Everyone has heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. While this traditional view may be true, the fact remains that very few people today have time for anything more than a hurriedly put nourishment of sorts. For most working adults, breakfast will consist of a piece of toast and coffee while for children, this is often simply a bowl of cereal into which some milk has been splashed.
Hardly anyone now has time for the ham and egg routine that used to mark the start of day except perhaps during weekends. At any rate, nutritionists no longer hold the ham or bacon and egg breakfast as ideal because of its cholesterol content. In the interest of time, breakfast smoothies can now make a timely entrance. In addition, they are so flexible they can accommodate the inclusion of vitamins, minerals and proteins.
What Breakfast Smoothies Should Contain
When presented as breakfast, smoothies are not exempt from the nutritional requirements that regular meals must meet. Breakfast must provide at least one quarter of the daily calorie requirement and the daily recommended intake of protein, calcium, iron vitamins A, B, C. Smoothies, when served as breakfast, should therefore include some form of whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy or dairy products, fruits and vegetables.
Smoothie Ingredients for Nutrition
Whole grains that can be incorporated into smoothies need not be blended or pureed along with the other ingredients. They can in fact be sprinkled into the mixture after everything has been poured into a glass. If these grains are crunchy, they will add an interesting texture to the smoothie.
Examples of protein sources that can easily be included as smoothie ingredients are peanut butter, silken tofu and nuts. Among the readily available nuts, the best protein sources are almonds, pistachios, sunflower seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts and pine nuts, in that order. Low-fat dairy products that provide protein would include skim milk, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese such as cottage cheese.
Nutritional Requirements to Meet
Children are supposed to eat two to four servings or one to two cups of fruit and three to five servings or two to three cups of vegetables daily. Providing a fourth of all these is actually not a difficult challenge when you use smoothies as a tasty strategy.
The daily intake requirement for grains is six to eleven servings which would translate to around six to eleven pieces of bread or half a cup to five or six cups of cooked rice. Bananas used to hold smoothies together are an adequate substitute source of carbohydrates with the added benefit of providing potassium. To satisfy calcium and vitamin D requirements, children need to eat at least two servings of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese. Some examples of low-fat cheese would be cheddar, mozzarella, cottage cheese or Colby.
Basic Recipes for Breakfast Smoothies
If they are to take the place of breakfast, the basic recipe for early morning smoothies must include whole grains, low-fat protein, low-fat dairy or dairy products and fruits or vegetables. You can substitute different ingredients for each category of food but all four must be present in some form.
Golden Breakfast Smoothie
• 1 cup peach or mango tidbits
• 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or silken tofu
• 1/2 cup sliced banana
• 1 cup low-fat milk
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
• 1/3 cup cereal or toasted almond slivers
Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie
• 1 banana
• 1/2 cup silken tofu or vanilla flavored low fat yogurt
• 1/2 cup soymilk
• 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
• 1/3 cup crushed ice
• 1/3 cup cereal or toasted nuts
Strawberry Breakfast Smoothie
• 1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries (rinsed and hulled)
• 1 cup low-fat or non-fat yogurt
• 1/2 frozen cranberry juice
• 1/3 cup crushed ice
• 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
• 1/3 cup cheerios or any other cereal
Cut up and prepare fruits and other ingredients the night before. Throw into a blender and puree all ingredients except the nuts or cereal. Pour into glass and sprinkle with nuts or cereal of choice.