Ever since I began using my blender to whip up fruit-based shakes and smoothies, I have not had to miss out on breakfast, which is undoubtedly the most important meal of the day. Each morning, I walk out the front door filled with fresh energy to face the day. These days, mangoes are in season here in India, and our mornings almost always contain a hearty mango shake or luscious mango lassi.
So, pick the fruit of the season and combine it with other nourishing ingredients. Pop them all into your blender, and fuel yourself up for the long day ahead. If you can chop the ingredients the night before, these morning refreshers can be ready in seconds. Enjoy a whole wheat toast with this and you have a quick, satisfying breakfast.
Each of these serves two.
Mango & Pistachio Lassi
1 big ripe mango, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 cups plain low-fat yogurt, chilled
2 tsp pistachios, shelled (keep some chopped ones aside for garnishing)
Honey to taste, if mango not sweet enough
Mint leaves to garnish (optional)
Pop everything into the blender, and swirl. If the mangoes are very sweet, you can omit the honey. If you have spices handy, add ½ tsp powdered cardamom or a pinch of saffron to this drink for a more inviting look and a fabulous addition of flavor. If you omit the ice cubes, you can pour the mango and yogurt puree into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Yummy!
Antioxidant-rich mangoes benefit everything from your skin and eyes to your gut and immune system.
Minty Cucumber and Ricotta Cooler
1 cup cucumber, peeled and chopped into cubes
½ cup part-skim milk ricotta cheese
2 cups low-fat yogurt, chilled
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)—keep a few aside for garnish, if using
6 to 7 fresh mint leaves, a couple more for garnish
1/2 tsp roasted and powdered cumin seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Whirl together in a blender, and adjust the amount of ice cubes to get the consistency you want. Again, you can keep the consistency thick to enjoy this “drink” as a delicious raita at lunch time–I like to serve it as a side with lentils and roasted potatoes.
Mineral-rich cucumber is not only cool and refreshing, but an excellent fruit that cares for your skin, digestive system, heart and kidneys. With its delicate taste and texture, ricotta cheese adds bulk and provides you with protein, vitamins, and fiber. Mint is a wonder herb with a wake-me-up aroma that can bust fatigue.
Apple, Date & Oatmeal & Seed Milk Shake
1 apple, chopped
2 cups low-fat milk, chilled
4 to 5 dates, seeded and roughly chopped
1/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 tsp chia seeds
a few ice cubes
Blend all the ingredients together, and add more ice cubes if the shake is too thick. Dates add natural sweetness, make it filling, and of course, lavish you with fiber, potassium and vitamins to power you through the day.
Yogurt provides vitamins, minerals and digestion-friendly bacteria. And with the addition of nuts and seeds, you gift yourself a serving of antioxidants, minerals, heart-healthy omega-3 and other crucial vitamins.
You can try different seeds with all these shakes and smoothies. Sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, or whatever else you have on hand.
Nuts add bulk and depth of flavor to almost any shake. A handful of almonds, walnuts, pistachios or other nuts of your choice help keep your immune system strong.
Raisins contain flavonoids and reduce your levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol). According to ayurvedic healers, they also boost your brain power. Try your shakes and smoothies with a few raisins blended in.