Move over boring breakfast cereals… smoothie and smoothie bowls are a quick, simple, delicious and nutrient-dense way to start your day right! Scroll to the bottom for my go-to smoothie recipe or keep reading for a reminder of why it’s so important to eat fruit EVERY. DAY.!
When I started transitioning to a plant-based, whole foods diet, I quickly realized that I wasn’t eating nearly as much fruit as I thought I was. And I didn’t really know why… I mean, I’ve always loved fruits! Part of the reason was probably because I have always been concerned about taking in too many calories; standing just under 5 feet tall, it’s an easy thing for me to do! Contributing to that concern was all the fad diets out there that limit or even eliminate fruits since they are made up of carbohydrates. But let’s be real for a minute: fruits contain many essential and protective vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant phytonutrients- not to mention all the fiber they provide- making them truly vital to good health and well worth the calories! Besides, a plant-based, whole foods diet is designed to fill you up with all the good stuff like fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds and whole grains so that you don’t have any room, or desire, for the junk food like processed, sugar-laden breakfast cereals or toaster pastries.
A recent study by Oxford University followed 500,000 people over a 7-year period of time and found that those who included fruit in their diet daily had a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those who rarely ate fruit (source). In fact, they stated that eating at least one piece of fruit daily can reduce your risk of heart attack by 40%!!
Dr. Fuhrman (author of many books that I’d highly recommend such as “Eat to Live”, “The End of Dieting”, “The End of Heart Disease”, “Disease Proof Your Child”, “Super Immunity”…), recommends eating at least 3 servings of fresh fruits every day. He also stresses that at least one of these servings come from berries, due to their high level of antioxidant phytonutrients, which help prevent cancer. I don’t know about you, but if all I have to do to lower my risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer is eat a few pieces of fruit every day, sign me up!!
To help make sure I’m eating enough, I like to start my day with a big smoothie or smoothie bowl. Smoothies and smoothie bowls are made the same exact way, I just like to eat my smoothies out of a bowl sometimes for the variety and so that I have an excuse to sprinkle granola on top! Because we live in Minnesota, I buy a lot of my fruit frozen at Costco and usually stock blueberries, strawberries, mango, and cherries in my freezer. We also keep a ready stash of frozen bananas on hand because the boys love to have banana ‘ice cream’ as a bedtime snack (I’ll post on this later in the month- endless possibilities there!). Below is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:
Mango, Blueberry, Pineapple and Spinach Smoothie
Makes 1-2 servings
1 large handful of fresh or frozen spinach
1-smallish handful frozen mango (can sub 1/2 frozen banana)
1/2-cup frozen blueberries
3-4 chunks of pineapple (frozen or fresh)
Enough water (or coconut water) to blend, I usually start by covering about half the dry ingredients and add more water as needed- I like it thick!
Add all ingredients to a personal sized blender (can double and use a full-size blender if that’s what you’ve got). Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Blend for a good 30-45 seconds so that everything is very well mixed, enjoy in a glass or bowl, as is or topped with seeds, nuts, fresh fruit or granola! Enjoy 🙂
I’m always looking for new smoothie ideas so I’d love to hear your favorites!