If you take my advice and replace one meal a day with a smoothie, over time, not overnight, your waistline and your primary care physician will thank me! About 6 years ago, I bought a Vitamix, another word for high-powered blender that will emulsify pretty much anything. Life changing appliance! I have a love affair with my Vitamix but there are other machines (Wolf Gourmet Blender, Cuisinart Hurricane Blender, Breville “The Boss” High Velocity Blender) on the market that will allegedly do the same tricks. I tell everyone if I had the choice of keeping only two appliances, everything could go except my Coffee Maker and the Vitamix. Do you think I’m exaggerating? Every August, family and friends travel to Martha’s Vineyard (a quaint island just off the coast of Massachusetts) for a few weeks of rest and relaxation. It’s only four hours away, but we pack up the car with a little bit of everything: golf clothes, workout gear, beach stuff, day and night clothes and always the Vitamix.
This single appliance literally changed the way we approach breakfast most days out of the week. I use my Vitamix at least once per day. Monday through Friday, I replaced our breakfast meal of yoghurt, fruit and high sugar granola with a homemade smoothie packed full of whole fruits and vegetables, low calorie protein and zero calorie flavors.
When people ask me about how I manage my weight, in addition to regular exercise, the morning smoothie plays a BIG role. Think about it, a 1/3 of my meals every week consist of a 12-ounce cup of goodness with at least 2 servings of whole fruits and vegetables (usually more), lean protein and healthy fats. My smoothies are low in sugar and high in nutrients. I generally include lemon juice for its detoxifying power. Some mornings, I add ginger and turmeric root for natural anti-inflammatories. If I’m feeling tropical then coconut flakes and pineapple are in the mix. I usually sneak in something green like spinach, cucumber or kale. The smoothie possibilities are endless.
I make the smoothies fast now! In 5 minutes or less, I add a little liquid, a little solid, a little frozen, turn on the machine and I’m done. These days, I rarely have a smoothie blunder. However, turn back the clock 5 years and the first couple of months of “Smoothie-dom” involved a little trial and error. Poor #hubbs! Some days they were too green. Some days too thick. Some days too thin. After making thousands of smoothies, I finally have a system regarding the ratios of solids, liquids, sweet, savory and ice for 2 servings:
- 1 c liquid (almond milk, coconut water, cashew milk)
- 2 c fresh fruit/vegetables
- 1 c yoghurt
- Pinch of sea salt
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Either 1 banana or avocado
- 1 c frozen (ice, fruit or vegetables)
We travel quite a bit and have hectic day to night schedules. When I get home late from a busy day or from the airport, the last thing I want to think about is groceries, dinner or breakfast the next day. For this reason, I always keep basic smoothie ingredients available so we can wake up in the morning and hit the deck running with a healthy breakfast. The following items have a longer shelf life so I feel comfortable stocking up whenever I hit the grocery story:
In my refrigerator:
- Almond milk
- Greek yoghurt
- Green apples
- Peanut Butter
- Almond Butter
In my freezer:
- Mixed Berries
- Flax Seeds
In my pantry:
- Pure Vanilla Extract
- Raw Cashews
- Raw Almonds
- Ground Ginger
- Sea Salt
If you make a habit of grabbing a couple of the above items on the weekly grocery run, you will find it fairly easy to always have most of the ingredients listed above available. These are long shelf life items so don’t worry about them spoiling quickly. Plus, once you start making smoothies everyday, you will run through everything fast!
(Jackie Tip?: Smoothies are not just for mornings, they also are great for pre and post-workout meals. For example, you take a 7:00 pm barre class and get home around 8:30. You’re exhausted. Don’t order high calorie/high salt Chinese food, make yourself a smoothie.)
To my husband’s delight, he loves a breakfast smoothie because I pour it into either a glass mason jar or recycled water bottle and tuck it in his briefcase. He then drinks his breakfast every morning at his desk. Every once in a while, one of his co-workers will whisper in my ear at a cocktail party about how he or she covets his morning drink. Well friends, you can do this too! Save your water bottles and keep them handy near your blender. If you are not in the habit of making breakfast at home, build an extra 10 minutes into your morning routine. Make your smoothie before you walk out the door and then use a funnel to pour the smoothie into the saved water bottles. Now, you have a portable healthy breakfast for your kids to take on the bus, for you to drink in the car as the bottles fit easily in the cup holder, on the train as you stand up or for your significant other to drink at his/her desk. Healthy start to your day and bonus points for recycling. Win-Win!
Up until deciding to launch this blog, I eyeballed the smoothie ingredients and used whatever I had on hand from the above list. No two smoothies are ever the same in my house. For years, family and friends asked me to write down the smoothie recipes. Well, the wait is over and here’s a whole category devoted to my morning smoothie. But let me warn you right now, my smoothies are really really really good. You will have to keep asking me, “Hey Jackie, is this really healthy?” because they are just that yummy!
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