With the start of a new year, and after the extra treats of the holiday season, I like to focus on filling my plate with more vegetable-packed meals. However, even while eating healthier, I do like indulgent-tasting treats. Fortunately, this creamy dairy-free smoothie is not only a wonderful start for your day or after workout pick-me-up, it also tastes fantastic. It may look green, but it tastes similar to a creamy, dreamy pumpkin pie.
Many dairy-free smoothies use frozen banana to give body and creaminess, however my low-carb eating husband challenged me to come up with an alternative ingredient. Instead of banana, Green Pumpkin Pie Smoothie gets it’s smooth texture from avocado, decreasing the sugar and carb content from what is found in the typical smoothie. A typical avocado has about 14 grams of fiber, much more than other fruits. The fiber, along with its healthy monounsaturated fat, and higher protein content than most fruits, make avocados a great energy source that keep you feeling full and satisfied longer.
Rounding out the ingredient list for this simple to blend smoothie are pumpkin and spinach. Rich in potassium, a nutrient that helps maintain blood pressure and kidney function, pumpkin is also high in fiber and contains a fair share of vitamin C, an antioxidant essential for healthy skin and gums. The dark leafy green of spinach is a nutritional powerhouse all on its own. There are few food sources that offer more vitamin K than spinach, essential for blood clotting and bone health. Recent research also shows that vitamin K may help decrease inflammation in the body. Other important nutrients found in spinach are beta-caroteen, lutein, folate, and magnesium.
Have you started the year off with some healthy goals or resolutions? I have too. And one of those goals is to drink more fresh juice. You can read about my New Year’s Juicing Challenge at Gluten-Free Cat. Juicing is such a wonderful way to infuse your body with nutrients. You can drink far more nutrients than you can chew in meal. And you can also incorporate vegetables that you might not otherwise eat.
There are definitely wonderful properties in green juices, but have you considered juicing beets? You can juice both the beetroot and the greens. Here are few reasons why you might want to start incorporating beets into your diet:
1. Beets are good for the liver. Beets contain betaine, which protects the liver and aids in detoxification. Drinking beet juice can result in detox symptoms, so it is wise to start with a small amount of beets and increase slowly.
2. Beets help to prevent cancer. They detox the body of harmful toxins and prevent cancer from growing.
3. Beets are good for your skin. They prevent and treat acne and promotes healthy skin and hair growth.
4. Beets make you feel good! Betaine has been used to treat depression. They also contain tryptophan which causes that happy, relaxed feeling after a meal.
Thanksgiving is one week away! It’s that time of year when we turn to our old family favorites and look for new recipes that inspire us to try something different in the kitchen. If you’re looking to add some healthier dishes to your Thanksgiving meal, take a look at this collection of recipes!
- Butternut Squash and Apple Salad
- Green Beans with Smoky Pecans from Tasty Eats at Home
- Herbed Split Pea Soup from Gluten-Free Cat
- Orange Cinnamon Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Maple Pecans
- Potato Boats with “Sour Cream” and Herbs from Ricki Heller
- Quinoa Stuffing from Queen of Quinoa
- Roasted Green Bean Salad with Citrus-Balsalmic Reduction from Ricki Heller
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Garlic and Thyme
- Rutabega Gratin from Ricki Heller
- Wild Rice Sweet Potato Salad with Pepitas
Gravy, Salad Dressings, & Sauces
- Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Pears
- Make-Ahead, Gluten-Free Turkey Gravy
- Creamy Caesar Dressing (dairy-free)
- Sweet Dijon Salad Dressing
Desserts, Pies & Pie Crusts
- Black Bottom Almond Mousse Pie with Chocolate Ganache Drizzle
- Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
- Cranberries & Cream Tart with Chocolate Crust from Daily Bites Blog
- Crispy Apple Crisp from Welcoming Kitchen
- Gluten-Free Pie Crust from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free
- Flaky Pie Crust from Simply Sugar & Gluten-Free
- Maple Pecan Tart from Daily Bites Blog
- Vegan Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chunk Cookies from Gluten-Free Cat
I have been brainstorming and testing healthy back to school breakfast ideas for a few weeks now so that I am not stuck in a cereal rut when the school year finally hits. Our daughter, Eliza, is entering sixth grade this year. If her summertime “primping” schedule is any indicator of just how long it will take her to get ready in the mornings, then I better have quite a few “grab-n-go” breakfasts in my arsenal because I doubt she will be sitting with us at the breakfast table very much.
I love having homemade breakfast cereal bars, and fruits like bananas and apples on hand for quick grabbing, but sometimes a girl just needs a smoothie to start her day off right. This smoothie is packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein; it will stay with her until time for lunch and she won’t come crashing down from the high of sugar coated cereals and store-bought breakfast bars. Besides tasting really good together I chose these ingredients specifically for what each of them has to offer Eliza.
- Almond milk: Aside from offering lots of protein and vitamins, almond milk is rich in manganese, copper and riboflavin. These nutrients play an important role in energy production.
- Bananas: High in potassium and low in salt, they are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke. Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and are a great natural energy booster due to all of that potassium.
- Strawberries: One cup of strawberries contains a whopping 136% of the RDA of vitamin C, can help lower blood pressure and ensure a healthy immune system. Like almond milk, strawberries are also rich in manganese which is great for the bones too.
- Gluten-free oats: Provide high levels of fiber, low levels of fat, and high levels of protein. Oats also are known to remove the bad cholesterol in your body without affecting your good cholesterol. All of that being said; they stick with you longer than other foods so I can rest assured that she will stay satisfied until lunchtime and can concentrate on learning rather than hunger pains.
Other Smoothie Recipes & Tips:
- Juices and Smoothies on a Busy Schedule
- Tips for Making Easy and Delicious Non-Dairy Smoothies
- Mango Chai Breakfast Shake
Strawberry Banana Oat Smoothie
Makes 1 large smoothie
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk, preferably homemade
- 2 frozen bananas, broken into 3-4 pieces each
- 4 large frozen organic strawberries
- 1/4 cup gluten-free oats
- Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed in a high speed blender and blend until smooth.
- If the mixture seems too thick, add more almond milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time.
Meg is the blogger, photographer, and recipe developer behind Beard & Bonnet, a gluten-free vegetarian blog that celebrates style, design, food, and family. Along with her husband, she’s also one half of the duo behind award-winning eco-design studio Union Eighteen whose recycled rugs have garnered international acclaim. Her goal is to show others that gluten-free, vegetarian living can be easy and fulfilling, not to mention delicious! You can also find Meg on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!
Read all of her posts here.