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By Mirlene

Smoothies are the easiest way to healthy living

Many people looking to improve their health turn to smoothies as a way to help them balance their meals while they continue with their busy schedule. You do not have to start with green smoothies. I often alternate between smoothies consisting of green vegetables and fruit smoothies with peanut butter for added protein.

A good smoothie can involve fruits mixed with leafy vegetables, plain leafy greens or leafy greens with other added nutritious ingredients.

Fruits can be prepared ahead of time. For example, I know my schedule for the upcoming week during the weekend. I plan out my days, including my meals. By doing so, this helps me keep track of balancing work life and family life. At night (mostly on Sundays), I prepare my breakfast smoothie for the next morning. It often contains berries, since according to Everyday Health, “Women who eat about two servings of strawberries or one serving of blueberries a week experienced less mental decline over time than peers who went without these nutrition powerhouses.” I also add banana for potassium, two-percent milk or almond milk for vitamin D intake and about two tablespoons of all-natural peanut butter. I process the ingredients in a blender, then place in the refrigerator for the next morning. The great thing about breakfast smoothies, besides their nutritional benefits, is that I can have them on the go as I drop the kids off to school or run morning errands. Once I take it out of the refrigerator and give it a few stirs, I am ready to enjoy a delicious meal on the go!

I often also make lunch and dinner smoothies ahead of time, for the week. They may include assorted fruits (berries, pineapple, apple, pear, banana, etc.) and vegetables (carrots, beets and periodically tomatoes). Additional ingredients might include flax seed, which is high in fiber, protein powder or nuts.

Healthy ingredients can be costly. One of the ways I save money is by buying items in bulk. For example, I buy all of the fruits frozen with the exception of the banana, as I prefer fresh bananas (the riper they are the sweeter they are!). Buying frozen fruits not only helps save money, but it also helps with sorting out your portions without having to be in a rush to use all of the items before they go bad. This would defeat the purpose of saving money, right?

Another benefit to making smoothies in advance is that it allows you to indulge yourself in different flavors each day. At times I alternate between veggies only, veggies and fruits or fruits only. I highly recommend quart-sized resealable freezer bags. They are great for reuse.

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