A balanced breakfast

Start your day off right!

We have heard time after time that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, sometimes it is hard to stop and have a balanced meal in the morning. The solution? A power-packed smoothie may be a great alternative to a sit-down meal. Smoothies are quick to make, can be full of nutrients, and easy to sip on the way to work, dropping the kids off at school, or whatever your morning may entail.

When made with wholesome ingredients, Michigan State University Extension says that smoothies can be a one-stop-shop for many of the nutrients your body needs each day. By blending low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt with a variety of fruits and vegetables, you are providing your body with protein, calcium, and countless other vitamins and minerals. According to the Dietary Reference Intake, most adults should consume 1,000 milligrams of calcium each day. By adding one cup of low-fat or fat-free milk, one cup of low-fat or fat-free yogurt, or one cup of fortified soy milk as a base to your smoothie, you are providing your body with about 300 milligrams of calcium. In addition, you are consuming one out of the three servings of dairy recommended daily.

Many people struggle to meet the recommendations for fruits and vegetables. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests most adults consume about 1.5 to two cups of fruit and 2.5 to three cups of vegetables every day. Smoothies are a great way to get both in one drink! Try using a combination of fresh and frozen fruit. Frozen fruit is equally as nutritious as fresh, may be more cost-efficient, and is a great alternative to using ice cubes in this delicious blended drink. For vegetables, try blending some of those highly-esteemed green leafy vegetables, such as spinach or kale with your fruit and milk. Both of these luscious greens are nutrient-dense and combine very well with the sweet taste of fruit. You might not even know you are eating vegetables!

Do you want to pack even more nutrients into your smoothie? Try incorporating one tablespoon of ground flax seed, wheat germ, or nut butter, such as peanut or almond butter to your smoothie to increase the protein, fiber, and “healthy” fats.

Mornings may be rushed, but there is always time to whip up a healthy, nutrient-filled smoothie. By combining milk, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, and maybe even nut butter, you are consuming three or four out of the five food groups! And smoothies are not limited to the mornings. They are great to enjoy at any time throughout the day! Nourish your body with a delicious, healthy smoothie. Try this smoothie recommended below.

1 cup low-fat/fat-free milk, almond milk, or soy milk

1 ripe banana, peeled

1 cup frozen blueberries

1 cup fresh baby spinach

1 teaspoon honey

2 tablespoons ground flax seed

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender and enjoy!

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