super breakfast week, day three: the green smoothie

Your third Super Breakfast this week has been my go-to for the past few months.  Once I realized that I could pack a couple servings of leafy greens into a cold, creamy, morning beverage, I was sold.  The concept is simple: a breakfast smoothie with spinach, kale, chard, or any other dark leafy green.  I’ll share the main components of mine and some different winning flavor ideas, but know that you have full creative license on this puppy.  You can’t mess it up!

The Freeze
I start with something frozen.  This can be (for one smoothie):

  • Half a banana (Once my fresh banana stash starts looking overly ripe, I’ll cut them in half and put them in a Ziplock in the freezer.), OR
  • 5 cubes of almond milk (just pour almond milk into an ice cube tray the night before.), OR
  • A handful or so of any other frozen fruit.
  • This will ensure that your smoothie is nice and cold, and also thickens the texture a bit.

The Greens

  • Then add as many dark leafy greens as you can! For me this is usually roughly between one and two cups of spinach, kale, or a mix of both.  A couple of handfuls is a good start, but the more the better!

The Fat

Some good healthy fat will not only make this smoothie stick to your ribs, but will also help thicken and smooth out the texture.  I recommend choosing ONE of the following per smoothie:

  • Nut butter! Peanut and almond are my favorite. Use one hefty spoonful.
  • Avocado- This may sound strange, but you will not taste one iota of avocado flavor, but you’ll be reaping the benefits of the monounsaturated fat and creaminess. I use about 1/4 of one avocado.
  • Coconut oil- Despite being high in saturated fat, coconut oil is proving itself to fit unconventionally on our list of “good fats.” Without going into too much detail, know that the TYPE of saturated fat matters very much- coconut oil has medium chain triglycerides which don’t harm us like the kind of saturated fat in animal products.  It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals and will make your smoothie absolutely delicious. One tablespoon is plenty.

The Grain
When I want my smoothie to be extra filling, I’ll add some grain.  This could be:

  • Raw rolled oats, OR
  • Cooked quinoa or brown rice- Make extra the next time you’re cooking dinner and save it in the fridge! (I wouldn’t recommend using it if you’ve cooked it with vegetable broth or anything salty.)
  • About 1/4 of a cup of any of these grains oughta do it. But this is a non-essential ingredient; I only do it when I know I need my smoothie to last me several hours until my next meal.

The Flavor
Try any of the following to give your smoothie some extra flavor (and sometimes to mask the bitterness of the greens, especially if you’re using kale):

  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Shredded coconut

The Boost

  • Finally, I crank up the nutritional punch in my smoothie with a green superfood supplement.  One little scoop of this stuff contains tons of concentrated greens- we’re talking wheat grass, spirulina, chlorella- as well as antioxidants and probiotics.  All of this together is supporting immunity, healthy digestion, and helping to keep an alkaline balance in my system.  I’ll warn you that it’s a little earthy tasting, but the energy you’ll feel from this stuff is incredible.
  • A spoonful of ground flax for some extra Omega 3’s can’t hurt, either!

Blend all of that together and enjoy! Starting your day with a big glass of vegetables is setting yourself up for success. You’ll feel full and energized and ready to keep making great decisions about what you put into your body for the rest of the day!