2017 is going to be smooth(ie) sailing

When it comes to making a meal, you’re usually constrained by what is called the “iron triangle.” You get three options: quick, cheap or healthy. Now pick two. That’s it. Usually. Today, I am here to say we don’t have to play by those rules when it comes to having a quick, cheap and healthy breakfast. How do we do that? Simple—thorough preparation. By planning the week’s upcoming breakfasts ahead of time you can save yourself some serious time in the morning for things like getting ready for class, studying or, more likely, getting those few extra minutes of shut-eye.

I know some of you reading are probably thinking, “Oi, Tim, don’t you try to tie me down with your ‘being prepared’ mentality. It’s throwing off my devil-may-care breakfast routine.” Seriously, though, you don’t have to live life grabbing bland particle-board tasting, roof-of-the-mouth scraping granola bars or trying to quickly devour instant oatmeal with the nutritional value of cardboard that’s so piping hot it scalds your tongue so badly that’s all you’ll taste for the next week. There is a better way.

So, what do we do? What magnificent recipe do I hand you that will make your mornings easier? Well, first of all, it’s not really a recipe but a base and options to play with. See, there’s a bit of that good ol’ American freedom in this article. What I am giving to you is the basis of all smoothie recipes. Yes, smoothies. And, no, you don’t have to yell out “Jamba” whenever you make one.

The base of a smoothie is quite simple and you have two options to choose from: ice or banana. Really, that’s it. From there you can explore flavor combinations to your heart’s content. Don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging, I’ll give you a couple to get you started.

Smoothie #1: banana base (this will make three smoothies)
-6 ripe (yellow skin, brown spots starting to show) bananas, peeled and sliced into six equal segments
-3 cups of either frozen blueberries, strawberries, mixed berries, peaches, mango or peach and mango (make sure to get frozen fruit without any extra sugar added)
-1 cup of either cashew milk or almond milk (if you must have dairy, 1/2 cup of whole milk and 1/2 cup of yogurt)
-Optional: 3 tablespoons of ground flaxseed, for extra fiber and omega fatty acids (highly recommended)
-3 quart-size freezer resealable bags
-1 baking sheet lined with parchment paper
-Your trusty countertop blender

1. Place the sliced bananas on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet and place in the freezer for 1 hour. Freezing the bananas locks the sugars into place and will give your smoothie a nice thick, almost milkshake-like consistency.
2. In each quart-size bag, place two bananas (twelve slices), 1 cup of your chosen frozen fruit, and the ground flaxseed. Seal and set in the freezer until morning.
3. When ready, grab one bag and dump into your blender. Add your nut milk or dairy components. Blend until smooth.
4. Pour your concoction into your favorite to-go cup and head out the door to face the world.

Smoothie #2: ice base (this will make two smoothies)
-2 cups of ice
-2 cups of frozen blueberries, strawberries, mixed berries, pineapple, mango, peach, or a combination equaling 2 cups
-2 cups of spinach or kale leaves, washed and thoroughly dried
-2 cups of unfiltered apple juice or orange juice
-2 tablespoon of honey
-Optional: 1/2 tbsp of minced ginger
-Optional: 1/4 cup of shredded carrot
-2 quart-size freezer resealable bags
-Your trusty countertop blender

1. To each bag add 1 cup of ice, 1 cup of your chosen frozen fruit, 1 cup of greens, and ¼ cup of carrots if you choose. Set in the freezer till morning.
2. Pour contents of one bag into the blender and add 1 cup of juice (apple or orange), 1 tablespoon of honey and, if you desire, the 1/2 tablespoon of ginger. Blend until smooth.
3. Pour into your favorite to-go cup, and out the door you go.

There you go—cheap, quick and healthy breakfasts. Prepared ahead of time, you’ll only spend about five minutes each morning tossing everything together into your blender and heading out the door. If that’s too much work for you in the morning, the night before just add everything into your blender container and place in your fridge. Then in the morning all you gotta do is put the container on its base and hit blend.