready to take on the challenges ahead. Starting the day with a smoothie also gives you needed antioxidants, which help protect your body from free radicals, or a type of stress that can damage your body’s cells and, in some cases, lead to serious conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, stroke, extreme aging and cancer. Additionally, when made well, smoothies have a low glycemic index, meaning they’ll help negate that sugar spike and crash and stave off mood swings. What’s more, they are chock-full of vitamins and minerals and are a terrific way to clean toxins out of our bodies that hold on to excess fat.
But remember, all smoothies are not created equal. Many smoothies made at chain cafes such as Jamba Juice, Panera Bread and Starbucks contain way too much sugar. Many of those chains will add frozen yogurt, sugary “good for you” Greek yogurt and way too much fruit. Some even add chocolate sauce, Nutella or spoonfuls of sugar. Sometimes you can get lucky, but it’s important to really look at the contents of the smoothie and ask your barista for “unsweetened,” since even the healthiest-looking smoothies usually have added sugar that’s not on the list of ingredients.
So, what are you reaching for tomorrow morning? I know I will be pulling out my blender to make some long-lasting energy. Here’s how to make a smoothie in five easy steps:
Choose your base. Water, coconut water or a non-dairy milk such as coconut, almond, cashew or soy are your healthiest and most easily digestible options.Choose some greens. Kale, spinach, Swiss chard, parsley, collards, lettuce and other leafy greens give you the most nutrition bang for your calorie buck!Choose your fruit. Bananas, apples, mangoes and berries are all good options. You can choose to leave the fruit out if you are looking to keep the glycemic index low. Choose a fat or protein. Hemp seeds, hemp protein, vegan protein, whey, coconut oil, avocado, flax seed and chia seeds all add protein, which will slow the absorption of all the carbohydrates to keep you fuller longer and keep your blood sugar stable. Add a superfood. Maca root, raw cacao powder, goji berries, camu camu, coconut flakes or bee pollen can boost the nutritional content of your smoothie even more.
Need a little more guidance? Try this peanut butter banana chocolate smoothie recipe, which is one of my very favorites. It’s extremely healthy and energizing, but tastes like heaven!
1 1/2 cups almond milk1 handful spinach1 frozen banana1/2 avocado2 tablespoons peanut butter1 tablespoon raw cacao powder1 stevia packet for added sweetness (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a blender for 30 to 40 seconds, or until the smoothie is, well, smooth. Some blenders such as Vitamix or Blendtec are designed to pulverize anything that’s been put into them.
If you’re looking for more easy and delicious smoothie recipes, check out my “ 7 Day Smoothie Challenge” with over 15 free downloadable recipes. You can try the challenge – which involves adding a smoothie into your routine every day for seven days – or you can just keep those recipes on hand for whenever you’re pressed for time and need an energizing breakfast. Get ready for success all day!