Monday, January 6, 2014

Blueberry banana power smoothie

We're one week into January, and I'm still writing 2013 for the year about half of the time.  Old habits die hard, right?  Here's hoping that I'm fully aboard the 2014 train by the end of this week month.

Speaking of old habits, how many of you made resolutions to change those old habits or adopt new ones?  I made quite a few, wrote them down, and even signed the paper like it was a contract with myself.  Holds me accountable, and I hear I can be quite a stickler :)

In addition to my usual goals of treating others well, keeping up with my faith, eating healthy (most of the time) and exercising, I made a few new ones.  My favorite recent addition is "print more pictures."  Not only do the frames in our apartment need updating, but we have taken so many great photos in the last year that won't be seen hiding on the hard drive.

Whatever your resolutions, you deserve a pat on the back for making them.  Change isn't easy but it can be so satisfying and rewarding, so kudos for taking the initiative!

On New Year's Eve, we started talking about our goals and expectations for the year ahead.  It was fascinating to hear the kinds of things people were interested in changing in their lives.  There was one resolution that really stuck out to me, though: "eat breakfast every day."

I was surprised to learn that nearly half of my friends in attendance don't eat breakfast on a daily basis.  "No breakfast?  But, aren't you starving when you wake up?!"  I was (nearly) speechless.  Some said they just aren't that hungry early in the morning, while others confessed they nibbled something small like a granola bar on their commute or after an hour at work.

As hard as I tried, I couldn't imagine a day without breakfast.  Whether I'm working or playing, bumming or busting, a balanced breakfast is my starting line for the rest of the day.  It gives me fuel for the day and puts me in a great mood.  Even if the rest of the day is trying and nothing goes as planned, I know I got at least three servings of fruits and vegetables into my system so all wasn't lost.

In an effort to not only jump-start your day but year, too, I've decided to share my favorite breakfasts with you -- I call it Project Jump-start January!

This smoothie recipe is one that I've tweaked and honed over the years.  What started as a green monster smoothie has turned into a thick and gorgeous purple monster smoothie.

It's packed with good stuff: bananas, blueberries, peanut butter, and spinach, as well as whey protein powder and low-fat milk for real staying power.  If you've never added spinach to a smoothie and are hesitant, I promise you won't taste it at all!

Despite my raging metabolism, slurping one of these babies at dawn silences my stomach and keeps me full well until lunch.  Real talk: I've even missed my morning snack of almonds because I haven't been the slightest been hungry.

Sweet and smooth, just like your favorite milkshake but so much better for you.  You've gotta try this ASAP!  Do it for your health, for your busy day, or for your happiness.  Because who wouldn't smile at the notion of dessert for breakfast? :)

One year ago: Pizza with Brussels sprouts, bacon, and goat cheese
Three years ago: Chicken & vegetable kabobs
Four years ago: Mini meatloaf "muffins"

Blueberry Banana Power Smoothie
-makes 1 serving (326 calories, 5g fat, 8g fiber, 32g protein)

A few notes: If you don't have protein powder or simply prefer not to use it but wish to add a bit more protein to your smoothie, consider a few spoonfuls of of nonfat Greek yogurt.  One tip, too -- peel and cut bananas in half before placing in resealable bags and freezing for smoothies whenever you want.

1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
1/2 frozen banana
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 teaspoon peanut butter
1/2 cup milk (I used 1% to calculate nutrition breakdown listed above)
2 large handfuls baby spinach

Place ingredients in cup of blender, adding spinach last.  Cover with lid and blend on high (whatever the setting is called on your machine) until until smooth.  Enjoy immediately with a festive straw before jump-starting your day!

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