Going to be honest: if I could eat french toast for breakfast every day I would. And going into my (second-to-last!!) finals week, comfort food is really all I’m craving. But, especially when I get stressed and sleep-deprived (always at UChicago but finals especially), if I don’t get enough fruits and veggies for a few days then I get mentally out of whack. I feel grumpy and unmotivated, and if I need to go sit down and write three papers this week that just isn’t going to cut it…
That’s why this quarter I’ve been trying to have fruit with every breakfast, so I get off on the right foot for my day and don’t go too long without actual produce! The way I’ve done that is I’ve made a lot of smoothies. What I love about smoothies is that you can put almost anything in there and it will still taste great. Frozen fruit, fresh fruit, greens, nut butter, oats, etc. all make great smoothie ingredients…But what’s even better is making it feel ~fancy~ by having it in a bowl with toppings!
Where I’m from in CA, acai bowls are staples with the popularity of places like Bonzai Bowl in Laguna Beach. With smoothie bowls, you can feel like you’re having just as decadent a breakfast, with just a few ingredients—no expensive acai berries here, sorry, I’m a college student. I love topping it with granola cereal and sometimes stealing some of my roommate’s chia seeds (I swear she gave me permission…thanks, Clara).
Here’s a super basic recipe based on my typical breakfast:
- 1 banana, the riper the better—freeze overripe bananas for thicker smoothies.
- approx. 1 cup of frozen berries—I recommend Costco’s frozen Berry Blend, they have such rich flavor that just using strawberries doesn’t cut it anymore, though you can see above that I added strawberries too.
- 2/3 cup of plain Greek yogurt—I use The Greek Gods’ brand because it has no preservatives or additives (unlike Chobani and other big-name brands) and is the best price at my local grocery store.
- 1/2 cup of nonfat milk (add more as needed for desired thickness)
- (optional) some ice cubes for thickness
Blend all ingredients together (I have a strong love affair with my trusty Ninja blender) until no chunks remain, stirring occasionally as necessary. Serves one as a hearty meal, or two for mid-morning snacks.
Don’t forget to add your favorite toppings—I use Kashi GoLean Crisp in Berry flavor (pictured) or GoLean Crunch (Honey Almond) because they were on sale at the grocery store and add texture (yum) and fiber to keep me full through class. Fresh berries, chopped mango, chia seeds, chopped nuts or other seeds (everyone on Pinterest loves pumpkin seeds), and coconut flakes all make great toppings.
However, frozen fruit can get expensive: I’ve got a couple solutions for this. First, Costco’s bags are reasonably priced and will last a long time. Second, keep an eye out at your grocery store for sales, especially as we get into spring/summer. A month ago a box of strawberries at Hyde Park Produce was $4.99, but last week they were $1.99 and this week $1.49. You better believe the checkout guy thinks I’m insane because I bought 4 boxes at once—I cored and sliced them while watching TV and stuck them in a gallon-size bag and now they’re in my freezer, ready to go. It’s also important to know which grocery stores near you have the best produce prices: HPP is better than Trader Joe’s and the other chain around here, Treasure Island, so that’s where I shop.