What do you do when it’s late afternoon and you realize you didn’t have lunch? You go ahead and break the smoothies-are-for-breakfast rule. This blueberry cinnamon smoothie hit the spot within two minutes and provided the energy I needed to replenish and get me through the rest of the afternoon.
Blueberries are a powerhouse of nutrients. They are high in vitamin C, K, manganese and fibre. They also contain an antioxidant called quercetin, which is a powerful anti-histamine, and are a low glycemic fruit, which means that won’t trigger a blood sugar spike. They have anti-inflammatory effects and are low in fructans, so suitable for a low FOPDMAP diet (but limit that to a handful, about 20 blueberries, at one time).
Hemp seeds have many health benefits. They are one of the few plant-based proteins that contain all nine essential amino acids, which cannot be produced by the body so must be absorbed through the diet (others include quinoa, buckwheat and soy). Hemp seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids to help build healthy brain cells and have the ideal ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Hemp seeds are rich in B vitamins, especially B1, B6, and folate as well as minerals including iron, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc and manganese. And you can sprinkle those little seeds on just about anything. Add them to yogurt, soup, salads, salad dressing or smoothies.
Cinnamon is the prefect spice to add flavour, as it balances well with the taste of blueberries, and the bonus is it helps to stabilize blood sugar, so I didn’t have to worry about the blood sugar surge and ensuing crash from drinking this delicious breakfast-for-lunch smoothie. Studies have shown that cinnamon can also help to increase the body’s insulin sensitivity (1).
Greens like spinach are essential in smoothies to add important antioxidants, folate, iron, bioavailable calcium, mood boosting B-vitamins and magnesium, which has relaxing properties, (just what I needed as I was trying to stay on deadline for a blog post). Spinach seems to me to be the most versatile of the greens. I love it in smoothies, salads, soups and just plain ‘ol steamed. Steamed spinach with a splash of apple cider vinegar, sea salt and pepper…mmmmmm!
The secret ingredient that made my smoothie so creamy is frozen zucchini, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and more potassium than bananas. And for those who are wondering about taste, you can’t taste zucchini when it’s in smoothies. When your mother or neighbor is trying to give you some of those giant zucchinis that they grew too many of, accept the kind gift, chop them up, and put them in the freezer to add to your smoothies for the next 10-12 months. It’s a great way to get kiddos to eat some veggies.
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1/2 banana
- 2 tbsp hemp seeds
- 1 cup cashew or almond milk
- 1 cup frozen zucchini
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cinnamon to your taste
- additional water if needed
- Add all ingredients to high powered blender and blend until smooth.