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!


super breakfast week, day two: broccoli eggs

Today, I ate a whole head of broccoli for breakfast.

Ok, it was a small head.  But still an impressive amount of vegetables to be eating for my morning meal, I daresay!  That’s the goal, my friends: EAT AS MANY VEGETABLES AS YOU CAN!  This means cramming them into meals where one might not normally eat veggies.  But with today’s recipe, having broccoli for breakfast is easy and tasty.

I’ll start by saying this is probably the most time-consuming of my Super Breakfasts.  But all things considered, it’s pretty darn quick, and some prepping ahead of time could make it even quicker.  I have my boyfriend’s sister Erin to thank for this amazing breakfast!  Erin is a busy, working mom doing her best to eat well.  When we visited her a few weeks ago, I was immediately excited when she asked if we wanted “broccoli eggs” for breakfast.  “Whatever that is…YES,” I responded.  Here is my version of what she made for us that morning:

Broccoli Eggs (serves one)

  • One small head of broccoli, chopped
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • Two eggs
  • Splash of almond (or other) milk
  • Roasted sunflower seeds (optional)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cheese of your choosing (optional- I used goat cheese crumbles)
  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil on medium.  Add broccoli- the finer you chop it, the more easily it will be incorporated into the scramble.  Stir until broccoli is tender (a few minutes).  Alternatively, you could throw a little water into the pan and cover it to let the broccoli steam.
  2. Beat your eggs with the splash of milk and add them to the pan.  Mix the eggs and the broccoli immediately and keep mixing as the eggs cook.  It should turn into a nice scramble.
  3. Once egg is distributed throughout the broccoli and has cooked thoroughly, add sunflower seeds, cheese, and salt and pepper.  Then EAT!

I realized after making this batch that I went a little crazy on the broccoli.  That head I used was probably two full servings.  If you’re down with that, then by all means, broccoli it up! But if that much broccoli feels a tad ambitious, then use less and it will be more like a typical scramble with veggies.

One way you could make this recipe much faster would be to chop and cook your broccoli ahead of time.  Steam a whole bunch at the beginning of the week, chop it up, and throw it in a tupperware in the fridge.  Then all you have to do is combine it with the eggs and throw it in a pan; it should heat up while the eggs cook.  On that note, don’t limit yourself to broccoli- kale and spinach make awesome egg partners, too!

So there you have it, veggies for breakfast.  At the end of the day when you’re counting your blessings and how many vegetables you ate (or is that just me?), you’ll be grateful that you started the day with a big ol’ handful. Tune in tomorrow for another vegged out breakfast- my current favorite, the Green Smoothie!