I’ve set a very important goal for 2017: be healthier. Did you set the same goal?
To make sure this goal is real (and not just something I write about in blog post but never actually follow through on), I’ve broken down the goal into three parts: 1) exercise three times a week, 2) drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, and 3) eat five servings of vegetables a day, with a focus on green, leafy vegetables.
Those are good goals, right? And pretty reasonable, I think. At least they feel reasonable 12 days into 2017!
Eat More Vegetables
Full of calcium, potassium, antioxidants, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, among other nutrients, leafy green vegetables are key elements to keeping a body strong and well. My vegetable goal is the one that required the most thought: how do I get five servings—a minimum of two cups each—into my diet? I have one word for you: smoothie.
The Smoothie Solution
I love myself a healthy smoothie. I used to eat them all the time, but, somewhere along the way in 2016, I got lazy and dropped them from my day-to-day diet. And, I could tell; my vegetable intake overall declined and I was more tired. It’s therefore back to smoothies for me.
A well-made smoothie can be an entire meal, or a substantial snack. It’s my go-to solution when my kids reject every breakfast idea I throw at them (which usually happens when we’re late for school). It’s flexible, it’s easy, and it’s a great way to get good stuff into your body.
When the folks at Wayfair invited me to share my favorite smoothie as part of their Seventeen Smoothies campaign, I not only said yes, but I offered to make my favorite smoothie three ways to show you how simple it is to customize the smoothie to all the taste buds in your house.
You Need a Blender
To make a smoothie, you need a blender. There are gazillion blenders on the market these days, with prices from under $50 to more than $500. Wayfair offers a big selection (more than 300!), and you can search their products on price, brand, color, user reviews, features, power level, materials, and more.
My favorite blender is the Vitamix, one of the fanciest ones out there, and the one professional chefs often use. It was a present from my husband and kids a few years ago, and I use it regularly, which helps to justify the big price tag (or at least that’s what I tell myself!).
But you don’t need a Vitamix to make a good smoothie; any dependable and safe blender (like The Magic Bullet, on sale now on Wayfair for about $40) can get the job done. My advice: select the blender that fits your budget.
Making the Smoothie
My favorite smoothie always includes the same five ingredients:
- Almond milk
- Chia seeds
- Flax seed
- Frozen banana
I use almond milk to give the smoothie a base (and because I am trying to limit the amount of dairy in my diet), I add in chia and flax seed for their Omega-3 properties, I used frozen banana (instead of fresh) to thicken up the smoothie, and, of course, I use spinach to give myself a boost of niacin, zinc, fiber, vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, and more good stuff my body needs.
With these five ingredients, I customize my smoothie, depending upon what’s in my refrigerator or freezer, and what I feel like eating that day. That’s the best part: you can make the smoothie that you want. There’s no set rule, no recipe that you must follow. Don’t like almond milk? Try coconut milk or even regular milk with yogurt (that’s how my kids like it). Prefer kale to spinach? Make the switch. Have peanut butter in your cabinet, not chia seeds? Replace away. Hate banana in a smoothie, like my seven-year-old daughter? Use ice instead. Really love pineapple? Double the amount listed in the recipe below. Want your smoothie to be super thick? Decrease the almond milk.
You see where this is going, right? You can fiddle with the recipe in any way, which means there’s no excuse to eat healthy (well, as long as you put only good stuff in your smoothie!).
When I’m making a smoothie for myself, I make the Spinach Smoothie I’ve shared below. When my kids are around, I add frozen fruit to the Spinach Smoothie, and decrease the spinach. (They don’t like their smoothies to be too green!)
Each recipe below makes one serving.
2 cups of baby spinach, fresh or frozen
1 cup of almond milk
1 tbsp. of chia seeds
1 tbsp. of flax seed
1 frozen banana
Tropical Spinach Smoothie
To the Spinach Smoothie, add:
1 cup of pineapple, fresh or frozen
1 tbsp. unsweetened coconut
1 tbsp. hemp seeds
Spinach Berry Smoothie
To the Spinach Smoothie, add:
1 cup of frozen berries
Adjust, as you need, my friends. Enjoy, and have a healthy 2017!