April 3, 2013

The Maine Ingredient: Get your quota of fruits and veggies in one smooth breakfast drink

By ANNE MAHLE

A friend of mine routinely shows up with her breakfast at our early-morning meetings. It's in a thermos, and it's NOT earthy brown and filling the room with tantalizing coffee aromas. Rather, it's a shocking bright green, but still she drinks it.

Finally, I asked her what she puts in her incredibly healthy-looking drink: Spinach, kale, cucumber, celery, cilantro, parsley and some fruit were the answer. I hesitated to try it; these things seem wrong as breakfast food. Eggs, toast, yogurt, fruit? Yes. Celery, cucumber, cilantro, kale? No.

On the other hand, healthy is healthy. Our household is no stranger to vegetables and smoothies, so it's not such a stretch to try both in one combination. I started slowly: Spinach with a banana and raspberry smoothie. It turned brown, but it was delicious. My husband made a face. The girls wouldn't even taste it.

Then I tried all green or lightly colored fruit: Spinach, banana, apple, kiwi. And then I started to go crazy. Every morning a different combination until before long, celery, cucumber and cilantro weren't all that big of a leap, and in they went. It was like having salad for breakfast, but with a poached egg or two, it's actually quite lovely. Light, easy on the body and a great way to wake up the digestive system.

I'm hooked. What follows are a few of my favorite combinations. I've included a few fruit-only combos, just in case you can't get past the idea of bright green. But truly, try it. You'll feel great! You might like what the scale says too.

I find that a banana and a little honey in almost all of them take the edge off the vegetables, but you might even get braver than I and go fructose-free! Lemon juice helps absorb all of the mineral and vitamin goodness of the greens. Most of these recipes make 3 cups. I typically have 2 cups in the morning with an egg or two, and then save the other cup for one of the girls or a snack for myself.

Let me know what combinations you love the most; www.athomeatsea.com.

SPINACH, BANANA, PEANUT BUTTER AND HONEY

2 cups lightly packed kale or spinach

1 ripe banana

3 tablespoons natural peanut butter

1 teaspoon raw honey

11/2 cups almond or skim milk

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 2 cups

BLUEBERRY, BANANA AND HONEY

2 cups blueberries

1 ripe banana

2 tablespoons raw honey

11/2 cup almond milk

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: Almost 4 cups

SPINACH, BANANA AND APPLE

2 cups lightly packed spinach

1 ripe banana

1/2 apple, skin on and cored

2 inches of half peeled cucumber, about a fourth of a cucumber

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon raw honey

1 cup cold water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

Makes: 3 cups

SPINACH, CUCUMBER AND CILANTRO

2 cups light packed spinach

1 ripe banana

5 ounces partially peeled cucumber, about a third of a cucumber

1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro, stems and all

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup water

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until completely combined and smooth.

(Continued on page 2)

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