I love having green smoothies for breakfast. It is such a great and easy way to get a lot of fruits and veggies in your diet first thing in the morning. Plus, they only take a few minutes to prepare and everyone in the family loves them. This next recipe is one of the breakfast smoothies I make at least a couple of times a week, especially during the summer and fall months when my garden is going strong. I usually have more cucumbers and spinach or kale than I know what to do with!
Refreshing Breakfast Smoothie
1 cup packed spinach or kale
3 dates, pitted
1 cup milk of choice
1 cup ice
Directions: Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Serves 2
I add a banana to almost every breakfast smoothie I make. It makes smoothies creamy and masks the flavor of the spinach, kale, or cucumber. We eat enough bananas at my house that I always get 2 bunches when I go to the grocery store—1 for eating fresh and 1 for freezing when they are just ripe how I like them. The frozen ones are the ones I use for my smoothies. When it comes to nutrition, bananas are well known for their high potassium content. Potassium helps maintain normal blood pressure levels. Bananas are also a great source of fiber for bowel health and vitamin C.
The other thing I always add to my smoothies is spinach or kale. When I don’t have spinach from my garden, I always get a big bag at Costco. I use the spinach fresh in
- sandwiches, and
- anything else I can think of
until it starts wilting, and then I freeze the rest. Frozen spinach is perfect for soups and smoothies. Spinach is rich in folate. Folate needs increase dramatically during pregnancy as it is needed for cell division and growth. Folate is critical during the first trimester and inadequate folate intake increases the risk of neural tube defects. As such, it’s important to include plenty in your diet. Taking a quality prenatal supplement will also help.
This smoothie also calls for an apple. Surprisingly, apples vary widely on their nutritional benefits depending on the variety you use. For this recipe, my favorite apples to add are galas or Fujis. Other varieties that are highly nutritious include braeburns, granny smith, honeycrisp, and red delicious. Apples are also always high up on the “dirty dozen” list of produce that is most contaminated with pesticides so I recommend buying organic apples if you can afford them.
Cucumbers are 95% water so they are a great way to stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is even more important when you are pregnant. The recommended fluid intake for pregnant women is 10 cups per day. Dehydration can lead to many problems including overheating, low amniotic fluid, and even premature labor. Eating hydrating foods along with fluids is important. Plus, one cup of cucumbers has only 16 calories. They also provide small amounts of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin A.