Tag Archives: breakfast

The Worst Breakfast is No Breakfast

There are lots of good ideas here. I know that in the hustle and bustle of working (career or school) folks are sometimes willing to skimp on breakfast. This shows why it is a big mistake.

I did have one small quibble with the general statement on healthy fats. I am a giant believer in coconut oil, a saturated fat. Check out my Page – Coconut oil – Why you should include it in your diet. I start every morning with a spoonful of peanut butter dipped in coconut oil. I eat it; I love it; I recommend it.

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I couldn’t resist sharing this.

Tony

Athletic Performance Training Center

Breakfast[1]I always enjoy traveling to different schools and organizations to discuss Strength & Conditioning, Speed & Agility, and Nutrition.  Invariably, when discussing nutrition, we touch upon the importance of breakfast.  When I tell the audience that any breakfast is better than no breakfast, I usually get a few sarcastic responses like, “what about donuts?” or some other sweets or junk food.  Although I differentiate between a healthy, nutritious breakfast and a less sensible option, the point is this:  Eat something — anything — within 30-90 minutes of waking.  It will set the tone for the rest of your day.  It’s not that the quality of what you eat is unimportant, but the benefits of eating breakfast are indisputable:

  • Improves physical and mental health
  • Improves behavior and performance
  • Kick-starts your metabolism
  • Improves your mood
  • Boosts your energy level
  • Helps to minimize daytime hunger

Like any other meal or snack, the…

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WHEN We Eat Matters Almost as Much as WHAT We Eat – Infographic

Like many of the infographics I have stumbled on while surfing, this one has some amazing facts.

The benefits of breakfast time really argue for eating a good meal at that time. Maybe skipping the croissant is a great idea.

I knew that we eat more unhealthy food on the weekends, but did not realize it was 40% to 60% more. Thank goodness people have to go back to work. (Just kidding).

bb293a1fc7a208d007fe0ea8d14a2710Tony

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10 Tips for Successful Weight Loss – Infographic

I never cease to be amazed at the information contained in these infographics.

This one has some great suggestions which echo what you have read here in a number of posts. Some of these take a little interpretation. Number 8 for example, says to pray the fat away, because people who are closer to God are more likely to be physically active. I buy the physically active part, you can handle the religious part any way you want. Eat less; move more; live longer – I believe that.

Number 9, however, I fully subscribe to. When I was taking off my 50 pounds in 52 weeks, I absolutely designated Sunday as my cheat day and indulged a bit. It helped to relieve the pressure of my diet and weight loss efforts from the prior six days.

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Tony

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8 Benefits of Eating Eggs – Infographic

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What seems like a hundred years ago, I was a young reporter on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange covering, among other markets, the Shell Egg Futures market. As a result I daily came in contact with folks in the egg industry. I started eating eggs regularly and my health did not suffer in any way. If you want to read further about the benefits of eating eggs, check out this post: Is it Healthy to Eat Eggs Regularly?

Tony

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Health Benefits of Chicken Eggs

Eggs are also a rich supply of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. These are predominantly in the form of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) which helps with the maintenance of brain function and normal vision.

I am a huge fan of eggs. I covered the shell egg futures market when I worked for Reuters and learned a great deal about them, from marketing to nutritional value. I still eat an egg almost every day.

Check out the following posts to read further on eggs:
Eating Eggs is Good for Weight Loss – WebMD,

Is it Healthy to Eat Eggs Regularly? What is the Food Value of Easter Eggs?

The Food Channel Puts Eggs in the Top 10 Breakfasts,

Eating Eggs is Good for You,

Nutrition Myths Debunked – Myth 2 – Eating Eggs raises your cholesterol levels.

Tony

Cooking with Kathy Man

Nutritional breakdown

Eggs contain many vitamins and minerals that are essential parts of a healthy and balanced diet. Below is a list of nutrients that can be found in eggs, along with a brief summary of what they are useful for:

  • Vitamin A: maintains the skin, immune system and normal vision.
  • Vitamin B2 (riboflavin): aids energy metabolism, red blood cells, vision and the nervous system.
  • Vitamin B12: aids energy metabolism, red blood cells, the immune system and the nervous system.
  • Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): aids energy metabolism and mental functioning.
  • Vitamin D: keeps bones and teeth healthy and aids absorption of calcium.
  • Vitamin E: keeps the reproductive system, nervous system and muscles healthy.
  • Biotin: aids energy metabolism, maintains skin, hair and the immune system.
  • Choline: aids fat metabolism and liver function.
  • Folic Acid: aids blood formation and tissue growth during pregnancy.

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8 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

There’s no rule that breakfast has to consist of food specifically designated for that meal. In fact, last night’s leftovers may be perfect. That’s because most people consume about 50 to 60 percent of their total daily protein at dinner, and shifting those calories to the morning may have health benefits.

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1. Front-load your calories

Aim to consume 20 percent to 25 percent of your total daily calories at breakfast (up to 400 calories for women, up to 500 for men, and a bit more for vigorous exercisers). Research shows that it increases levels of the satiety hormone PYY, helping you to feel full, and may reduce the number of calories you consume at lunch, according to Heather Leidy, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, Columbia. It may also help you avoid overeating later in the day, which may lead to weight gain.

2. Think protein

The latest research suggests that eating protein first thing in the morning is crucial. Having 24 to 35 grams may help prevent weight gain and promote weight loss by stabilizing your blood sugar, decreasing your appetite, and making you feel full. Morning protein also…

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How About Some Granola Without any Grains?

Let me hear that, get me near that
Crunchy Granola Suite
Drop your shrink and stop your drinkin’
Crunchy granola’s neat ( Neil Diamond )


I agree with Neil about crunchy granola being neat. It has been a part of my diet for more years than I care to remember.

I know ‘Granola Without Grains’ sounds like something left over from April Fool’s Day. But it isn’t.  That’s why I was so surprised to discover Paleo Granola by CJK Foods of Chicago, IL.

“Granola,” according to Wikipedia “is a breakfast food and snack food, popular in the Americas, consisting of rolled oats, nuts, honey, and sometimes puffed rice, that is usually baked until crisp. During the baking process the mixture is stirred to maintain a loose, breakfast cereal-type consistency. Dried fruits, such as raisins and dates, are sometimes added.”

So, clearly, grains are an integral part of granola.

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I must confess almost total ignorance of the Paleo diet. I just checked the web and the first thing I learned is that they don’t eat grains. They do eat grass-produced meats, fish/seafood, fresh fruits and veggies, eggs, nuts and seeds and healthful oils, like coconut oil. Lots of good eating there. So, the fact that you don’t eat grains explains why the Paleo Granola has no grains in it.

Before going further, I need to tell you that I bought it from my local grocer who had a girl passing out samples. I tried one and was blown away by the taste. A party in my mouth! I went right back and picked up a package. I am now on my third one.

Okay, so what is in Paleo Granola?

The ingredients are Organic almonds, organic sunflower seeds, almond flour, organic cashews, organic walnuts, maple syrup, organic flax seeds, organic coconut oil, organic raisins, vanilla, organic coconut flakes, spices and salt.

Here is the nutrition breakdown:
Serving size 2 ounces, 57 grams
Calories 295
Total fat 23 grams
Saturated fat 8 grams
No Trans fat
Sodium 16 mg
Dietary fiber 4 grams
Sugar 11 grams
Protein 7 grams

A quick comparison with a regular granola, puts Paleo slightly higher on calories, a lot higher on total fat, due to the nuts and coconut, way down on sodium and higher on fiber and protein. Not a bad tradeoff, I think.

Although I am a big granola fan and have a bowl almost every day. I have found that I like the taste of this Paleo mixture so much that I use it as a snack and sometimes take chunks of it with me for energy breaks when I ride the bike.

While I usually refrain from writing up local products that are not available to readers of an international blog, I did this one because I thought you might enjoy being exposed to the concept of granola sans grains. Also, resourceful readers might even try to make it on their own with a little experimentation. You have all the ingredients.

If anyone does try to make their own, I hope you will share your experience with the blog.

For Neil Diamond fans, here is the best audio version I could find on You Tube:

Tony

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Filed under breakfast, eating, energy, energy bars, Exercise, fresh fruit, granola, health, healthy fats, healthy living, meat, nutrition, nuts, Paleo Diet, protein, salt, saturated fat, snack foods, Snacking, Weight

How Important is Breakfast?

Let’s start with the word – breakfast. You are breaking your fast after shutting your body down in sleep all night. So, your body is ready to be nourished and made whole again. There is a need for fuel. Skipping breakfast robs your body of basic needs and puts it on the defensive right from the start. Why handicap yourself like that?

As everyone who has skipped or skimped on breakfast knows, you get hungry long before lunch time rolls around. That often means you end up snacking on convenient junk foods high in fat and sugars. You can read my Love Letter to Hostess Ho Ho’s NOT for all the reasons to avoid junk food.

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WebMD in a slideshow on brain foods said, “Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat it tend to perform better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers’ brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don’t overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.”

I recommend including some protein in your breakfast to extend the benefits.

“Protein blunts your hunger the most, and is the most satiating,” Purdue University researcher Wayne Campbell, PhD,  tells WebMD. Eggs are a natural, low in calories and high in vitamins, minerals and protein.

Don’t sweat the cholesterol.

I wrote the following in my post, What is the Food Value of Easter Eggs? “The yolk of the egg contains many excellent nutrients as well as cholesterol. Don’t forget that your body needs cholesterol to function. If you don’t have enough of it in your diet, your body will manufacture it. Organic Foods says, “Recent research has also shown that consuming eggs does not lead to increase in serum cholesterol levels,”

So, do yourself and your body a favor and make time for a good breakfast, you will reap rewards from it all day long.

Tony

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Harvard Offers 7 Ways to Snack Smarter

“I love to snack. I bet you do, too. Yet, some 60 percent of us are overweight including 30 percent who are actually obese. Another 10 percent has Type 2 diabetes, a preventable and ruinous disease that stems from inactivity and poor nutrition. I fear that snacking is the reason for a good deal of those statistics.” Such is the opening paragraph from my Page – Snacking – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Check it out for lots more on this important topic.

Now comes the Harvard HEALTHbeat with their list of 7 Ways to Snack Smarter. Their item says, “It’s a great idea to choose snacks wisely. But many foods that seem to be a great nutrition value aren’t. Bran muffins and cereal bars can be packed with unhealthy fats and added sugar. Fat-free foods often contain lots of added salt and sugar.”
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I put it in the blog because it has some excellent suggestions. Regular readers know I am a big fan of nuts, seeds and grains as they are super nutritious.

Here are Harvard’s 7 tips for smarter snacking:

1. Go for the grain. Whole-grain snacks — such as whole-grain low-salt pretzels or tortilla chips and high-fiber, whole-grain cereals — can give you some energy with staying power.

2. Bring back breakfast. Many breakfast foods can be repurposed as a nutritious snack later in the day. How about a slice of whole-grain toast topped with low-sugar jam? Low-sugar granola also makes a quick snack. I think this has great possibilities.

3. Try a “hi-low” combination. Combine a small amount of something with healthy fat, like peanut butter, with a larger amount of something very light, like apple slices or celery sticks.

4. Go nuts. Unsalted nuts and seeds make great snacks. Almonds, walnuts, peanuts, roasted pumpkin seeds, cashews, hazelnuts, filberts, and other nuts and seeds contain many beneficial nutrients and are more likely to leave you feeling full (unlike chips or pretzels). Nuts have lots of calories, though, so keep portion sizes small. Because nuts and seeds leave you full, they actually can result in your eating less.

5. The combo snack. Try to eat more than one macronutrient (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at each snacking session. For example, have a few nuts (protein and fat) and some grapes (carbohydrates). Try some whole-grain crackers (carbohydrates) with some low-fat cheese (protein and fat). These balanced snacks tend to keep you feeling satisfied. I think that  ‘satisfied feeling’ goes a long way toward weight control.

6. Snack mindfully. Don’t eat your snack while doing something else like surfing the Web, watching TV, or working at your desk. Instead, stop what you’re doing for a few minutes and eat your snack like you would a small meal.

7. You can take it with you. Think ahead and carry a small bag of healthful snacks in your pocket or purse so you won’t turn in desperation to the cookies at the coffee counter or the candy bars in the office vending machine.

Harvard offered these tips in a marketing flyer on their 6-Week Plan for Healthy Eating.

Tony

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Eating a Big Breakfast Fights Obesity and Disease

These findings suggest that people should adopt a well thought-out meal schedule, in addition to proper nutrition and exercise, to optimize weight loss and general health. Eating the right foods at the wrong times can not only slow down weight loss, it can also be harmful.

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A high-calorie breakfast protects against diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular problems, says TAU researcher

Whether you hope to lose weight or just stay healthy, what you eat is a crucial factor. The right nutrients can not only trim your waistline, but also provide energy, improve your mood, and stave off disease. Now a Tel Aviv University researcher has found that it’s not just what you eat — but when.

Metabolism is impacted by the body’s circadian rhythm — the biological process that the body follows over a 24 hour cycle. So the time of day we eat can have a big impact on the way our bodies process food, says Prof. Daniela Jakubowicz of TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Diabetes Unit at Wolfson Medical Center. In a recent study, she discovered that those who eat their largest daily meal at breakfast are far more likely to lose weight and…

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What are Sunrise Clusters with Greek Yogurt Chips from Costco?

Another trip through Costco, another fun healthy snack food found. I wrote about Sunrise Energy Bars back in November and recounted how much I enjoyed them as an energy boost on bike rides.

Apparently now comes the next chapter from the Sunrise brand. These are not bars, but just about bite size (slightly bigger) clusters of a granola-like substance. The package boasts ALL NATURAL, WHOLE GRAIN, OMEGA 3. As you can see from the photo, they come in a big tub and are not individually wrapped like a lot of energy products.

clusters

For folks with little impulse control, here is my early verdict. I have snacked on a couple of them and liked the taste very much. They are very handy for a guy like me who tosses little snacks into a bag and brings them on bike rides for energy pick me ups.

The ingredients include: whole grain rolled oats, whole grain oat flour, cranberries, raisins, dried apples, apricots, almonds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, cashews, walnuts, shredded coconut, non-hydrogenated canola oil, unsalted butter, Greek yogurt chips, sugar, palm kernel oil, yogurt powder, whey protein concentrate, nonfat dry milk, yogurt cultures, reduced mineral whey powder, lactic acid, soy lecithin, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, salt, baking powder, baking soda, tapioca syrup, natural flavor and cinnamon.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Serving size 3 pieces (28 grams) which amounts to one ounce.
Calories 140
Total fat 8 grams
Saturated fat 2 grams
Cholesterol 5 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Total carbohydrates 15 grams
Fiber 2 grams
Protein 3 grams

Nutritionally, the Clusters are almost identical with the Sunrise Energy Bars:
Here is the nutritional breakdown for a single Sunrise Energy Bar of 28 grams:
Calories 130
Total fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 3 grams
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 75 mg
Total carbohydrates 17 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Protein 2 grams

They don’t taste very different, either. So, it may come down to what shape you like your energy snacks in, bite-sized cluster, or slightly larger snack bar.

As far as function goes, I ride my bike almost daily here in Chicago. I take along snacks to boost my energy. When I take a break for a snack I try to limit my intake to about 50 calories so my body doesn’t get hung up in digestion. So, the slightly lower in calorie Clusters appeal to me.

As always, your comments are welcome.

Tony

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Filed under biking, calories, energy, energy bars, Exercise, food labels, portion control, portion size, snack foods, Snacking, Weight

What is a High Energy De-Caf Coffee Drink?- Mr. Lazy Cook

A couple of things to lay out before we start here. First, I don’t drink coffee with caffeine as I try to keep drugs of any kind out of my system. Second, I am a regular bicycle rider and am always on the lookout for new sources of energy.
Cup-of-Coffee-Beneficial-Preventing-Diabetes
The other morning I had a new situation. I had a date for early afternoon to attend a play. In addition, we had reservations for brunch at noon. From this schedule, I was not going to have a lot of time to get in a bike ride. So, I thought I would rise at first light and take out the bike for a ride ahead of walking the dog and my social schedule for the day.

Normally, I start the day with what I call my rocket fuel. It is a smoothie that contains all my vitamins. You can read about it in A super breakfast smoothie.

On the morning in question, my reservation about my smoothie was that it takes 15 minutes to make and another 15 minutes to drink. I didn’t want to spend 30 minutes doing that. I wanted to be riding my bike. On the other hand I was concerned that having just awakened from a night’s sleep, my energy reserves were low. I sure didn’t want to black out. I hadn’t eaten in over nine hours.

So, what to do instead to give me a quick shot of energy. I like my coffee in the morning, but since it is decaf, I don’t expect a boost from it. Here is the beginning of a light bulb going off in my head. As recently as April, I got turned on to coconut oil as a wonderful source of nutrition. Check out Why should I try coconut oil? for more details. Since that time I have been using coconut oil in every way I could think of to cook in, shave with, etc. Coconut oil has a lot of healthy fat in it which provides energy. I decided to add a tablespoon of coconut oil to my coffee. Continue reading

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How Good is the Costco Energy Blend Snack?

On a recent trip to Costco, I happened upon the Energy Blend snack. As I shop there regularly and have never seen this before, I have to believe it is new to Costco. Since I ride my bike as close to daily as is possible in a four season city like Chicago, i am always on the lookout for fresh and portable sources of energy to take with me on rides.
energyblend
The Energy Blend seems to fill the bill. It has a simple composition of edamame (soybeans) , cranberries, almonds and pumpkin seeds. In addition there are blueberry pomegranate juice and natural strawberry flavor. These are some very good sources of nutrition on their own so the combination looks promising.

At this point, I have only had a single serving of it which comes to 1/4 cup or 30 grams – about an ounce.

I enjoyed eating it. Very nice taste and texture.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:
Calories 130
Total Fat 6 grams
Saturated fat 0.5 grams
No trans fat
No cholesterol
Sodium 65 mg
Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 4 grams
Protein 7 grams

This seems a very good nutritional breakdown to me. There is fat for energy, not too many calories, enough sodium to restore salt sweated away, a good slug of fiber and protein. I think it is worth the try.

Let me know what you think.

If you aren’t a regular reader, here are some other recommendations on Costco items:

Roasted Seaweed

Coconut oil

Fruit and Nut treats

Organic Chocolate Love Crunch

Rotisserie chicken

Sunrise energy bars

Tony

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Mr. Lazy Cook Makes an Open-Faced Sammy

This probably qualifies as a half-post as I wrote about a similar sandwich back in March 2010.

Anyway, the ingredients and presentation has changed and I like this one better, so here goes.

I have lately succumbed to the pleasures of an open-faced toasted peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Once peanut butter and jelly are heated a whole new dimension in taste occurs.

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There is a store near me that sells artisan breads and I use a slice of their whole wheat bread for this.

Toast up one slice of whole wheat bread. Apply liberally grape jelly and then peanut butter on top and return to toaster oven for long enough to melt up the toppings. (A minute or so).

Remove and serve with a glass of soy/almond or rice milk. I am off dairy now, so I am not drinking the skimmed milk that I recommended with the first one.

The nutritional breakdown is as follows:

Calories: 387
Total Fat 12.9 Grams
Sat Fat 2.5 Grams
Cholesterol None
Sodium 355 MCG
Carbohydates 53 Grams
Fiber 5 Grams
Protein 15.1 Grams

This makes for a real stick to the ribs lunch.

Tony

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How to Boost Your Energy with Breakfast – Harvard

This is from the “always nice to see your ideas come out of other people” department. I am a big believer in starting the day with a big nutritious breakfast. Harvard’s HEALTHbeat publication agrees.

“If you miss the day’s first meal, notes Dr. David S. Ludwig, a nutrition expert at Harvard-affiliated Children’s Hospital Boston, you may start off with an energy deficit and have to tap into your energy reserves.”

Amen, Dr. Ludwig.

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HEALTHbeat says to include healthful protein, slowly digested carbs and some fruit or vegetables.
Here are their four tips for creating an energy boosting breakfast:
1. Choose whole grains. High-fiber, whole-grain cereals and breads can help keep your blood sugar on an even keel and avoid a midmorning energy crash. With the hundreds of types of cereal on the market, bran cereal, bran flakes, and steel-cut oatmeal are typically the healthiest bets. To choose the healthiest breakfast cereal, read the label and look for:

• 5 grams or more of fiber per serving
• less than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving
• less than 5 grams of sugar per serving
• whole grain as the first item on the ingredient list

2. Include protein. Yogurt is a good choice; Greek yogurt has more protein than regular yogurt. Eggs (up to one a day) are okay for healthy people. Although yolks are high in cholesterol, eggs have proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients and don’t appear to increase the risk for developing heart disease.

You might also include foods that have healthful fats such as those in nuts or salmon. Limit processed meats to the occasional treat as these foods are associated with a higher risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes.

3. Eat in, not out. You can enjoy a healthful breakfast out if you stick to oatmeal. But much of the traditional fare will start your day with loads of refined carbohydrates and saturated fat. Like most processed food, the breakfast offerings from fast-food chains tend to be high-sodium, low-fiber disasters.

4. Blend up a breakfast smoothie. Combine fruit, juice, yogurt, wheat germ, tofu, and other ingredients. Toss them in your blender with a bit of ice and you have a refreshing, high energy breakfast.

I concoct a breakfast smoothie every morning in my Vita-Mix machine with strawberries, blueberries, banana and this week I started adding green veggies like kale and spinach.

These four tips are part of a Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School – Boosting Your Energy.

Tony

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Filed under breakfast, calories, colon cancer, fast food, health, healthy eating, healthy living, nutrition, Weight

A St. Patrick’s Day Green Smoothie – Vita-Mix

I have recently decided to up my consumption of leafy green veggies. My diet falls short in that department. I don’t make many salads, so it isn’t the easiest thing to add. I decided to go the smoothie route.

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Herewith my first attempt to consume more green leafy veggies:

One cup of apple cider, 1/4 avocado, one slice pineapple, several strawberries, one cup kale, one cup arugala, one tablespoon of chia seeds, one tablespoon of hemp seeds.

Toss it all in the Vita-mix machine, add a half cup of ice cubes and let ‘er rip.

I got lucky and it tasted lovely. I think the avocado and strawberries smoothed out and sweetened up the taste with the pineapple.

Here is the nutritional breakdown:
Calories 265
Total Fat     13.6 grams
Saturated Fat 1.7 grams
No cholesterol
Sodium   84.3 mg
Carbohydrates 47 grams
Sugar 20 grams
Fiber 12 grams
Protein 11 grams

All in all a very successful first attempt.

Tony

Other Vita Mix recipe posts include:
How to Vita Mix a Low Cal Copy of the Jamba Juice Orange Dream Machine,
Vita Mix – Drinking a Watermelon
Vita Mix – Hot Chicken Soup
Vita Mix – Another Green Smoothie
Vita-Mix – Cold Peach Summer Smoothie
Vita-Mix – Cold Green Soup
Vita-Mix – Green Smoothies
Vita-Mix – Watermelon Sorbet Recipe
Vita-Mix – Garden Fresh Cocktail

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