Have you ever kept your New Year’s Resolutions? We always start the year thinking we’ll eat healthier, go to the gym more often, or start that new project. I’m as guilty as anyone – I’ve rarely been able to keep my resolutions.
I’ve been successful once. Five years ago, my resolution was to make my breakfast healthier by making green smoothies. Most Americans don’t eat a super healthy breakfast – many of our “standard” breakfast foods such as cereal, yogurt, bacon, pastry, sausage, and bagels are high in sugar, refined white flour, and/or saturated fat. I wanted a way to add more vegetables and fruit to my diet, stay fuller for longer, and avoid the less healthy options. Green smoothies, which incorporate leafy greens and fruit, were a great option to add more nutrition to my diet with great taste! And because they taste great, it became so easy to incorporate into my daily routine.
I started reluctantly, a bit wary of the green color, but I quickly grew to love my green smoothie mornings and experimented with literally anything in my fridge, even ingredients you wouldn’t dream of putting in a smoothie. Parsley in a smoothie? Yes, this is a thing. To this day, I have a smoothie for breakfast most of the time. Resolution success!
In case you are wondering, my resolutions for 2019 are:
- Eat three servings of beans a day. Studies show that eating more beans can make you live longer!
- Post on this blog at least twice a month.
- Do a bike century – this has long been a dream of mine, so why not this year?
- Spend more time volunteering or finding ways to give back to my community
The recipe below is my “Resolution Smoothie” – I consider it my blank slate of smoothies because the ingredients are easy, it always tastes great, and I never get bored of it: frozen banana, fresh baby spinach, almond milk, peanut butter, and flaxseed. Creamy, nutritious, sweet.
But perhaps my favorite thing about this smoothie is how easy it is to modify to meet whatever your craving is:
- Freaked out by the green color? Add an ingredient with a strong color, like cocoa powder or blueberries. This will produce a smoothie that’s not green but still has the benefits of those leafy greens.
- Want it sweeter? Add in more fruit or a natural sweetener such as honey, agave, date syrup, or maple syrup.
- Craving something creamy? Add yogurt, a ripe avocado or a bit of soft tofu for a silkier texture.
- Focused on nutrition? You can easily add other seeds, powders, and berries to give a boost. Think chia, maca, matcha, goji, açai…
- Stuck with leftovers? Smoothies are a great way to use up those odds and ends that you find in your fridge. Throw in leftover fruit, milk, yogurt, avocados, leafy greens, or even mild tasting vegetables*.
I’ve been making green smoothies for five years now and seen smoothie recipes all over the internet, so I’m not sure exactly how I ended up with this recipe as my “standard”, but I’m pretty sure that I saw this smoothie first on Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows Classic Green Monster. This is my all time favorite food blog and definitely an inspiration, so a shoutout is deserved either way!
Makes 1 (8-ounce) smoothie
- One handful of baby spinach (~1 cup)
- 1 large frozen banana (4-5 ounces), chopped
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed (ground or seed is fine)
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 cup almond milk
- At least an hour before you want to make your smoothie, peel a banana and freeze it.
- Add ingredients in order listed and blend.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
*Emphasis on mild. Think cucumber, celery, beets, kale, lettuces. For this particular recipe, I’d steer clear of citrus, fresh herbs, spices like ginger, or strong-tasting greens such as arugula. These ingredients all can be used in smoothies, but should be carefully balanced with complementary flavors.