I decided right before Thanksgiving that this holiday season I'd aim for more balance in my diet. Obviously there would be stuffing and pie, but I wanted to counter those indulgences with big leafy greens and vitamin-rich smoothies.
My only issue with smoothies is that I'll often spend a lot of time in the morning preparing them only to find myself hungry an hour later. I began researching ways to really bulk up my morning routine so my breakfast is not only delicious but satisfying and fulfilling as well.
Smoothies aren't as easy this time of year as they are in the summer when it seems everywhere you turn there are fresh berries and stone fruit. But thankfully, frozen fruit works just as well, and I find that winter forces you to think in new and different ways about what inclusions and additions would be delicious and inspiring.
More on Satisfying Smoothies: 5 Tips for More Satisfying Smoothies
Here are five ways I've been making really fulfilling morning smoothies these days.
- Add your favorite nut butter: Nut butters, like almond butter or peanut butter, add a good hit of protein to your next smoothie. Plus, they act as a thickener. I love adding a tablespoon of almond butter to a banana smoothie with plain yogurt, almond milk, honey, and ice.
- Try chia seeds: If you haven't yet tried chia seeds, they're those little superfood seeds rich in protein and antioxidants. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to your next smoothie for an added nutritional boost. You can certainly add the chia seeds directly to your smoothie, but I find that they can have a tough time incorporating this way — and thicken the smoothie a bit too much — so I like to soak the seeds in water for about 10 minutes before I blend them so they'll incorporate easily.
- Fold in tofu: This one may sound a bit odd, but tofu has such a mild, neutral flavor that you might not notice it's even there. It adds instant protein to your morning smoothie, and has great thickening properties as well. I begin with 1/2 cup of crumbled tofu, blend, check the consistency, and go from there.
- Yogurt is key: This may sound obvious, and I know a lot of people make delicious smoothies without yogurt, but if you're not vegan and can tolerate dairy well, I find that yogurt is the key to a fulfilling, satisfying smoothie. I always use full-fat yogurt, as it helps me stay fuller longer (and almost always has far less sugar). I also aim for the plain variety, as I like to let the fruit from the smoothie be the main flavor addition.
- Add a little fat: It's often discussed — and is most certainly my experience — that a little fat helps you stay full longer, especially in the morning, so I've taken to adding a small bit of coconut oil to my smoothies. Coconut oil has a really subtle, natural sweetness, and makes the smoothie silky and delightfu. The added fat helps me plow through my morning tasks without starting to ponder lunch by 10 a.m.
I hope some of these tips inspire a new way to smoothie in your household; if you have any additional tips, I'd certainly love to hear them.
(Image credits: Sara Kate Gillingham; Coco Morante)