Smoothies: Not Just For Breakfast

Do you have the post-holiday fatigue of cooking (and eating) huge meals? Smoothies can be a great quick snack or small meal when you don’t have time (or don’t want) to cook.

The smoothie revolution overtook the world about a decade ago. Suddenly we were free from eating solid food or preparing meals and could obtain all the nutrition we needed in one sip with a pureed or “blenderized” creation that helped us satisfy hunger and meet all our nutritional needs. Society was hooked; we had easy meal replacements that tasted great and provided all the necessary nutrients we were missing from not having a full, traditional meal. I can’t argue: smoothies, in my opinion, do provide a host of nutrients and flavors that are convenient. They are a perfect alternative for busy people who need a quick meal, or meal replacement, and, if no other sufficient nutrient sources are possible, sipping a smoothie is better than skipping a meal or reaching for a less healthy alternative. What I’ve learned, however, is that smoothies are not just a morning “thing”- they can be used anytime, anywhere, to satisfy hunger and provide necessary nutrients.

In pregnancy, smoothies come in handy. All you need is a few ingredients, a blender, a large glass, a straw and you’re on your way. While I don’t recommend smoothies as someone’s main meal daily, they can provide a healthy alternative for a meal replacement or a meal on the run that is packed with vitamins, fiber, often protein, and other nutrients that a pregnant woman, and her family, can use in place of skipping a meal. I think smoothies are great in a pinch or when a pregnant woman needs a snack that is filling and nutritious. The best part about a smoothie is that one can’t go wrong with the ingredients- you can basically mix any fruit and vegetables together to create a drink that is satisfying, refreshing, and healthy.  Smoothies are a reason to experiment- try different combinations of your favorite flavors and add in sweet or savory flavors to your own taste. The possibilities with smoothies are endless.

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Photo by Jisu Han

I recommend smoothies for any time of the day. You can vary the ingredients to be either sweet for breakfast and desserts or savory to satisfy as a snack or a small meal. I do not, however, recommend using smoothies as a meal replacement on a regular basis. In pregnancy, hunger needs to be satisfied in a sensible way but there is no replacement for a balanced meal that contains sufficient proteins, fibers, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Here I provide sweet and savory alternatives to try for your next smoothie. Even though savory smoothies often blend into different shades of green or red, many of the savory smoothies contain antioxidants, vitamins A and C, and health oils and fats. The internet is filled with wonderful recipes for any kind of smoothie. Try these and feel free to add in other ingredients. Share your favorite smoothie recipes or what ingredients you use to maximize flavor or nutrition.

The Basic Smoothie

  • 1 cup plain nonfat or Greek yogurt
  • 1 banana (room temperature or cut into slices and frozen)
  • ½ cup of orange juice (fresh is best but store-bought, commercial orange juice is fine)
  • 6 frozen strawberries (put a bag of fresh strawberries in the freezer or keep a bag of store bought whole frozen strawberries in your freezer for this recipe)

Blend for 20 seconds. Scrape the sides of the blender and blend again for an additional 15 seconds.

Berry Smoothie

  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • ½ cup fresh cut strawberries (or 4-6 whole frozen strawberries)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 ½ tablespoon honey (fresh honey is best- I use honey that I get from an apiary like the Tanis Apiary in Pompton Plains, NJ- find them via Google for an amazing, full flavored honey)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger (or ¼ to ½ teaspoon of dried ginger)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed or 1 tablespoon of chia seeds (for protein)
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice (or several drops of commercial lemon juice) to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Add lemon juice sparingly to taste

Banana Ginger Smoothie

  • 1 banana, sliced and frozen (slice the banana into 1 inch slices then freeze)
  • ¾ cup vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt (or plain if desired)
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey (again, I prefer natural honey from an apiary like the Tanis Apiary in Pompton Plains, NJ because of the smooth taste it adds to this recipe)
  • ½ teaspoon fresh grated ginger (a little ginger goes a long way- and keeps for a while in the refrigerator)

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Carrot-Mango Smoothie

(thanks to Greenblender.com)

Makes 2 servings

  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 1 mango, peeled and pitted (or 1 cup frozen mango)
  • 1 tablespoon flaxseed or chia seed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup ice

Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Avocado-Herb Smoothie

(thanks to Oster.com)

  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • ½ cup fresh parsley
  • ½ cup fresh basil
  • Pinch of fresh rosemary (about 1 to 4 rosemary leaves)
  • Pinch of thyme (about 6 to 10 small leaves)
  • 1 cup water
  • Dashes of salt and pepper
  • Splash of olive oil

Blend until smooth. Serve in small glasses with whole wheat or whole grain crackers.

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