Thursday, February 23, 2012

Guest Post: Food I Love//Annie

During the month of February you'll see some guests on Nova Granola talking about a food they love.

Guest: Annie (She's my oldest sister and married to a tops husband and raising 4 kids--I'm so lucky to live close to them. She's an avid reader and excellent in the kitchen. I had to have her guest post cause she loves to cook and bake and she's really good at trying new things and making things healthier.)

Picture 19
Recently my niece, Dayna, challenged her blog readers to a 30 day veggie/fruit smoothie. Well, that got me thinking. I have been making smoothies every morning for a little over a year now. And I have improved them nutritionally over the past year.

So first - let me tell you why I do it. I believe in eating as a family and it is really important to me that we all eat breakfast together. I really do believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. There may come a day that this routine won't work, but for the past 6 years it has worked great. I usually cook a hot breakfast (oatmeal, pancakes, waffles, breakfast burritos) but there is always a smoothie with it (or almost always).

4 reasons I make smoothies:
1 - Increase the number of veggies and fruits we consume a day
2 - Start the day off with protein
3 - Get some Omega -3 in our system

I have found that it is the perfect way for me to guarantee a serving of fruit and vegetables in the morning. We know that we should be consuming a lot more servings of veggies and fruits a day and that they should come in a variety of colors. Well, I knew that it wasn't very likely that I could start serving spinach and kale for dinner and be very successful. (Someday that will happen, right?) But for now, if I could get that in our breakfast then that would work. I know some people believe in not drinking calories (and I really try not to), but I think smoothies count more as food than drink (that is just my opinion). You can add spinach, kale, carrots, cucumber, etc. The kids don't have to know. My don't care anymore though.

I think it is crucial to start the day out with more protein. So my smoothies always have a scoop of vanilla protein powder and/or some plain greek yogurt (very high in protein).

I always add several tablespoons of ground flaxmeal. It is high in Omega -3 and a good source of fiber. Omega-3 is so important for a number of reasons - including focus and brain development (besides as an anti-inflammatory and maybe even attention/behavior).

Here is this morning's smoothie.
A couple handful of grapes
Couple spears of pineapple (with core)
big handful of spinach
scoop of vanilla protein powder

Just play around till you get a consistency you like.

I really don't use recipes anymore. I just kind of guess. You can't really mess up too badly. And if your kids can't deal with green smoothies - add dark fruits - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and even strawberries. I almost always throw in a cup of frozen berries from Costco. Those will usually cover up the green.

Another trick is having a good blender which can be kind of pricey. Or chopping or shredding food before you put in the blender. One thing I found helpful, is to blend the water with the spinach until it is well chopped and then add the rest.

>Thanks Annie! I broke my blender some months ago and this only reminds me of just how badly I need to replace it. Such an ideal way to start the morning! I've never put grapes in my smoothies before. Can't wait to give that a go.


  1. Great post and awesome tips! Brinley and I love to drink smoothies and this had motivated me to try something new!! But first, we definitely need a new blender. Ours seriously moans when I throw in too much stuff. Stresses her out apparently!!

  2. annie is good at everything! That sounds delicious. Never thought of putting grapes in before. Jane- I think I have an extra blender sitting around. holla at me.

  3. Each of your sisters is super talented! I'm dying at how amazing your family is. I'm loving the guest posts. Keep 'em coming.

    And I also loved the tin foil dinners. It's funny because we had them for din din the other night and then you posted about it the next day! It's fate!

  4. gotta get on those smoothies again. Thanks Annie.