Forget Superman, Spider man, Batman et al, the only superhero you need in a morning is the one that packs a nutritional punch. Be it a smoothie or juice variety, these little superstars will deliver a mighty kickstart to your day – worthy of any superhero!
Despite always eating breakfast, in the past, my stomach took on a personality all of its own. And believe me it was an incredibly grizzly, growly one! No matter what I ate for breakfast (Porridge, eggs, fruit with yoghurt, cereal, toast etc) my stomach groaned and growled come 11 o’clock. You literally could set your watch by it! It was so embarrassing at all those business meetings. That was before I overhauled my entire diet and lifestyle. I no longer suffer with such embarrassment. Thankfully!
Nowadays, I mix up my breakfasts on a daily basis, but I do enjoy a smoothie now and again. They’re great if you’re on the go and are a brilliant way to cram more veggies into your diet at anytime of day. (Note to parents with fussy kids: give them a smoothie. They’ll think it’s a milkshake-type treat and you’ll know you’re feeding them those all important veggies! Cunning!) .
As a qualified advanced sports nutritionist, I am acutely aware of how food fuels the body. I know that ‘drinking’ your breakfast is a great way to get important nutrients into your body which you might not normally get. A variety of nuts and seeds, green veg, avocados, rainbow veg – whatever it is you don’t eat, (providing you’re not allergic!) just add to your smoothie or juice. You probably won’t be able to taste it, yet you’ll be boosting your health no end!
I find smoothies are super filling and not only do they rev up my metabolism they have also banished that grizzly bear, that used to reside in my tummy! But I also keep in mind keeping the balance is vital: ‘real food’ is better, which is why I limit having them to twice a week.
For a while now, there’s been a real craze regarding juicing. You only have to look at social media or magazines and you won’t stray far from a juice cleanse. I like to have the occasional juice but only ever in addition to a healthy balanced diet. It’s brilliant for boosting your health and radiance. But I believe juices should really be used in addition to a balanced diet – not in place of one, as our bodies also need proteins and fats etc for optimal health.
I don’t like the idea of juice cleanses. Juices – although refreshing, are far less filling than a smoothie. It’s different for everyone, but I can’t function properly if I am in a constant state of hunger!
It’s also important to bear in mind the amount of fruit you put into juices or smoothies. Although there’s no question that we need fruit in our diets, it is full of sugar. For that reason, I limit the amount I add. I usually just put one or two portions of fruit in, mainly to add sweetness, then bulk up with the veggies. That way you get more fibre and nutrients, without masses of sugar, into your diet. And vegetables help to fill you up for longer than just fruit alone.
Just the tonic
Another great addition I use to boost my health and immunity is my ‘Oh Fablous Me’s zingy Zesty Morning Tonic which you can find here http://www.ohfabulousme.com/oh-fabulous-mes-morning-tonic/
This is a real hero of mine. The slightest sniffle or upset tummy and I can be found in the kitchen whizzing one up! Its full of anti-inflammaory, cancer-busting, mood-enhancing health benefits. It really packs a healthy punch. What’s not to like? I love it!
A few of my favourite things…
As far as smoothies go, I believe part of the fun of making them is to mix it up. If you find a recipe you like – that’s great. But try different blends – you’ll soon know what you like and dislike! Swap one fruit or veg for another and you may discover a new favourite, just like I do!
I try to base mine loosely around the following guidelines: 1 or 2 portions of fruit, 1 protein, as many green vegetables as you like, a liquid and a healthy fat. Then use a decent blender (you don’t have to buy one that costs the earth) to whizz it all up. Simple!
Add all ingredients to a blender...
...and whizz up!
As an example, I experiment and try to use nuts or nut butters, seeds (as many of us don’t consume enough of these in our diets). I especially like chia or flax seeds as they pack a mean protein punch. Did you know Chia means ‘strength’ and these seeds were an important food for the Aztecs and Mayans. They’re great sources of fibre, antioxidants and are little protein powerhouses – all good for sustaining energy.
Chuck in some Avocado – the nutritional hero! They are so full of healthy fats and important nutrients including vitamins B, C, K and E which can improve cardio health, by reducing bad cholesterol and boosting the good. They are great for your bones, eyes and can aid weight loss! There’s no end to this superhero’s talents! Don’t worry if you dislike the taste or texture – they’ll be blitzed along with everything else so you won’t taste them yet will get all the health benefits!
Drink the rainbow!
I love the idea of consuming the rainbow on a daily basis. You know, by eating such a plethora of colourful veg, you’re giving your body so much nutrition and the best fighting chance. The array of colours on your plate also makes your meal look more appealing.
With their deep red colour, Beetroots not only look amazing but have exceptional nutritional benefits. They are packed full of folic acid, iron, vitamins A and C, potassium , manganese and fibre which can even help to suppress the development of some cancers.
I discovered by chance that, oddly, Beetroot goes really well with raspberries in juices/smoothies! And as it is from the spinach and chard family, you know it’s going to be good for you. Remember how Popeye sang its virtues? So get juicing!
The possibilities really are endless…
I create many of my own smoothies, juices and tonics but also like many recipes which the Body Coach and Amelia Freer knock up. I do tend to adapt them to suit my own tastes though. So if a recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of Flax seeds or Hemp seeds – I may only put 1 tablespoon in as I find it a little overpowering otherwise. The key is to experiment and have fun with it. Lets face it – it will either make you smile or grimace!
A few of my favourite things…
After several requests, I have decided to share a few of my favourite tried and tested recipes with you. I usually add protein powder to my smoothies as I tend to have them on the days I train. It adds some sweetness to the smoothie, but you can leave this out if you want to. Feel free to try mixing them up to see what you can concoct. Don’t forget to share your favourites with us all in the comments box below!
Oh Fablous Me’s Green Machine Power smoothie
This is a great way to get more greens in your diet. The addition of flaxseeds also adds a boost of omega-3 fatty acids – so if you’re not a fan of oily fish, these are a good alternative.
175ml coconut water
2tblsp almond butter
1 scoop vanilla protein
1 green apple, cored and chopped
3 tblsp flaxseeds
big handful spinach
Put all ingredients into a blender and whizz until smooth – you don’t want chunks of apple blocking your straw!
Fats me up smoothie
The next few recipes come courtesy of the Body Coach. I love many of his recipes as they’re easy to do, quick and super tasty! The almond milk and avocado give some healthy fats to this recipe. I add a scoop of protein powder to the original recipe for an extra nutritional boost.
Juice of 2 limes (I use 1 as I find it’s a bit overpowering otherwise!)
200ml almond milk
½ avocado roughly chopped
3 tbsp full fat Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp honey
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Chuck it all in the blender and blitz until smooth. Lovely!
Nut and Mango Smoothie
Almonds are brilliant for your heart health with their protein, fibre and essential fats – but nuts are also high in calories, so should be limited.
125g sliced mango
2tbsp almond/cashew butter
2 tbsp full fat greek yoghurt
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
100ml almond milk
Whizz up in a blender until smooth – and drink! What could be easier?!
Blueberry and Banana Protein Shake
I’ve mentioned the benefits of Chia before but added with the oats – this recipe really helps to fill you up for longer – stopping any mid-morning cravings in their tracks! It’s a great post-workout smoothie.
75g rolled oats
large handful blueberries
1 banana, chopped
1 scoop protein powder – vanilla or strawvberry works well
250ml coconut water
1 tblsp chia seeds
Place all ingredients into a blend and whizz up!
Incredible Hulk smoothie
This is another green smoothie from the Body Coach and is so good for you. Don’t worry about turning angry like the hulk – this one will leave you smiling!
200ml almond milk
1 granny smith apple cored and chopped
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
75g rolled oats
Place into a blender with a handful of ice and blitz it all up until smooth.
Banana, mint & lime smoothie
A real refresher, this one from Amelia Freer. Don’t underestimate these tiny little hemp seeds – they are packed full of protein, healthy fats and minerals and are considered to be nature’s gift. A real super food with a wide spectrum of health benefits including increased energy, weight loss, positive effects on cholesterol, lower blood pressure and blood sugar control, to name but a few.
5cm cucumber, chopped
1 tablespoons of hulled hemp seeds (recipe states adding 1 tblsp for top also but it’s too much for me!)
¼ avocado roughly chopped
½ large banana
1 stick celery, chopped
10 mint leaves
juice and zest of 1 lime
200ml coconut water
Blend the following until smooth. Add a little more coconut water if it’s too thick for you.
There’s that ‘eat the rainbow’ philosophy Amelia Freer is big on and I am aswell! The addition of cucumber helps to boost hydration too.
1 cooked beetroot, peeled and chopped
1 orange peeled
1cm cube of fresh ginger, peeled
juice of 1 lemon
Juice and drink.
Oh Fabulous Me’s Glow me fabulous detox juice
Okay, so here’s one of mine for you to enjoy. It’s packed full of goodness and will leave you glowing!
1 Kiwi, peeled and chopped
I banana, chopped
¼ cup pineapple, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 big handfuls of spinach
1tblsp flax seeds
200ml coconut water
Blitz it all up until smooth and drink. Wait for your glow!
Recipe for recovery
Although I am not a nutritionist, I know that, after a workout, my body needs some help to repair. So I make sure I have a protein shake within around 30 minutes of afterwards. This helps to repair those muscles that have worked so hard (and make them not hurt quite so much the following day!). The addition of honey helps to regulate my insulin levels and deliver that all important protein to my muscles faster.
Also, this one is great to have if you get that mid afternoon dip and start to crave something sweet and saves you reaching for the biscuit tin! It can be drunk as a snack at anytime but just leave out the honey – your body doesn’t really need it if you haven’t worked out.
Here’s the recipe for my usual post workout shake:
1scoop chocolate protein powder (feels like a treat!)
1 tblsp Flax seeds
1 tblsp honey
Large handful of spinach
Glass of cold water
Whizz it up and slurp – couldn’t be simpler!
Furthermore, these recipes are so much better for you than boxed cereal. Go on, do your body a favour and give them a go – you won’t regret it! Let me know what you think – or share your own favourites. Just leave a comment in the box below…
Following the above recipes was a great way to start making smoothies initially but as I’ve become more experienced in making them, I tend to not really follow recipes anymore. I make my own up mixing my ingredients up depending on what I feel my body needs. However, as I am passionate about improving my gut health – which in turn benefits every other area of my body (you can read about this more here). With this in mind, I have a few key ingredients which I always add. Sauerkraut is a usual addition (don’t knock it ‘til you try it – you’re feeding your gut bacteria and you can’t even taste it! It’s a win, win!). I also add Maca and flaxseed – great for balancing hormones and boosting metabolism. If I’ve done a workout, I may even pop a scoop of protein powder in to help rebuild muscle. The trick is don’t get stuck in a smoothie rut. Smoothies are meant to be fun. Experiment! But if you find an absolute winner – don’t forget to share your recipe with us here!