So, in an effort to get our vitamins in (and to allow more time in the morning for hitting snooze, of course), we've got into the habit of making smoothies for breakfast, which we drink on the way to work.
So far, they've been all fruit-based---especially with oranges and bananas. I often add berries or some skim milk or plain yogurt. But as this is a habit I DON'T want to break, I want to shake things up and not let it get too boring. So! Inspired smoothie combos, anyone?
Yup! Most of my morning smoothies are spinach-based, if you can believe it. I don't love dairy OR bananas in smoothies, so the spinach thing is right up my alley. It doesn't taste "spinach-y" at all, just clean. My students (picky 8th and 9th graders) love it.
3-4 big handfuls of baby spinach
2 cups water
3-4 pitted dates (for sweetness and potassium)
1 orange, peeled
Then you add 2-4 cups of mixed fruit. Some combos I like are kiwi-pineapple, blueberry-ginger (grate the ginger first to avoid stringiness), strawberry-peach, raspberry-mango. I buy all the fruit from Sam's Club, either frozen (make sure it's unsweetened) or fresh. I tend to prefer simple flavor combos, although I will certainly have a strawberry-peach-mango-kiwi-blueberry-ginger smoothie on occasion. Oh! And fresh flat-leaf parsley or mint are also yummy additions -- and both parsley and mint are full of antioxidants.
I prefer to sweeten smoothies with dates rather than artificial sweetener, since dates are naturally VERY sweet but are also a great source of potassium and other necessary nutrients.
If you like a creamier texture, avocado is another amazing addition -- maybe half an avocado for two smoothies. Good fats galore! :)
I know it sounds weird, but I promise it's delicious. The trick is to blend until VERY smooth. And put it in an opaque container unless you want to field questions about why you're eating pond scum. ;) I'm sure you can imagine how healthy it is -- you're getting at least 2 servings of veggies and at least 3 servings of fruit just by drinking it!
If I want something creamy, I do a really simple smoothie like strawberries, honey/dates, and (homemade) almond milk.
Dairy-free smoothies are especially good in the winter if you've got a cold or sinus stuff because they're not (ahem, sorry to be so graphic) mucogenic like dairy.
Good luck! :)
Oh, thanks for the dates tip! I may have to ease into the spinach----once when we were first married I (ambitiously) made cream of spinach soup from scratch and it was, like, radioactive green. To Husband's deep fear and horror. (Though it tasted just fine). To this day he still reminisces about the Bright Green Soup...
k.ts, I actually began with parsley instead of spinach for Green smoothies. Even just one handful is really adding a lot of nutrients, and baby spinach hardly has its own flavor. I guess the really hardcore green-smoothie folks do kale and lettuce. I'm not that brave. You can't cover up the cruciferous-veg flavor no matter how much fruit you put in it, IMO.
Glad you started this, k.ts--I usually do the same old thing, Fage 0%, o.j., berries, banana and flax seed. I really need to branch out and saved this one involving apples & cucumbers (scroll down after you click on the link)....I figure I can EASE into veggie smoothies...haven't tried this one for Sweet Veggie Smoothie yet but plan to soon:
This is not too original, but I really like plain whole fat yogurt (well, who doesn't?, but there is a very good local brand here that I buy), a frozen banana if I have one, or else an unfrozen one, a few ice cubes, about a tablespoon or so of peanut butter, and some honey or sugar. Coincidentally, I had some dates recently, and cut up some of them, but some of them seemed to ball up in little pieces at the bottom of my glass. If anyone has any advice on getting them not to do that, I'd be interested.
Re: dates, the order of ingredients is essential -- the liquid (and in my case, spinach) and dates go in first, and get blitzed until completely, utterly, perfectly smooth. Then the citrus and other ingredients. The dates I get are extremely moist, but I've done it with much drier dates as well.
IMO, yogurt is superfluous when you're dealing with avocado, because the avocado alone makes an incredibly creamy consistency. I would just do avocado and water or OJ, plus whatever fruit you want. Again, dates add natural sweetness. I think strawberries work especially well with avocado.
I add flax oil for the Omega-3s. I also add slivered almonds. When I'm not feeling too healthy, I will do banana-cocoa (like the Vivanno smoothie at Starbucks) with vanilla extract. If I'm using berries, I like to also add a "dark" juice like black currant-pomegranate. I always include plain, fat-free yogurt and soy milk.