Lately I’ve been looking for a healthier, more satisfying breakfast option to start my day. During the week my day begins around 5am, when most people are still counting sheep. So I was looking for something I could make at work that was quick, easy and not heavy (I love pancakes and eggs, but at 5 am, I need something that can get me energized!). Here is how I incorporate more fruits and vegetables into my day:
Enter the NINJA Blender
The perfect solution arrived this summer one Monday morning when I noticed a shiny new Ninja NJ600 Pro Blenderin my company’s kitchen. I had heard some good reviews about the NINJA from my wellness coach, and she said that she had been making some super smoothies with her NINJA, incorporating tons of her favorite fruits and veggies.
The Ninja NJ600 Pro Blenderis not your ordinary blender it’s got six massive blades running from the top to the bottom of the blender, a culinary katana of sorts. These blades allow any fruit or vegetable to be pulverized in seconds with no problem.
The blender has multiple speed settings in case you have more fibrous or frozen ingredients that need a good chopping. The only major difference between more conventional blenders is that you don’t get that nice vortex affect at the bottom, giving you a creamier textured smoothie like at Jamba Juice. I also noticed that the NINJA wasn’t able to break down the vegetables ingredients into more fine particles. However the NINJA does get the job done with little struggle to break down even the most resistant of ingredients, and the smoothies are still delicious!
- Antioxidants: I chose raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries for an antioxidant packed drink. The green tea not only gives me energy, it’s also contains catechins, a free radical scavenger. Spinach also contains numerous flavonoid compounds that function as a team of cancer-fighting antioxidants. The antioxidants found in plants help to prevent or slow the damage by free radicals, the molecules that cause aging and some diseases. Nothing better than protecting healthy cells in a delicious way!
- Nutrients and Fiber: Banana’s not only give a nice creaminess to this smoothie, but more importantly fiber and potassium found naturally in bananas. The berries and vegetables have soluble and insoluble fibers to aid in healthy digestion. The berries contain phytonutrients that provide potassium, folate and vitamin C . Spinach and kale are very nutrient dense, providing vitamin A,K, C, folate, calcium, magnesium, and iron. There are many other nutrient benefits contained in these fruits and vegetables, but these are just a few that I wanted to highlight.
- Rehydration: I like to add coconut water instead of a fruit juice because it’s lower in calories and provides great replenishing and hydration benefits. Coconut water contains key electrolytes; potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus. You can easily become dehydration after hours of sleep, so incorporating some electrolyte rich food into your day will give you the replenishment your body needs.
- I like thicker smoothies, so this recipe can almost be eaten like a frozen yogurt. You can add more liquid to thin out the smoothie if you want something more drinkable.
- More fruit ideas: Apples, pears, oranges, pineapples, cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, the possibilities are endless! Just choose your favorite combinations and experiment!
- More vegetable ideas: Cucumber, carrots, maybe even beets for added energy!
- Toppers: Flaxseed, granola, high fiber cereal, bananas, berries are all great ways to add some extra flavor to your smoothie!
- If you’re looking for a protein boost, try some whey of vegetable protein to your smoothie.
- If you want some dairy or more creaminess to your smoothie, try substituting some of the coconut water or green tea for yogurt (Greek or Dannon drinkable yogurt are my favorites).
- Almond and rice milk are also great additions to the smoothie!
- If you forget to freeze your berries, add some ice to the smoothie and you will get a similar texture and chill, but frozen berries will give you the best texture.
- Depending on the types of fruit you choose, don’t be surprised if your smoothie may give a more brown color. You can always add more berries to adjust. If you want more of a green smoothie, add more neutral colored fruits like pineapple, apples or pears.
I would love to hear your favorite combinations!
My favorite blender for numerous culinary applications is the Vitamix 1723 Professional Series 200, Onyxwhich gives you variable speed options so you can better control the blending. This blender provides the creamiest product.
- 1 cup kale
- 1 cup spinach
- ½ cup frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc)
- ½ cup frozen strawberries
- ½ cup coconut water
- ½ cup green tea (freshly brewed and chilled)
- Sweetener (If desired; honey, agave, stevia)
- I like to buy all of my fruits and veggies, and portion them at home so I can quickly grab what I need to make one smoothie each morning. I like to measure out all of the berries and one banana into a resealable bag, and freeze the ingredients overnight. I also portion out the kale and spinach into one bag and store them in the refrigerator (you can freeze these as well in one bag with the fruit).
- I usually brew some tea in the morning, and cool it down with some ice cubes so I can use it in the smoothie that day, and any extra I keep in the refrigerator for the next day.
- The first trick is to add all of your spinach and kale into the blender. Add the ½ cup of coconut water and ½ cup of green tea. Blend the vegetables until the mixture is bright green and only smaller particles are visible. This ensures that your have break down the vegetables before you add the frozen berries, so your smoothie doesn’t lose it’s nice thickness.
- Add berries to the pureed vegetables and blend until you get the desired consistency.
- The smoothie will be as sweet as your berries, so if you like a sweeter drink, you can add some natural sweetneers such as a touch of honey, agave or stevia. If you’re a little hesitant about how spinach or kale may taste, you can adjust the amounts you to your liking, but I promise that you can barely taste the vegetables!
- This recipe yields approximately 24 ounces of smoothie.