In case you haven't noticed, the holidays are here! After a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, indulging in a few too many Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Latte Muffins, its time to get back on track with healthy eating habits. This is the time of year where most people's fitness and health goals are thrown out the window, accepting defeat long before Christmas Day is even here. If you are looking to get fit and healthy the worst thing you can do right now is push that off until the New Year. On average, Americans gain 7-10lbs pounds* between Thanksgiving and Christmas! I'm commiting myself to posting healthy recipes you can start enjoying today to help stay fit and healthy. One of my tips for maintaining a healthy diet is incorporating smoothies. I absolutely love smoothies, in fact I have at least one a day.To kick off December, here are TWO smoothie recipes for you to try.
That’s right! We back on beets! If you saw our very first post for Roasted Beet Hummus you’re familiar with the health benefits of beet. If not, let me quickly recap how awesome these ruby gem’s are: they are packed with nutrients including potassium, magnesium, fiber, phosphorus, iron; vitamins A, B & C; beta-carotene, beta-cyanine; folic acid. They are a high source of energy, and also natural detoxers. You can read more about there benefits here and even more here.
You get most of a vegetable’s or fruit’s nutrients when you eat them raw, which is why beets are fantastic in juices or smoothies. I haven’t gotten into juicing yet, I prefer smoothies, even if there is more “pulp” because I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything. One of the benefits of eating raw vegetables and fruits is for the fiber so why strain it all out?
Speaking about waste - I like to use the beet greens as well. Now here me out, I know adding greens to your smoothie seems weird, especially if you haven't made a lot of smoothies before, but I'm telling you they are worth it. Yes, beet root (the red bulb we use) are full with nutrients, but beet greens have their own set of great vitamins and nutriets which help round out the recipe. Beet greens actually have a very mild flavor, so with all the other sweet fruits you are adding to the recipe, you will not taste it! The recipe only calls for a quarter cup of greens, but if you'd like to add more, by all means, bump the quarter cup up to a full cup. If you still are apprehensive about beet greens, try adding baby spinach instead, its slightly sweeter.
The first recipe is for a Berry Beet Smoothie. I start off with a half of a medium beet, peeled. The juice from beets stain, so when you are peeling you're beet, don't be wearing white. If you don't want you're fingers and hands to get discolored bright pink, be sure to wear some gloves. I go roque, sans gloves, and just get my hands to the sink as soon as I can after peeling and chopping the beet.
As the name implies, I then add a bunch of my favorite berries - a cup of raspberries and a half a cup of blueberries. Frankly, you can really add any combination you like - feel free to sub out for strawberries or blackberries, but keep the total fruit to 1.5-2 cups. I also add a half of a frozen banana. Banana's help to keep you full during the day, so my smoothies almost always have a half to whole banana. Once they are ripe, I chop them up and freeze them. A frozen banana adds some nice texture to the smoothie.
Another key ingredient in a good smoothie, is fat. Yes, I said it, FAT IS GOOD... well, not all fats, but healthy fats, like Omega-3. Flaxseed serves a good fat to add to a smoothie with about about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s in each tablespoon. I usually buy a ground flaxseed from Trader Joe's. I find that the ground version is much easier to incorporate into smoothies. Ground flaxseed is also easier for your body to process so you can absorb more of their nutriets.
Lastly the Beet Berry Smoothie comes together with unsweetened almond milk (which if you follow Mindful Glutton, you know is one of the stables in our fridge). I like how the creaminess of the almond milk balances the acidity and sweetness from the fruit. Depending on the desired consitency and if you add ice to your smoothie, you may need more than a cup. Almond milk is so light in calories you are welcome to add a few more drops, but I usually end up just adding a few extra tablespoons of water if I need to. It wont dilute the flavor whatsoever. Here is a fun picture of the recipe you can post to Pinterest!
Today is a double feature - so here is another recipe you can use that other half of beet for. This is a Tropical Beet Smoothie. I know its December, but when it starts to get cold here in New England, I sometimes like to remind myself of warmer weather. The tropical blend of fruits in this version does the trick.
As with the first recipe, start out with a half of a raw medium beet. Next I add a cup of cubed pineapple and about a half a cup of mango to get those tropical flavors. Pineapple is a very assertive flavor, and does a really great job of masking the beet flavor (although mild to begin with). I also added about a 1/3 cup of raspberries because I had some left over from the Berry Beet Smoothie. Have you heard the phrase "eat the rainbow"? Its the concept that by eating fresh produce, of all different colors, you are getting a great variety of nutriets. Here we have reds, yellows, and oranges (and if you add beet greens/ spinach, green too).
I use one of three liquids in my smoothies: water, almond milk, or coconut water. Going along with the tropical inspiration, this one uses coconut water. I don't enjoy drinking coconut water straight up (unless its the chocolate flavor), but its a great base for a smoothie. The coconut flavor is really mild. Where the real benefit comes from is the potassium and electrolytes in coconut water. Its incredibly hydrating. Hungover? Drink coconut water. Between the detoxing properties in the beet, and the electrolytes in the coconut water, this smoothie is a perfect way to flush out all the bad toxins after your holiday work party.
The last addition is a half of tablespoon of chia seeds. You can put in a whole tablespoon, but if you haven't tried chia seeds before, I recommend starting with a half, since they pretty much stay intact after blending. As with flaxseeds, chia seeds are rich with Omega-3, a healthy fatty acid. They will also help you feel full faster, keep you hydrated, and give you lots of energy. Its said that chia seeds were a regular part of the Mayans and Aztecs diets because of the energy and stamina it gives. Warriors were said to eat a handful before going off to battle. So maybe we aren't fighting in any epic battles this season, but extra energy, without having to fill up on a high calorie caffeine drink from your favorite coffee ship is always a win. So here you have another great smoothie recipe in your aresenal. Enjoy!
Berry Beet Smoothie
- 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
- 1/4 cup beet greens (or spinach)
- 1/2 banana (preferably frozen)
- 1 cup raspberries
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 tbs ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup ice (optional)
Tropical Beet Smoothie
- 1/2 medium raw beet, peeled
- 1 cup cubed pineapple
- 1/2 cup mango
- 1/3 cup raspberries
- 1/2 tbs chia seeds
- 1 cup coconut water
- 1/2 cup ice (optional)
- For either recipe, preparing your smoothie is as simple as putting all the ingredients into your blender, and blending until smooth.
- Be careful as you peel the beet, their juices will stain your clothes. You can choose to wear gloves if you'd like, but I just quickly wash my hands afterward to get the beet juice off.
- If you are adding ice to give your smoothie more texture, you can add extra water/ice to get the desired consistency.