As a breakfast option, smoothies are fabulous for busy people and busy families as long as they are made fresh at home; generally speaking, shop-bought smoothies, even the “healthy” kind, are packed full of unnecessary added sugars and additives. Smoothies also help to encourage fussy children to get something good inside them because they look and taste a lot like milkshakes.
Even people who are counting calories or generally watching their weight can enjoy smoothies because the ingredients can be carefully measured out, allowing you to know exactly how many calories are in there. You can also swap full fat dairy products for low fat ones and still enjoy the benefits of drinking a smoothie for breakfast, whilst sticking to your diet.
This particular breakfast smoothie is made from almonds, red apple, banana, Greek yogurt, milk, cinnamon and flax seeds, all ingredients guaranteed to get your day off to a flying start. To make it, add all the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth.
Let’s take a look at the health benefits that each ingredient has to offer:
These delicious nuts make an excellent addition to a breakfast smoothie because they are bursting with essential fatty acids that are important for good cognitive functions. Adding a few of these to your smoothie will give your brain a much needed jump start in the morning. Recent scientific research has also shown that consuming almonds at breakfast time helps to improve the levels of “good” cholesterol in the body.
Foods that contain the highest levels of lycopene, which is the most powerful of all antioxidants, are generally those that have a red colouring, making red apples an excellent ingredient to include in a breakfast smoothie. Because of their high levels of antioxidants, eating red apples can help fight against cancer and including them as part of a balanced breakfast will help to leave you feeling fuller for longer thanks to their good levels of dietary fibre – one medium-sized apple contains around 4g.
Bananas are an ideal addition to a breakfast smoothie, they taste great and add natural sweetness without the need for processed sugar. Many food products marketed as breakfast items contain high levels of sugar which can give your body an unnecessary and unhelpful sugar rush. Research shows, however, that eating a banana at breakfast helps to keep blood glucose levels in balance, in many cases even lowering them, which combined with the resistant starch in bananas also helps you to feel fuller for longer.
Containing more than twice the protein and calcium of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt is an excellent choice for adding to a breakfast smoothie. Protein is the best nutrient for ensuring that you feel satiated and resist snacking between meals, making Greek yogurt a helpful addition to the diet for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy one. Protein is also important for helping to repair muscles post-workout. So if you are a morning exercise person, then consuming a breakfast smoothie with Greek yogurt after the session will help to improve overall muscle regeneration.
Perhaps one of the most common components of a breakfast table, the humble milk is definitely one of the best things to include in the diet at breakfast time. When added to a smoothie, milk provides a significant boost in protein, as with Greek yogurt, ensuring that you feel satisfied until lunch. One cup of milk contains around 8g of protein! Milk also provides nine of the essential vitamins and minerals that the body needs, including a number of important B vitamins, like B12, and calcium.
Love it or hate it, cinnamon should definitely be included in a breakfast smoothie if for no other reason than the effect it has on tongue bacteria. According to research, the essential oils in cinnamon have an antibacterial effect on the bacteria that cause bad breath, reducing them by as much as 43%. So adding cinnamon to your breakfast smoothie will help keep bad breath at bay!
By adding just one tablespoon to a smoothie you can achieve 50% of your daily requirement of omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for good cognitive functions – what better way is there to give your brain a natural boost in the morning?
Banana, spinach, mango, coconut milk, spirulina, flax seeds and coconut water smoothie
Red apple, almonds, blackberries, spinach, walnuts, pineapple, almond milk, medjool dates, honey and banana smoothie
Blueberries, red apple, carrot juice, ginger, beetroot, water and lime smoothie