I created a smoothie using my beloved Vitamix that I have been taking to work (in a handy leak-proof mason jar) for breakfast for a while now. I usually don’t eat breakfast (don’t tell the rest of the nutrition world!) because solid food upsets my stomach right after I wake up, and I no longer take multivitamins because, like a lot of people, they make me extremely nauseous. This smoothie solves both problems by providing a variety of nutrients in a stomach-friendly liquid form.
This smoothie has skim milk (you could use any other milk you’d like) for complete protein and calcium. To reduce the amount of calories by about 40 kcal (keep in mind that these are nutrient-dense calories: 4 g protein, 200 mg potassium, and 15% RDA of calcium), you could replace half the milk with water. It has flax seeds or chia seeds for omega-3, fiber, protein, and a variety of minerals and B vitamins*. Plus, they are flavorless, so it’s like adding a very cheap smoothie booster to your breakfast. The blueberries have fiber, natural sugars for quick energy (important in the morning to replenish glycogen stores, especially if you exercise in the morning), vitamins like potassium (which 98% of Americans do not get enough of) and tons of antioxidants like anthocyanin (which is the blue pigment). The cocoa powder is high in flavanoids like antocyanidin and epicatechins and lends a lovely flavor. There is also caffeine, which some of you probably care about in the morning. I add a splash of coffee for the same benefits with a slightly different flavor. I also add a touch of maple syrup or honey to round out the harshness of the cocoa powder (this is optional), but even this added sugar lends small benefits like a teeny sugar boost, calcium, and magnesium.
*Flax seeds are only beneficial if they are ground; otherwise they will easily pass through the digestive system untouched. Chia seeds are similarly undigestible in whole form, but they do absorb a lot of water, so they can expand and keep you full even in whole form. Regardless, I blend the seeds and milk together first to grind the seeds before adding the rest of the ingredients (this also improves the texture). You could also just use ground forms, but these go rancid much faster (more surface area=more oxidation area=more rancidity), even when stored in the freezer. By the way, I store all seeds, wheat germ, and whole wheat flour in the freezer.
- 1 cup skim milk or alternative
- 2 Tbsp flax seeds or chia seeds
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or other fruit
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 Tbsp coffee, if desired
- 1 tsp maple syrup or honey, if needed
- 3-5 ice cubes
- Put the milk and seeds in the blender and blend on high until the seeds are ground.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, except the ice, and blend until smooth.
- Add the ice and blend until thick and smooth.
Approximate Nutrition Information (minus the antioxidants):