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.
I’m generally a fan of obtaining protein from natural, whole foods sources. After all, that’s what our body will recognize as food, right? But sometimes, we fall into a rut, and the same old protein options seem…boring. Personally, as much I love eggs, or tuna, or chicken, there are times I just cannot get excited about another hard-boiled egg for breakfast.
This is when I start to get creative. After all, there are healthy protein sources out there that aren’t just meat, eggs, or dairy – we just don’t always think about them. Some great sources of protein include:
- Nut butters, such as peanut or almond butter - around 8 grams of protein per serving.
- Greens, such as spinach or kale – 5-7 grams per cup of cooked greens.
- Quinoa - 9 grams per cup.
- Beans and lentils – depending on the variety, between 13 and 18 grams per cup.
- Protein powders – if you shop around, many of the brands out there carry a respectable ingredient list. (Some are highly processed and have somewhat skeptical ingredients.) My favorites are Vega, Plant Fusion, and Sunwarrior. They are all gluten-free and taste pretty good. While I prefer getting most of my protein from whole foods, I feel these protein powders are a good way to keep the variety.
In fact, if you’re craving sweets on a hot day, this protein “frosty” might be just the change of pace you need. It’s a cinch to whip up in the blender, and really satisfies the urge for a cool, creamy, frosty treat. In fact, I might consider making this my new favorite post-workout “snack”!
Spring and summer mean loads of activities at my house. Baseball, swimming, biking, and playing outside are some of the fun times that make it a little more challenging to ensure that my family is eating well. It seems like mealtime can be hurried when there are a million more entertaining things to do.
How can I provide the treats we love while making sure that everyone is getting a wide range of fruits and vegetables?
By transforming our year-round staple, smoothies, into a dessert! If you freeze your produce-rich smoothies in an ice pop mold, your kids (and you) can lick up fruits and vegetables any time they like.
Not only can you blend up a batch of smoothie and freeze it all into ice pops, but you can freeze the little bit that’s left over in your blender after your breakfast into just one ice pop!
If you don’t have an ice pop mold, you can get started anyway. Just freeze your smoothie in an ice cube tray, cover it tightly with plastic wrap and insert short craft sticks, straws or toothpicks through the plastic into the center of the cube. Once it’s frozen, remove the plastic and pop out a mini ice pop!
Back in October of last year, I posted my top 7 Tips For Boosting Immunity With Green Smoothies.
Tip #5 was: Get Affordable or FREE Greens at your local Farmer’s Market
I want to talk about this again, as I receive countless emails every month from readers who want to include more fresh organic vegetables and leafy greens into their diet but find the cost a challenge.
To recap on tip #5: Most people ask to have the greens cut off of their beets, turnips, and carrots, etc. at market stalls. Ask your local vendor for any tops they have cut off for other customers. These greens are absolutely loaded with nutrients, and very often you can pick them up for free (they are just going to throw them away) or for a couple of bucks.
Another top tip for getting affordable produce is to make friends with the stall owners, and at the end of the day you can pick up large boxes of surplus produce for a song! This can include leafy greens, as well as other seasonal fruits and veggies. You can then create all kinds of smoothies, juices, salads, and other delicious creations for a fraction of the cost.
A nutrient-dense green smoothie is a quick, easy, delicious way to get your daily dose of greens and other fruits and vegetables in one hit. It is also a fabulous way to help inspire confidence in novice cooks and children. Picking up seasonal produce boxes at the market keeps things interesting and diverse, and expands the family’s gustatory repertoire and experiences.