My husband has a 30 minute drive to work each morning. That means he needs to leave our home by 6:30 am so he can be to (or at least near) his desk by 7 am. He is also not a morning person, so sitting down and eating breakfast before he leaves is not an option.
Most of the time he grabs some dry cereal and munches on it throughout the morning at his desk. This is easy, inexpensive, and a healthy choice. However, I have learned that if we do not start our morning off with a fruit, vegetable, or both, my family is not likely to get all of the fruits and vegetables we need in a day. So, we have started adding smoothies to his morning routine a couple of times a week.
There are many restaurants and shops near his workplace, so he could easily stop and pick one up. These smoothies taste great, but they are expensive at $3 to $4 each. They also tend to be larger than what he can drink for breakfast, so some of it gets wasted. We can make smoothies at home that taste great and cost about $1 per smoothie. With the cost savings, we prefer to make our own smoothies. On top of that, by making smoothies at home we can make sure we are getting the fruits and vegetables we need with about half the calories of a smoothie from a restaurant.
We usually make a large batch of smoothies one night a week (about eight smoothies in a batch). I have some glass jars that hold 8 ounces and some plastic bottles that hold 10 ounces. I pour the smoothies into the jars or bottles, pop the lid on, and freeze. The smoothies need about 12 hours to thaw, so I put a smoothie into the refrigerator while I am working on supper the night before. In the morning he can pull it out of the refrigerator, shake it up to mix everything around, and it is ready to go.
The best thing about smoothies is that you do not need a recipe. I usually use yogurt or milk, frozen berries, bananas, and fresh spinach or kale. If you prefer to follow a recipe, we have several options: Fruit Smoothies, Fruitastic Summer Smoothie Blast, and Orange Smoothie. Whether you follow a recipe or make up your own, try a smoothie for breakfast this week! Watch our video below How to Make a Fruit Smoothie!
Christine Hradek is a State Nutrition Specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. She coordinates ISU’s programs which help families with low income make healthy choices with limited food budgets. Christine loves helping families learn to prepare healthy foods, have fun in the kitchen and save money. In her spare time, Christine enjoys cooking, entertaining and cheering on her favorite college football teams with her family and friends.
Fruit smoothies and drinks have joined the menu at many coffee shops and quick serve restaurants. Manufacturers have also joined the bandwagon with many bottled or frozen mixes on grocery store shelves. It is no wonder they are so popular, they are a great way to get fruits into your and children’s diet.
When smoothies are made with dairy products and fruit like those at Panera, Starbucks, McDonalds, etc., they are a fabulous snack because they add calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, protein, and fiber to your diet. However, be sure to read the nutrition information.
Purchased smoothies often cost $2.00-$3.00 per serving. You can make your own for a fraction of the cost especially if you buy fruits in season. Our Fruitastic Summer Smoothie Blast is around $.75 per serving. It is made with strawberries, banana, and strawberry yogurt. Almost any combination of fruit and yogurt will work (eg. banana-peach, mango-berry).
Fruitastic Summer Smoothie Blast
½ cup frozen berries
1 (6-ounce) container strawberry yogurt
Blend all ingredients well in blender.
Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy!
TIP: Smoothies are a great way to use over-ripe fruit
Grill vegetables like onions, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and potatoes. Here’s how …
Just slice them 1/4 – 1/2-inch thick and marinate in whatever Italian salad dressing or vinaigrette you have on hand. (If you use potatoes you need to microwave them for a few minutes before you put them on the grill.)
Preheat the grill, then either use a grill basket or lay right on the oiled grate.
Grill over medium heat for 5-20 minutes depending on the vegetable. Sometimes I make skewers with chunks of beef or chicken, but I can make a meal of just vegetables.
Top Of The Stove Dishes – These dishes don’t take long to make, and when I am cooking, I make extra so I can just reheat them in the microwave.