Welcome back. Thanks for sticking with me. I have now survived 5 weeks of the 80 Pounds in 80 Weeks challenge. After last week’s disappointment and my new focus on staying positive, I opted to not weigh in this week. Some might call that a copout, and maybe subconsciously it is, but after working on getting my brain in a positive productive place, I wanted to make sure it stayed there.
My results so far make it pretty obvious that I need to do something about my eating habits. We are all familiar with the adage “Eat less and move more”. Well, adding exercise to my daily routine, though it has increased my energy and made me generally feel stronger and healthier, has not made much of a change on the scale, so that leaves my diet. I have been putting this off as long as possible because when I think about what I cannot eat, I begin to feel deprived. This is the most difficult mental challenge for me, and historically I haven’t persisted through this stage for very long.
So I need to reflect on my past and what I need to do differently this time to persevere. (This is where my food journal will become really important and helpful.) Sticking with my motto “Small actions implemented consistently create habits that result in lasting change”, I chose to start small…with the first meal of the day.
My traditional breakfast is a bowl (albeit a rather large bowl) of cereal. This week I decided to replace that bowl of cereal with a green smoothie. I was going to say a delicious green smoothie, but for some recipes that might be stretching it a bit. I tried three different recipes, and all three were better than I anticipated. They each had their own pros and cons.
Smoothie #1: Berry Banana Blend
Put the following in a blender: 1 handful of spinach, a handful of strawberries, 1 small banana, about a 1/2 cup yogurt, and a sprinkle of almonds. Add enough water to achieve your desired consistency. Blend until smooth.
Cons: The red from the berries does not do the overall color of the smoothie any favors. Instead of a vibrant green, the berries turn it anywhere from a split pea green to a reddish-brown (somewhat resembling, I hate to say, a dirty diaper). I know that will ruin it for some folks, but if you can avoid feasting your eyes upon the glass, it really does taste good.
Smoothie #2: Zucchini Pear Blast
This smoothie is adapted from a NutriBullet recipe. Fill your blender with a handful of spinach (about one cup), half of a medium zucchini, half of a pear, 1/2 cup vanilla greek yogurt, a dash of cinnamon, and a tablespoon of hemp seeds. Again, add enough water to achieve your desired consistency. Blend until smooth.
Pros: This smoothie maintains a beautiful green color. The mix of cinnamon and vanilla yogurt gives it a sweet taste.
Cons: Because it has a few more ingredients, it takes slightly longer to put together, and I prefer to not have to cut the ingredients before adding them to my blender.
Smoothie #3: Apple Pie Spinach Smoothie
I found this recipe at BackToHerRoots.com. Cassie swore the ingredients completely masked the taste of the spinach, and she was absolutely correct. Visit her site for the exact recipe; it includes the perfect balance of almond milk, applesauce, apple cider, spinach, yogurt, banana, and cinnamon.
Pros: This is one green smoothie that actually tastes delicious. It is also a beautiful vibrant green.
Cons: This one requires even more ingredients, and I rarely have almond milk on hand, so it will likely be more of a special treat than part of my regular routine. But trust me; it is worth it.
Pre-Pack and Freeze Smoothie Ingredients
One other lesson I learned this week is that you can freeze smoothie ingredients ahead of time. In the past when I have bought fresh fruits and veggies for smoothies, it seems some ingredients have gone past their prime before I consumed them. I also find it inconvenient to have to chop/prep smoothie ingredients each morning.
I have now learned to take time after visiting the grocery store to chop all the fruits and veggies, if required, at the same time. Then fill a ziplock bag with the (produce) ingredients for an individual smoothie. You can keep the baggies in the fridge or the freezer. Freezing the bags extends the life of the ingredients, but it also ensures the smoothie will be nice and cold when consumed. I usually take baggie out of the freezer about an hour before blending it, but you can thaw it in the fridge overnight if your blender is a little weaker or you want to avoid brain-freeze. I opted to not freeze the yogurt and nuts but to add those to the blender at the last moment with the water.
Lastly, being able to prep my smoothies ahead of time sets me up for a successful week. Even if my morning routine requires some extra time (trying to repair a bad hair day or solve a wardrobe dilemma), I can quickly and easily prepare my breakfast smoothie and even drink it in the car if necessary. This kind of strong beginning will definitely assist me on this long but worthwhile journey of creating a healthier me.
Do you have a smoothie recipe to share? Or maybe you’d like to share another power breakfast idea. I’d love to hear what works for you!