One of the easiest ways in which to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet is by making smoothies for breakfast a couple of times a week (or more if you’re inclined!) The combinations are endless, and it’s certainly worth experimenting with different flavors – but of course there are a few tried a true favorites. Some of my favorite combinations are:
• 1/2 frozen banana, blueberries, soy milk, ice, rice protein powder (or peanut butter)
• 1/2 frozen banana, spinach, soy milk (or almond milk), almond butter, ice
• 1/2 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh), 1/4 -1/2 cup blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, soy or almond milk, ice
• 1/2 frozen banana, soy milk, peanut butter, cocoa powder, stevia, ice (you could also add some ice coffee for a mocha flavor)
• Handful of kale or spinach, 1/2 frozen banana, soy milk, almond butter, 1/4 cup raw oats, ice.
The quantities of your mix-ins can vary to some degree, but a good rule of thumb is to use at least 3/4 – 1 cup of milk (soy or almond is best), and then a total of 1/2 – 3/4 cup of fresh or frozen fruit (not including the frozen banana). So for example, you could use 1/4 cup blueberries, 1/2 cup of strawberries and 1/2 frozen banana in your smoothie.
Using a frozen banana is also key to getting a really creamy smoothie – fresh ones don’t work as well.
So today, even though it’s cold here in Massachusetts, I was craving a smoothie with my lunch and so that’s exactly what I made: a Strawberry-Banana Protein Smoothie
Strawberry-Banana Protein Smoothie
3/4 – 1 cup of soy milk (or almond milk)
1/4 cup water (optional – use if it’s too thick)
1/2 frozen banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1 Tbsp Sun Warrior Vanilla Protein
3 – 4 ice cubes
Toppings (optional): fresh/frozen blueberries, ground flaxseed meal, granola
1. Add soy milk (or almond milk) to a blender.
2. Add remaining ingredients and blend to a smooth consistency. Use additional milk/water to thin out the smoothie if desired.
3. Add toppings (if desired), pour into a tall glass and enjoy!
You don’t necessarily have to add a protein powder to your smoothie. I sometimes do if I feel that I’ve been lacking in protein and/or when I make a smoothie after a workout, but you could just as easily add 1/4 cup of raw oats, or 1 tablespoon of almond butter to add more substance to your smoothie. (I use Sun Warrior Protein powder (both the vanilla and chocolate flavor) because it’s a great vegan protein that’s easy to digest and it doesn’t taste chalky like some rice-based protein powders).
Speaking of workouts, smoothies are also one of the best post-workout options to have since they replenish fluids and carbohydrates quickly, when your muscles need them the most. They also provide protein (if you use soy or cow’s milk and/or a protein supplement) for tissue-repair and growth, and the fruit provide vitamins and antioxidants that bolster your immune system and help with tissue repair and recovery. My lunchtime smoothie provided me with some much-needed potassium (from the banana), and vitamin C (from the strawberries), and it was refreshingly delicious! Enjoy!