Think you have no time for breakfast? Does snack time automatically mean a pint of Ben and Jerry’s or a nosedive into a bag of Terra chips? Rushing home exhausted after a long day and think your only pick-me-up option is nuking some leftover lo-mein from the back of the fridge? Well, then, it’s time to get reacquainted with your blender, that lonely appliance taking up a small chunk of real estate at the edge of your counter. Used intelligently, a blender can have a powerful impact on your health, your wallet, and your time!
For some reason, people don’t think of shakes and smoothies as healthy ‘foods.’ But, in fact, when prepared properly, they can be complete meals in a glass! What’s the difference between protein, fats and carbs arranged artfully on your dinner plate or whipped up deliciously in your blender? Nutritionally, there is no difference. In some cases, the liquid meal can actually be healthier.
Then, there’s the time factor. What takes longer – putting up a casserole, frying up some fish and chips, or concocting a high protein shake? Again, make a shake is a no-brainer. And for those who say that it takes too long to get all the components together, with a little advance prep, that excuse, too, should fall by the wayside.
A healthy smoothie should contain some protein, a source of good fats, and plenty of high-fiber carbs. But it’s not worth a dime if it’s not delicious. The following recipe and smoothie tips should help you get started on your new relationship with your blender.
Delicious High-Protein Banana-Berry Shake:
Toss the following ingredients into your blender. To save time, you can eyeball the ingredients. Exact measurements do not matter here.
½ to 1 ripe banana (preferably frozen ahead of time in chunks)
½ cup frozen blueberries
½ cup frozen strawberries
1 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
1 cup almond milk
½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
¼ cup pasteurized egg whites (like Papetti), optional
¼ cup wheat germ
2 tablespoons almond butter or ¼ cup chopped walnuts
1 to 2 cups water, as needed
Blend to desired consistency. Add more or less water, depending on how thick you like your smoothie to be. There’s no need to add crushed ice if you’re using frozen fruits, but if you decide to use fresh, you might choose to add ½ to 1 cup of crushed ice.
To save time, have frozen fruits on hand. When your bananas start looking speckled, they’re at the perfect stage of ripeness, and you shouldn’t hesitate to peel, chunk and freeze them. This is true of any fruits you have laying around: Pears looking bruised? Grapes starting to shrivel? Quick, pull out your cutting board, cut your fruits into chunks (bruises and all), rinse the grapes, and freeze them, covered, in a single layer on a tray or plate (otherwise, they’ll freeze into one unusable chunk of ice). Don’t peel your fruits – the peel is a valuable source of fiber. Once they’re frozen, transfer the frozen chunks to a zipper lock baggie, and store in the freezer until your next smoothie-making session.
Once you get the hang of it, you can make a smoothie and be out the door in under ten minutes. Here’s to wishing you and your blender a healthy and happy future together.