Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Let's start at the beginning (part 1)

"In the beginning God created the heaven and earth."

Okay, we've gone too far back.  I'm actually just talking about the beginning of your day--breakfast. In a previous post I mentioned planning for success and having a few go-to breakfast ideas.  If your house is anything like mine, the minute my eyes are open in the morning I'm on the go.  Breakfast for the littles, milk, make coffee, let dogs outside, feed dogs, clean up whatever around the house I told myself the night before would be "super quick and easy" to  clean the next morning (eye roll), and reheat my coffee for the fourth time only to forget it in the microwave and find it midday.

So, I have about three meals I really like and it depends on my time, what we have to do that morning, and my mood as to which meal I make. (To be honest, regularly it depends on what ingredients my children have so kindly left in the fridge/freezer/pantry that I can throw together into a meal).

1.  Smoothies
First, the super quick, I've-got-to-eat-on-the-go smoothie.  My toddler almost always drinks at least half of my smoothie, so I'm glad this recipe makes slightly more than one serving.

Start with the soft, easy to mix ingredients.  Here I used plain Greek yogurt, spinach, banana, chia seeds (not required but are a great added nutrient if you have it), and real peanut butter--the only ingredients should be peanuts.  Peanut butter is another great add in for a little sweetness without sugar, but if you don't like it or have an allergy it's fine to leave out. Blend these ingredients.

Next add in your frozen fruit.  In this smoothie, I used a cup of frozen berries, blueberries and strawberries to be specific.

One smoothie with lots of nutrients.
One happy toddler.

The great thing about a smoothie is that you can change out the ingredients with just a few simple guidelines.   For example, maybe your child's favorite food is berries and the morning you start to make him a berry smoothie he "no like berries"?  Switch out the frozen fruits and you have a whole new flavor to share.  Here are a few suggestions:
  • 1 cup of greens to every 2 cups of fruit (no more than one cup of fruit frozen)
  • Great greens to add that don't change the flavor:  avocado, spinach, and kale.  Sneak the greens in without you realizing how healthy you're being!
  • Smoothie too thick?  Add more liquid, or pour it in a bowl, eat it with a spoon and call it a smoothie bowl--that's a real thing.
  • Frozen fruit is the smoothies' best friend.  You can find it  in variety packs if you don't want to mix your own fruit, or single varieties.  
  • I use Greek yogurt a lot when I'm serving the toddler and me for the protein.  However, you can also use milk, water, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water.  Get creative. 
    • You'll notice here I didn't mention juice.  I rarely use juice, and treat it more as a special item like a cookie, or ice cream.  The sugar content is high, and unlike eating a piece of fruit you're not getting the rest of the nutrients.  It can be a good addition to smoothies though, so use your judgement here. 
  • Flavor combinations:  
    • berries (who doesn't love berries)
    • tropical--pineapple, mango, peach
    • strawberry, kiwi, banana
  • Add ins are great, but not required.  Add ins I occasionally use:  chia seeds (no flavor), ground flax seeds (little bit of a nutty flavor), real peanut butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder (oh, yes I do). 
  • If you want the smoothie to be your breakfast, add in protein in the form of plain Greek yogurt, or peanut butter.  Occasionally, I use a protein powder I like as well that's plant based and has less than a gram of sugar.  Without the protein, you are just left with carbs, and you'll be hungry quickly.  The protein will fill you up and keep you full longer.
Have fun with smoothies.  If it turns out awful, do one of two things:  1) chug it knowing you're getting nutrients and never to make that again, or 2), freeze it into ice cubes and occasionally toss an ice cube in other smoothies.

Tomorrow, check back for part 2 and two more simple, fast, nutritious breakfast ideas.

1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 cup spinach
1 tablespoon real peanut butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 whole banana (not frozen)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Blend first six ingredients first, and then add berries and blend again in a blender.  You get three servings of fruits and vegetables!

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