It’s been a while since you actually sent your kids off (as in out of the house) to school. All signs indicate that it could be a while longer until you do, but any school day, even a day of distance learning, should start with the right breakfast fuel.
In 2015, Catherine McCord realized that wasn’t happening at her house. That’s a surprise, since she is the mom behind Weelicious, a website devoted to simple and healthy recipes for the whole family. Her son, the oldest of her three kids, was experiencing unexplainable headaches, nausea and fatigue. McCord eventually identified breakfast as the culprit. The family was eating a super-healthy diet the rest of the day, but in the morning, she was letting the kids have the pancakes, waffles and toast they requested.
She realized the combination of flour, dairy and refined sugar wasn’t giving her son what he needed to start his day. Smoothies became the family’s new breakfast, her son’s health problems disappeared and McCord wrote “The Smoothie Project,” a cookbook with almost 100 smoothie recipes to fuel healthy eating.
“The idea is that almost all the smoothies have fruit and vegetable and protein, and that they’re keeping you full and energized,” says McCord. “Having a smoothie a day means you’re replacing a meal that might not be as good for you.”
To get your family in the smoothie-a-day habit, McCord’s book proposes a 28-day plan: Have a smoothie for one meal a day for 28 days and you’ll notice a difference in your body, she says. “Then you have two paths. You can have mac and cheese or chocolate ice cream later in the day and feel less guilty because you know you had a good meal already, or you can feel so good that you want to keep the feeling going, and you’ll make better choices,” says McCord.
The book has smoothies to suit every flavor preference, including coffee- and chocolate-based smoothies, tropical, berry-heavy and seasonal options. There are also chapters to help simplify smoothie making, a bit about blenders, nutritional information and a thorough guide to the types of “super boost” ingredients you’ll find in the supplement aisle at Gelson’s, Whole Foods and health-food stores. “There’s something for everyone, depending on your flavor preference and what you’re trying to get done in your body,” says McCord.
Through the online community McCord built using #smoothieproject, she has heard how smoothies have helped parents with picky eaters, parents trying to minimize their kids’ processed-food intake, people trying to lose weight and even senior citizens. One Potato, McCord’s family meal-subscription service, recently added frozen smoothie packs to its menu of options.
Want a taste of what it’s all about? All you need is a blender (a high-powered one, if possible, and McCord suggests borrowing a friend’s rather than buying one if you’re just getting started). A great gateway is this Blueberry Cherry Lemon smoothie, which McCord says is an “antioxidant bomb” with tons of nutrition and flavor.
Blueberry Cherry Lemon Smoothie from ‘The Smoothie Project’
- ¾ cup (111 grams) frozen blueberries
- ¼ cup (38 grams) frozen cherries, pitted
- ¼ lemon (with peel and pith), seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons coconut yogurt
- 1⁄8 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
- 1 tablespoon honey or blue agave
- ¾ cup (180 milliliters) almond milk or milk of choice
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.