Hello there & Welcome, June!
Since we are heading into Bikini Season & it seems as though the older we get, the more health-conscious we get as well, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you one of my favorite smoothies I conjure up for myself as a meal replacement or a simple, healthy snack.
I usually have smoothies for breakfast. I pre-make them the night before and take them with me to work.
One thing I think that every one needs to keep in mind is that smoothies aren't supposed to look good (at least the ones that are good for you, packed with plenty of veggies and some fruits), but they are supposed to taste delicious.
Ingredients, in order to be placed in the blender:
Blueberries, frozen 1/4 cup
Baby Kale (or any mixed hearty greens) 1/4 of a 5 oz. container or about 2 cups, pressed heavily into the cups.
Half of a banana, frozen
Peas & Carrots, frozen 1/4 cup
Unsweetened Acai Smoothie Pack Blend, 1/2 bar
Maple Almond Butter 1 heaping Tablespoon
Chia Seeds 1 tsp (optional)
Flax Seeds 1 tsp (optional)
Orange Juice, enough to cover the ingredients, about 1 1/2 cups (can be replaced with any other juice - see below for recommended juice substitutes)
For a meal replacement, add your desired protein powder. I used the Vitamin Shoppe NEXT STEP: Fit N' Full Shake in Fresh Berries.
In the ingredient list, I mentioned that the green should be packed down. This is very important! If you do not pack it down, you will only fit in about 1/4 to 1/2 of the fore-mentioned amount for greens.
Also, don't be scared! I promise you won't even taste them. We have so many other fruits and sweet stuff going into this smoothie that they will be lost in the background without losing any of their good-for-you properties.
I like to add the blueberries first. Since I am using a NutriBullet and whatever I place in the blender is then turned upside-down, I like to have something semi-heavy to push the greens down.
If you skip this step and just place the greens at the bottom, you might need to stop blending, shake, and continue blending the ingredients to make sure everything is evenly distributed and well-blended throughout the shake.
If you are using a standard blender and not one similar to my NutriBullet, I would still recommend placing the ingredients in, in this order.
I know that some of these ingredients seem a bit odd - frozen peas and carrots, in particular - but I think it is one of the best ways of getting an extra dose of veggies in your body without sacrificing flavor. And really, carrots and peas are some of the sweetest veggies so all it does is add a natural sweetness to your smoothie and help keep it nice and chilled, as well.
I also like to add almost any fruit or veggie that has been frozen. Usually, these frozen bits of goodness are frozen at the peak of their season. This guarantees that you will be consuming any and all vitamins, antioxidants and ultimate deliciousness from said fruit/vegetable. Also, using fruits and vegetables that are frozen guarantees you a cold smoothie too. ;)
Can I fan-girl about a food item for a second? This Maple Almond Butter is so delicious! And only 4 ingredients. Did you hear me? FOUR INGREDIENTS! It's on the pricey side ($11 for 16 oz at my local grocery store) but sooo worth it.
I add a heaping tablespoon into my shake for some natural protein and yummyness. And yes, yummyness is a word.
In regards to the protein element of the shake, If you are looking to create this as a meal-replacement, almost any protein powder will do. This is the one I like to add to my smoothies:
I recommend a berry-flavored one or a vanilla flavored protein powder so that it doesn't compete with the fruit and vegetable flavors being blended into your smoothie. Chocolate flavored protein powder, in this case, is not a good idea.
So, after placing everything in the blender and, ya know... blending... you're done! I love smoothies! So easy and simple to make. Who needs a 30 minute meal when you can have a 5 minute one, instead?
Also, I would like to add that you do not have to use orange juice. I used it here because that is just what I had in my fridge. I've used coconut water, carrot juice, apple juice, cranberry and beet juice before - all awesome.
Remember to be creative! If you don't have these particular fruits and vegetables in your fridge/freezer, use what you do have! I love adding strawberries, mangoes and coconut pulp when I have them available.
Wishing you all a happy & healthy June!
Talk to you very soon :)