Berry Banana Smoothie
For a quick energy boost in the mornings, make our easy Berry Banana Smoothies!
Mornings are always a busy time trying to get a jumpstart on the day with work and children. Typically, mornings feel a bit rushed for me, making school lunches, feeding the dog, getting my morning coffee on before little ricemonkee wakes up, rather getting him to get up and out of bed! In the restaurant business, even an early start sometimes doesn’t allow much time for breakfast, especially if you’re the first one in the restaurant to receive deliveries and plan out the day. To this day, I’m still trying to find ways to be more efficient in the mornings.
BERRY BANANA SMOOTHIES vs ENERGY BARS
You can rely on quick grab’n go breakfasts like energy bars or single-serve yogurt, but for me, these don’t seem to sustain energy as much as a smoothie. Why? Usually they’re packed with too much sugar, which is fine for an hour or so, and then you crash. Energy bars, although may contain good ingredients, are heavily processed, so you’re not getting the full benefits of the nuts and grains. They can also be high in sugar as well. You can customize smoothies to suit your needs. I tend to need energy to last the morning and thru lunch service, so pack in those natural energy boosters into your smoothies.
Berry Banana Smoothies are the standard smoothies I make in the AM. There are a myriad of berries out there that can be substituted, but for this recipe, I use blueberries and strawberries, which are the most common and economical berries these days. Readily available in the grocery stores, and easy to toss together in a blender. The blender is also a great way to wake up children in the mornings!
PREPARING YOUR BERRY BANANA SMOOTHIE
For this smoothie, first wash blueberries, strawberries and drain well. Hull strawberries and cut in half. Cut in quarters if they are large. Peel banana and cut into slices. Chill or *freeze prepped fruit. The proportion of fruit in this recipe is based on personal preference, so you can definitely increase the amount of one fruit over another. If I find really big & juicy blueberries, I will make this the star of the smoothie.
Add almond milk/soy milk and yogurt to blender. My personal favorites are Silk Organic Soy Milk and Blue Diamond Almond Breeze almond milk blended with bananas. If I am doing smoothie combinations without bananas, I just use unsweetened almond milk. Add the peanut butter and honey. Then, add chilled/frozen fruit. Feel free to add other additives such as other fruit, cinnamon, chia seeds, etc. Blend, pour into glass and enjoy!
TIPS & NOTES:
*CrossEat Tip: Freezing fruit is optional, but it produces a nice cold refreshing smoothie. (Alternatively, you can add a few ice cubes directly to the blender to chill down the smoothie). It also helps to freeze fruits if pre-portioning. I find this works out great for speed and efficiency in the AM. If I get my shopping done on the weekend, on Sunday I can prep/portion fruit for smoothies and freeze. Freezing gives you a nice cold smoothie in the morning for the rest of the week. It also preserves the fruit so it doesn’t get wasted.
*Tasting Notes: Substitute Milk, Soymilk, Oatmilk, Cashew Milk or Coconut Milk (not the canned product) based on your personal preference.
**Tasting Notes: Almond butter or other nut butters can be substituted for peanut butter.
NATURAL HEALTH & ENERGY BOOSTERS
Strawberries are typically seen in jams, jellies, and desserts with added sugars or sweeteners to make them taste good. I don’t think the strawberry needs to be messed with at all. If we don’t take part in the good that Mother Nature has provided for us, it seems a bit disrepectful. Not to say I don’t use it in desserts, or use jellies/jams as condiments, but I definitely steer towards moderation in this aspects. I taught my son from a young age to eat raw berries, so if I wash a bowl of strawberries, he can have a sweet snack without any processed sugars. They are an antioxidant, natural energy booster, JAM-packed with vitamins, low in calories, and aid in reducing cholesterol and inflammations.
Blueberries are probably my son’s favorite berry. I have fond memories of him as a baby eating a bowl of Cheerios with blueberries in his high chair… Blueberry juice all over his chubby hands and cheeks. Blueberries have a tremendous amount of antioxidants, mostly in their skins. Blueberries are not only high in antioxidants, lowers blood pressure, improves memory and brain function, low in calories and packed with essential vitamins.
I love bananas. In high school, I was a high jumper, long jumper, triple jumper. My coach pushed me really hard to strengthen my legs…doing goal posts and bleachers until I wanted to puke. I was a bit vertically challenged so I needed more “hops” to compete with the taller competitors. The biggest problem I had were the cramping in my muscles after or even sometimes during the workouts. Bananas helped me with these issues, which I would eat either before or after. Not only do they help reduce muscle cramps, they are also natural energy boosters, antioxidants, improves digestion, low in calories and vitamin-rich. They also help you feel fuller so it will help you curb any unwanted cravings throughout the morning. Don’t reach for a doughnut, have a banana instead!
I remember my mother forcing me to drink a glass of milk every morning before school so I’d grow big and tall. As an adult, I developed a bit of lactose sensitivity, so I stick to the alternative milks for certain applications. Any kind of milk will do in this recipe. Stick with the unsweetened version. This will lower your sugar intake if you are monitoring this. Almond milk is also low in carbs (less sugar than milk) and high in protein (from the almonds). It is also very high in Vitamin E and a natural energy booster. Because Almond milk is dairy-free, be sure to get daily calcium from elsewhere or you can buy calcium-fortified versions.
Never bad to “go nuts” with your breakfast smoothie. Nuts are heart healthy and help keep your hunger cravings to a minimum. Peanut Butter is a natural energy booster (high in protein) and low in calories. It contains healthy fats that are good for heart health. HOWEVER, this is one of those things where too much of a good thing… I have 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter in this smoothie. Don’t go overboard just because it is purported to be healthy. Try to get the more natural peanut butter without any added sugars or oils. Almond butter is just as healthy and can be substituted as well.
A few years ago, my family switched from regular yogurt to greek yogurt. What’s the difference? Greek yogurt is manufactured differently. The whey (liquid from milk) is taken out, so the consistency is a lot thicker. With the whey taken out, each serving is packed with more protein (energy booster), less sugar, and less dairy. It also helps control hunger pains as it makes you feel more full. The billions of probiotics help with digestion too! We buy greek yogurt as it is more useful in cooking as well.
I was shocked to learn that some honey on the shelves have added corn syrup and aren’t all pure honey. Try to buy good quality honey, and just like peanut butter, use in moderation. This additive in your smoothie is optional. Not really necessary, but is a better sweetener than the alternatives.
Depending on my mood, I will change up the additives in my morning smoothies. Check out my Mango Smoothie Recipe for a tropical fun variation. Adding spices can also increase the health benefits of your smoothie. Cinnamon is one of those spices that is a natural antioxidant and helps lower blood sugars. Mint is also a great additive to brighten up a smoothie. Although it has health benefits, they are more beneficial in concentrated form such as oils or capsules.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSAmazon Brand – Happy Belly Raw Wildflower Honey, 32 oz (Previously Solimo) (Packaging May Vary) Simply Organic Ground Ceylon Cinnamon, Certified Organic, Vegan | 2.08 oz | Cinnamomum verum J. Presl
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