I often spend so much time and energy planning inexpensive, fast, healthy dinners for my family, that I completely forget about breakfast. What results is a mad rush to throw something together while flying out the door, or too much money spent at a drive through or cafe on the way to work. It doesn't have to be that way, though. with a few minutes of advance thought about breakfast, mornings can be a breeze, or a little less hectic, anyway. Enter: The smoothie.
The smoothie is this week's easy, cheap, healthy breakfast tip, because it lends itself so well to a variety of ingredients, it's kid- and adult-friendly, and it can be prepared for one or a crowd with the same effort. The smoothie accommodates almost any kind of fruit and juice, but the cheapest way to make one is to buy fresh produce like bananas, berries, melon, or pineapple on sale, cut them into smoothie-sized chunks, and freeze them for later use.The ingredients for the the smoothie pictured are few: a banana, some orange juice, some non-fat milk, and some soy protien powder (optional). These ingredients were chosen based on their proximity to the kitchen, or their price at the grocery store. Upstate South Carolina Ingles locations had both orange juice (2 for $5.00) and bananas ($.49 per pound) on decent sale this week. The soy protein powder, (Whole Foods Market brand), was hanging around the pantry from a recent health kick, and the milk is always in the fridge. With any kind of fruit, it's good to pre-slice and freeze. This is a very important step that means the difference between a creamy, frothy, cold smoothie and a lukewarm glass of banana-orange flavored milk.
In the morning, open the blender and pour in the following items: 8 oz. orange juice, 4 oz. non-fat milk, 1/2 scoop vanilla-flavored soy protein powder (about 1/8 cup, optional), and 1 frozen sliced banana. Replace the lid and blend until the banana is fully pureed and the entire mixture is smooth and frothy. Pour into a glass. Drink. Simple!
This smoothie takes less than five minutes to prepare, and even with some toast and peanut butter on the side, breakfast still costs less than $1.00, making it an easy, super-cheap, and healthy breakfast. The blender is not just for cocktail hour anymore! Have a favorite fruit/juice smoothie combination? Leave suggestions in the comment section.