Friday Tips: Start with a Smoothie

Delicious Vegan Dish of the Day:

We were on the go for part of today, but I always have some easy vegan snacks with me.  Today it was roasted and salted almonds, crackers and chocolate chips.

Money Matters:

Today we were too busy running around having fun – no money spent!

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Start with a Smoothie

We start pretty much every day with a smoothie.  When I tell people in the Northeast about this, they assume we do this because we are from California (land of sprout-eating).  Actually, I was never really a big smoothie-for-breakfast fan for most of my life.  I love a cup of hot tea and something warm in the morning, like toast or waffles.  I still have these things, but smoothies became part of our daily routine when LP started eating solid food.  Why is that?  Well, in a smoothie, we can pack in all sorts of good-for-you things that kids need, like fat (coconut, soymilk) omega-3s (flax-seeds), fruits and even green leafies like kale.  LP loves his smoothie in the morning, and, if he drinks that, we don’t have to worry too much about the rest of the day.  This doesn’t mean we let him eat crap, but it does mean we don’t have to restrict his cracker intake too much, or worry about exactly which vitamins and minerals he is getting in specific amounts on a daily basis.  So, here are a few tips for making smoothies part of a daily, healthy routine for you and  your kids:

Make it tasty: This may sound silly, but I’ve met people who assume that a smoothie isn’t good for you unless it tastes bad.  Trust me – if it doesn’t taste good, you won’t drink it, then it does you no good at all!  Feel free to keep it sweet and tasty with a banana, orange juice, and lots of good fruit, like frozen mangoes and frozen blueberries.  If you think healthy can’t be tasty, let my green smoothie prove you wrong!

Get a good blender: We have a Vitamix blender and we love it.  Now, I know most people aren’t going to buy a blender this expensive, but if you find yourself making smoothies every morning, something like this might be worth the investment.  Either way, if you have a blender that takes 20 minutes to mix up some frozen fruit, you might want to get a better one.  Or, you can make your blender work better by chopping up the frozen parts of your smoothie into smaller pieces, or using more small thing like blueberries instead of whole frozen strawberries. 

Play around: Sure, there are smoothie recipes out there, but really, smoothies are as individual as, well, individuals.  Play around with your non-dairy milk and juice ratios.  See what fruit combos you like.  For example, I love my smoothie with more mango and OJ, while the G-man prefers more milk and blueberries.  To each their own – try different things and then get a combo that works for you!

Smoothies might seem like just something that those “health food” people promote, but they really are a great kickstart to your morning.  They are portable too, so you can enjoy one on your way to work, or give on to your kids to drink on the way to the park!  And, of course, you can always follow your smoothie up with one of my breakfast favorites: waffles!

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