How many times have you woken in the morning, determined to make a change, determined to start “eating healthy”???
So you make yourself a breakfast smoothie, because that’s what all the fit healthy people on Instagram do right?
You drink it down and feel completely righteous for about an hour and half, then give in to a carb and sugar loaded snack because you are actually just down-right starving!!!!
This is often the case because the smoothie is lacking one of the three macronutrients or is too high in sugar with not enough fibre. Smoothies made with a whole lot of high sugar fruit, sweetened yogurt and milk do little to keep you full, rather they give your blood sugar one big hit and an equally big drop an hour later.
Well we have all been there and it started me thinking more carefully about what we are really trying to achieve by having a smoothie. We want NUTRITION ie. a morning hit of vegetables and fruit that we wouldn’t get from toast or wheatbix. We want CONVENIENCE, something quick to make and easy to consume on the go. And we want AFFORDABILITY, it’s just breakfast after all. We don’t want to have to take out a second mortgage when toast IS an option. And last but probably the most important, we want SATIETY (that satisfying feeling of fullness).
So here are my tips for making a satisfyingly filling, nutrient loaded and completely affordable breakfast smoothie.
First things first – make it BIG enough!!!!! You wouldn’t expect half a piece of toast to keep you running all morning, and neither will a tiny half-glass kids sized smoothie. Everyone will be different but I need a good 500ml smoothie at least. Make it a decent size and take your time to enjoy it.
Now for the actual “nuts and bolts”…
As a base for my smoothies I have three keys ingredients:-
- 1 Banana
- 1/2 cup of natural yogurt
- 1 TBSP chia seeds
The banana gives sweetness, soluble and insoluble fibre and helps bind it all together and make it creamy and delicious.
The yogurt balances the flavour with a nice “tang” and adds some good nutrients like calcium and probiotics. Try coconut yogurt if you are dairy intolerant, or maybe coconut cream or nut milk.
The chia seeds add fibre, protein, and omega-3’s along with some vitamins and minerals. If I have none of these in the pantry a handful of rolled oats or raw nuts go just as well.
To this base you need to add some good healthy fat, this is to keep you feeling satisfied and full and to help the metabolism of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat also keeps our brain happy and functioning well. Your brain is largely made up of saturated fat, as are your cell membranes and hormones, so giving your body what it needs by adding them into your diet just makes sense. I would usually add 1/2 an avocado or 1 dessertspoon of extra virgin coconut oil. Another option is to add in a handful of raw nuts, almonds are great and cashews make it super creamy.
Now we need the colour and flavour components. This is where we get to bulk up the vitamin and antioxidant load. Try:-
- 1/2-1 cup of blueberries – I always keep a bag of frozen ones in the freezer
- 2 handfuls of fresh spinach, silverbeet or kale
- 1 cup of fresh mango or pineapple
Lastly, a bit of liquid content and all you need is water, seriously. So many recipes call for milk or nut milks which you can absolutely use, but with everything else in this smoothie they are unnecessary and frankly, just bump up the overall cost. Especially if you are using nut milk.
You can always add in any of the optional extras like protein powder, raw egg, greens powder or what I am enjoying at the moment, LIFESTREAM Sprouted Superfood Powder.
So the keys here are:-
- Make it BIG enough
- Include all the macronutrients – carbohydrates, protein and fat
- Include plenty of fibre to fill you up and slow the absorption of glucose
- Use vegetables and fruit as flavour and bulk, rather than relying on milks and flavoured yoghurts.
Comment and let me know what your favourite smoothie combo is….