It’s Monday morning and time for breakfast, what have you got planned? No time for elaborate nutritious meals in the morning? Of course not! If you are like me, I squeeze every single moment of sleep I can muster before I drag myself out of the bed and to the shower. My favorite go-to quick, easy, and nutritious breakfast choice are smoothies. They do require some time preparing on the weekend but get those ingredients ready and pop them in the blender in the morning and voila! Breakfast and nutrition on-the-go! Bah-BAM!
Green smoothies are all the rage right now. Search “green smoothie” on Pinterest or Google and there are ideas for days. You will easily find something that will fit your tastes and needs in a breeze. Spinach seems to be the number one ingredient in the green smoothie and is a nutrition powerhouse. It is rich in a number of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and vitamin C as well as brimming with flavanoids such as lutein and beta carotene. These vital nutrients act as scavengers protecting from damaging free radicals and they play a healing role in many disease processes. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K and B-complex vitamins and a good source of minerals such as potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc. Because spinach has a mild flavor it can easily be added to most smoothies to boost nutrition without affecting taste.
This green smoothie recipe was developed at my day job by myself and two registered dietitians that I work with, Amber Gourley, and Tia Filhiol. We started with spinach and Greek yogurt but wanted to increase the satiety so we added 1/2 avocado to the recipe. It yielded a creamier product and is a rich source of mono-unsaturated fats. Additionally avocados carry high concentrations of tannin, which has antioxidant properties and is an anti-inflammatory food. Avocados are also a great source of dietary fiber and a number of vitamin and minerals.
To increase the sweetness we added pineapple tidbits with at least 1/4 cup of the pineapple juice plus a teaspoon of honey. This seemed to provide a perfect blend of sweetness. For the mint, we used a small amount of peppermint extract but this may vary according to your own tastes. If you grow your own mint, skip the extract and add some mint leaves to your smoothie mixture. Fresh is always best!
Just look at that creamy texture. It is so incredibly delicious and there are nutrients in there that will deliver all kinds of beneficial goodness to my kiddos. They don’t suspect a thing; they just think it is delicious.
When I made the Green Dream Mint Smoothie this weekend I saved a serving to store in the freezer. I’m curious how it will hold up. I will get back to you all with this information. If it freezes well then I could make large batches of this smoothie on the weekend and just take them out of the freezer in the morning and it will be thawed before the kids are ready to leave for school. I leave home well before the rest of my family as I have a long commute to work so if you have less time than I do in the morning this may not be a good option for you. Just adjust to what works best for your schedule and your family.
I topped this smoothie with unsweetened coconut shavings. It has an exotic flavor and the coconut complimented the flavor blend. You can also add chia seeds or hemp seeds which will provide added nutrients.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. My colleagues and I even prepared this recipe on live television at a local station during National Nutrition Month! It has been a hit! When you try it, be sure to come back and let me know what you think. I always enjoy your feedback.
**Updated 4/9/2017 at 12:49pm to add: I froze one portion of this smoothie and a week later tossed it in an insulated bag to bring to the office for my breakfast. My commute to work is a good hour and fifteen minutes and then I let the container sit on my desk for another hour. At this time I poured the smoothie into a cup and used a fork to break down the remaining crystals. The integrity of the smoothie was fully maintained and it was every bit as creamy and delicious as the day I made it. And I really loved those remaining ice crystals! Yum! I would say it freezes beautifully!