I sometimes think that if pizza never existed, smoothies might be my favorite food. They are so versatile and you can easily customize the nutrition profile by adding different fruits, veggies, protein powder, nuts, etc. Lucky for me, my little one loves smoothies too, and asks for them almost as often as she asks for MnMs.
When you are making green smoothies, you can start with picking a green vegetable. This one calls for spinach, but I have also been known to throw some kale if I have some in my fridge. Then I pick some light colored, frozen fruit. I usually have bananas stocked in my freezer, so that is a given. Then I’ll add whatever TJ’s has in stock (they often run out of frozen mango), usually pineapple and mango. You can add other fruit, such as berries, but it turns the beautiful green smoothie into a brown color. Still delicious, but doesn’t really match the name. Then pick a protein, my go-to as of late has been non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt, but also have some Trader Joe’s Whey Protein powder in my pantry for back up. Using the sweetened Greek Yogurt gives a little but more robust flavor to the smoothie, which I like.
For the last month or so, I have been blogging and vlogging for Nutrition Milestones, which is a team of dietitians that provide nutrition services for people going through life changes, such as pregnancy, parenthood, weddings, medical diagnoses, etc. Olive and I recently shared with them our Green Smoothie recipe, take a look!
The Mean Green Smoothie
- 2-3 cups spinach, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (approx. Just use one small 6 oz container)
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen mango
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup Milk of choice or water
- Put in blender and blend on high until smooth. If you need to think it out more, add additional water or milk.
The Acai Bowl trend has begun to die down, which means cafes and coffee shops around the country feel comfortable with putting this item on their menu. Now, I personally love me a good acai bowl. I feel like I am doing my body a favor with giving it a whopping dose of antioxidants and fiber…and dessert… all at the same time.
Only thing with preventing me from eating Acai Bowls for every meal: Acai is an exotic fruit from South America, thus making it a little on the pricey side. Most Acai Bowls I come across are easily $6-8. Also, Trader Joes doesn’t sell frozen Acai…or any acai that I know of. Becasue I love saving money any chance I get, I figured, why not try to re-create my beloved acai bowl with ingredients I purchased from Trader Joes in my fridge?
When you deconstruct an acai bowl, you will notice that most of them follow a similar set-up:
- Sorbet-type texture base of acai and other fruits. Because Trader Joes doesn’t carry Acai, then neither do I! I did happen to have a bag of frozen mixed berries, which would have to do. One of the great things about Acai is that it is loaded with antioxidants, but fruits like blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and blackberry are also jam packed with antioxidants, so I didn’t feel like I was being cheated nutritionally. I also added some Organic Low-Fat Vanilla Yogurt (because I had it on hand…and for a little extra protein) and 1% milk (because it was the only thing on hand aside from water that would work as a liquid do blend the fruit. You could use any dairy or non-dairy based beverage. I am sure coconut milk or almond milk would be delicious). I also added half of a banana to make it just a little bit more delicious (save the other half for the top, see below). Blend it all together in a super blender (Vitamix or Blendtec or Ninja-type of blender) until smooth.
- A crunchy topping. I normally don’t purchase granola because I just don’t think it makes sense to eat as cereal. Normally, you get a half a cup for 200 calories, and who can REALLY eat just a half a cup of granola for breakfast? Not me. If I have a bowl of granola for breakfast I easily have 1.5 cups, which, with milk, coffee, and fruit, my breakfast is easily over half my days worth of calories. BUT I went against what my dietetics compass was saying and bought some delicious hemp granola, for the sake of deliciousness. I also always have Bob’s Ground Flaxseed in my fridge (because of the fat content), which I use in my pancakes, so I threw a bit of that on top as well, which helps boost the omega 3 content and add a unique flavor.
- Diced Fruit. Banana (the other half) diced was all I went with this time, but when I have other fruit on hand, I will add that too. In the past I have also topped with blueberries and diced strawberries…pretty much more of what is on the inside.
- Extra garnishes that make it taste damn good. I used a hint of shredded coconut and a drizzle of honey. You could probably skip this step, but it would take this from a 9.5 to about a 7…definitely worth the extra calories.
I’m not going to tell you this was the most amazing thing I have made in my vitamix (I’ll save that for another post), but it was pretty close. It is definitely refreshing, and delicious, and cheaper than purchasing an acai bowl from the cafe across the street. Because I was able to customize this too, I am willing to bet mine had a better nutrition profile than those heavy handed versions. Granted it might not have quite “as many antioxidants” as a traditional acai bowl, but I am perfectly fine with the amount I am getting.
Acai-less Bowl with Mixed Berries, Flax, Bananas, Hemp Granola and Honey
- Half Bag of Frozen Berry Medley
- 1/3 Cup Organic Vanilla Yogurt
- 1/3 Cup Milk (or Non-Dairy Beverage of your choice)
- Half Banana
Blend together in your super blender (Vitamix on High) until smooth, like sorbet. Spoon out into a large bowl.
- 1/4 Cup Hemp Plus Granola
- 1/2 Tbsp Ground Flax Seed
- Half Banana, thinly sliced
- 1/2 Tbsp Shredded Sweetened Coconut
- Drizzle of Honey
Assemble remainder of ingredients on top of mixed berry puree in order listed and enjoy.