Yeah, I know, that’s probably the cheesiest recipe title ever written. I’m sorry. I generally have a zero-tolerance policy for cheesiness. And yet…here we are. This smoothie and I have a special relationship and like all special relationships, there’s room for a little PDA, right, schnookie wookums?
I’m also trying really, really hard not to make every single one of my posts about being pregnant because I realize that the world is not pregnant with me and I also realize the world does not revolve around my pregnancy and me (unlike my first pregnancy when it did–just ask my sister Annie.)
That said, food and pregnancy are inextricably related, at first for the aversions and then for the cravings. Throw in the fact that, at least for me, a little too much salt, sugar, or fat can send a perfectly good day to a very bad place and I spend a lot of time thinking about food (and, let’s face it, I think about food a lot to begin with).
When I’m growing babies (let’s see how many euphemisms for “pregnancy” I can come up with in a single blog post), breakfast is a tricky meal for me. I need a lot of calories, I need them fast, I need complex carbs and protein, and I hate eggs. Also, I’m dead tired and trying to get two kids up, dressed, fed, not looking like orphans, and sent to school with a decent lunch as well as trying to get a dog to do her business rather than be distracted by the mean neighborhood cats that like to taunt her.
I’ve dabbled in different breakfast options here and there, but most things either leave me feeling weighed down, starving, crashing, or filled with inexplicable road rage an hour later when I’m on my way home after taking my kids to school. (Sidenote: my husband just loves gestating Kate. I do believe I’m painting a lovely picture of myself right now).
So anyway, I started making this smoothie a few weeks ago and it has changed my life. Totally not being overly dramatic here. I’ve tinkered with proportions and I still do from time to time, depending on how I’m feeling and what I’m in the mood for. No, it’s not super low in calories or sugar (although it’s not an over-the-top dessert smoothie made with ice cream or sherbet or frozen yogurt). Yes, it has a juice base, which I realize is not super cool or hip in the smoothie-making universe, and yet…I don’t really care. It does, however, keep me satisfied, energized, and feeling really great for a good three hours (at least). Like…it makes me feel like my batteries have been charged. (Yes, I know, we’re moving back into cheesy territory). If I make and drink a full-sized smoothie (I usually cut it down by at least 1/3), it has 1.8 grams of fat, 8.3 grams of fiber, 21.6 grams of protein, and is loaded with potassium, Vitamin C, folate, calcium, and iron. It has a serving of dairy, 3 vegetable servings, and 4 servings of fruit (plus some change). Not too shabby. Plus it tastes really, really, really good.
So what’s in this magical concoction? Orange juice (try and get the good stuff, like the not-from-concentrate good stuff, not necessarily the fresh-squeezed good stuff, which you are often required to pay for with your firstborn child), non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt (make sure it’s actual Greek yogurt with twice the protein, not Greek-style yogurt that uses thickening agents), frozen blueberries, baby spinach, crushed ice, and oat groats.
They’re optional, but, after experimenting with different grains (and no grains), I’ve found that these seem to be the magic ingredient. I found mine at Whole Foods in the bulk section, and I’ve actually seen Bob’s Red Mill brand at my local grocery store (if you can’t find them or don’t want to use them, you can always use steel cut oats). Oat groats are the whole oats (think grains of wheat, only grains of oats…except that they’re groats of oats…) They’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and help stabilize your blood sugar. They help keep you feeling full and satisfied. Plus, you don’t have to cook them, which is always a bonus in the morning. You don’t have to use them, and they will add a grainy texture to your smoothie, but I don’t mind it–the oats are sweet and they make me feel like I’m tangibly doing something good for myself, like running on the treadmill or giving up Teen Mom (neither one of which I’ve done lately).
In the jar of your blender, add your juice, yogurt, oat groats (it’s just fun to say…)
Blend thoroughly–even in my Blendtec, I have to run it through on the whole juice setting twice. This is a serious smoothie. Take it with you when you drive your kids to school. Road rage crises will be averted.
- 1 cup orange juice (preferably the good stuff, like the not-from-concentrate orange juice)
- 3 tablespoons oat groats or 2 tablespoons steel cut oats (optional...kind of...)*
- 3/4 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt (make sure it's Greek and not Greek-style)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
- 3 cups baby spinach leaves
- 1 1/2 cups crushed ice
- Combine ingredients in the jar of your blender and blend. You will probably need to run it through twice. Serve immediately.
- Makes 1 giant smoothie, 2 smaller smoothies, or 3 snack-sized smoothies.
- *To help your blender out, you can soak the oak groats in the orange juice overnight (either in the jar of your blender or in in a glass). This will make it easier to blend and will also eliminate a lot of the grittiness from the oats.