Step up to the Smoothie Bar!

 
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In our house we make delicious smoothies for ourselves every morning and in order to make it impossible NOT to do it, I have us set up for inevitable success by having all of the items easily accessible and ready to go.

Starting the day with a healthy homemade smoothie is pretty much one of the best habits you can create for yourself.  It’s so easy to pack a smoothie with nutrient dense ingredients that give you protein, fiber and fat and provide awesome morning energy that lasts all the way until lunch.  Unfortunately we often fall behind in the morning and the thing we sacrifice is breakfast and end up grabbing something on the go which usually ends up being a muffin or a bagel – or for many people, skipping it altogether.  How you begin your day and what you put into your body is so important in order to have a great day and to Feel Your Best.

First things first – the Vitamix!  If we had to take it out and put it away every morning I think the chances of making a smoothie would be ZERO.  So we gave the Vitamix some prime counter real estate in our tiny NYC kitchen.  It’s there and ready to go!

Some smoothie ingredients need to live in the refrigerator and freezer so your never without the staples for success: unsweetened almond milk (we use Califia brand), almond butter (unless you have a nut allergy),  baby spinach (we are always stocked with a clamshell of organic baby spinach – ready to go, needs no washing – just grab a handful!), frozen peeled bananas and frozen berries (I keep these in storage containers for easy access), pumpkin puree (full of fiber and delish!) and an avocado.  I like to mix it up by eliminating the sweet fruit and using pumpkin or avocado just to have some sugar free days.

And now for the most exciting part – On our kitchen island I have created the smoothie bar!    We have a bunch of mason jars (I’m a huge fan of mason jars) lined up with all of our fixins to make sure we can create yummy smoothies that hit all the right notes – delicious, nutritious, and packed with enough protein, fat and fiber to keep you satisfied for hours.  Good quality organic ingredients can seem expensive but once you stock up they actually last a good while.  You’re just using a spoonful at a time so one bag goes a long way.

 

Here’s what I recommend!

  1. Organic ground flaxseed  (I like Spectrum) – Use 1 Tbsp.  Flax contains Omega-3 essential fatty acids ( "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects), lignans  which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities and fiber which plays a huge role in controlling blood sugar, blood pressure and reducing inflammation and losing weight!
  2. Organic Maca Powder (I like Navitas) – Use 1 tsp. Maca is a Peruvian root that has been used as a source of nourishment and healing for thousands of years.  It helps to fight stress and increase energy.  It also has a naturally sweet flavor so it makes a great flavor addition to your smoothie if you decide not to use fruit!
  3. Organic Hemp Hearts (I like Manitoba) – Use 1 tsp. Little hemp hearts are such a perfect food!  They are a complete protein and also contain the essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3.  In addition, hemp hearts are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, as well as the minerals calcium and iron.  Wow!
  4. Organic Cacao (I like Navitas) – I tsp or more to taste. Cacao is basically pure chocolate!  It is considered a superfood because it’s full of antioxidants.  Not only does the cacao have healthy benefits but it’s a great way to have a chocolate flavor profile for a smoothie (chocolate and berry is divine!)
  5. Chia Seeds – I tsp. another superfood, chia seeds contain protein, fiber, omega 3, as well as calcium, magnesium and potassium!  Chia seeds create a little custardy texture when mixed with liquid so if you don’t like them in a smoothie they also make a great breakfast pudding.
  6. Turmeric – Turmeric reduces inflammation – something you need all the time!
  7. Cinnamon – Not only does cinnamon add flavor, but also has anti-inflammatory benefits as well as being a powerful anti-oxidant and helps to regulate blood sugar.
  8. Organic Vanilla Extract – Vanilla has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and also adds flavor to your smoothie!

Depending on your diet, if you are eating protein at every meal and use almond butter/ milk you don’t necessarily need to use a protein powder to make a smoothie in the morning.  Keep in mind that a smoothie of just fruit and dairy is more like a milkshake and is loaded with sugar and doesn’t give you enough balance - you need to load up with healthy fat, protein and fiber to make a complete meal.  So having your jars ready to go along with some greens (baby spinach is mild and doesn’t change the flavor at all) is a sure fire way to create a nutrient dense breakfast drink that is nourishing, delicious and… you can pour it into a mason jar and take it with you!

I tell all of my health coaching clients that the key to creating lasting healthy habits is to make it EASY for yourself to follow through.  If you want to be a person who goes through the day with lasting energy, optimal metabolism and feeling light, try changing your morning routine to include a smoothie and set yourself up for success in every way!

 
FoodStacey Brass-Russell