Issue 12  •  Spring 2013

Coming Up Green: When Looking Green in the Morning is a Good Thing

Written by Rose Lipton

Picture this: It’s eight o’clock in the morning. Your iPhone has been passive-aggressively strumming for the better part of an hour, leaving you only about twenty minutes to get from your cozy, rumpled comforter to the door. Mornings like these are all about prioritizing, and unfortunately nutrition usually falls somewhere below second coat of trendy, neon nail polish. Even those of us who know enough to grab something to sustain us, tend to opt for grab-and-go options that leave a lot to be desired.

 

With the right bells and whistles, you can turn a green smoothie into a balanced breakfast and a nutritional powerhouse that will satisfy and sustain you for hours.

Cereal and Low-Fat Milk, Instant Oatmeal, Low-Fat Yogurt:
These foods are all high in sugar and low in fat or protein, which mean no staying power. They will result in a total energy meltdown plus ravenous hunger about an hour after eating.

Breakfast in Bar Form:
Depending on which brand you choose, the nutritional value of meal-replacement bars will differ drastically. Fiber One or Quaker Oatmeal To Go bars will give you a healthy dose of fiber with a side of high-fructose corn syrup. LUNA bars and other high-protein, natural varieties are more balanced but they come with a price tag. 

Bagels, Muffins, or Toast:
These can each be a great option when you choose a whole-grain variety and you’re in a jam, but a lack of balance at breakfast will still leave you jonesing for a snack by the time ten o’clock rolls around.

Enter the Green Smoothie:
One of the things you’ll notice with all the meals listed above is that none of them are very colorful (a good indicator that they’re seriously lacking in fruits and veggies). Smoothies, on the other hand, are ALL ABOUT color. You’re probably familiar with some of the more traditional colors like pink for strawberry, yellow for banana, or purple for blueberry . . . but have you ever dared to go GREEN?

A green smoothie is just like a regular smoothie, but with a not-so-secret wallop of nutrition due to the hefty helping of leafy greens you add into the mix. With the right bells and whistles, you can turn a green smoothie into a balanced breakfast and a nutritional powerhouse that will satisfy and sustain you for hours. And with minimal preparation or cleanup time, you can easily make time for it in your morning routine.

Health Benefits of a Green Smoothie:
• Leafy greens are packed with B vitamins, which are known to give us energy.
• Blending fruit into a smoothie rather than juicing it provides the same sweet flavor without stripping away all that healthy fiber.
• Eating a big, balanced breakfast gives your metabolism the boost it needs to work more efficiently all day long so you can keep on looking and feeling your best!

Basic Ingredients:
• 1 cup milk of choice
• 1 ripe frozen banana
• 3-4 ice cubes
• 2 big handfuls of spinach
• extra milk or water for blending if needed

Meal-Sized Chocolate Almond Version:
• 1 cup almond milk
• 1/2 frozen banana
• 1/2 cup frozen berries (cherries, blackberries, or blueberries work best)
• 1 tablespoon almond butter
• 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoon honey or agave

Protein Options:
1 scoop chocolate protein powder OR 1/2 cup silken tofu OR 1/2 cup Greek yogurt

Mocha Almond Twist:
Add in 1/4 cup brewed coffee and 3-4 whole coffee beans.

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