The holiday season is meant to be treasured and enjoyed, but January often presents the new reality of a larger pant size and a renewed focus on health. To help beat the effects of the most gluttonous time of the year, we turned to local residents to provide tips, recipes and motivation for mixing in one of the easiest ways to jump-start healthy living: homemade smoothies.
By Katy Ruth Camp // Photography by Erin Gray Cantrell
Meghan Toups doesn’t just practice healthy habits at home: it is her practice. The Kennesaw resident strives to keep her family of four in optimal health while also serving as the owner, psychotherapist and holistic health coach of MERGE Health, Fitness & Nutrition, based on the Marietta Square.
“I’ve been a therapist for 10 years and began to notice a common correlation between my clients’ moods and what they were eating, which is what lead me to start MERGE. If they were eating poorly, their moods were often far worse than when or if they were eating healthy. It also affected their sleep patterns and energy levels. Leafy greens were the foods that were missing the most in their diets,” Toups said.
So she started making nutrition-packed smoothies for her friends and family and passing along tips to make them to her clients.
“Many of our clients shudder at the mention of green smoothies. But in many recipes, you can’t even taste the greens yet they are detoxifying and extremely important for your health,” Toups said.
Toups recommends packing more fruits and vegetables into your diet every day, a little bit at a time, and eventually, your taste buds will change to crave and like them. For smoothies, Toups said making them in the morning is a great way to start your day with a healthy version of breakfast, or take one to work for a mid-day snack.
If you are going to drink a smoothie as a meal replacement, Toups recommends adding protein powder to the smoothie to help you feel full for longer. Chia seed is a great addition to a smoothie, as it is full of Omega 3’s and helps to keep your brain, skin and nails healthy.
Meghan’s Green Glow Smoothie
- Large handful of spinach
- 1 banana
- 3/4 cup pineapple (frozen or fresh)
- /4 cup frozen peaches
- 1 tsp Chia seeds
- 1/2 cup ice (omit if you’re using frozen fruit)
- 1/2 cup water or almond milk
Blend in a high-speed blender. Add more liquid if needed to achieve desired consistency. Yields two servings.
If you are constantly on the go, need something convenient and don’t have the heart (or wallet) to drop a day’s paycheck on an expensive smoothie mixer, you are in good company.
Tricia Newton’s schedule keeps her on her toes, whether it’s for her job with Image Manufacturing Group, spending time with friends and family, managing her Marietta house or volunteering for various nonprofits. So she could have easily fallen into the trap of pre-packaged processed foods for breakfast or frozen meals for lunch.
Instead, she put her ordinary, Oster blender from Target to work and makes health and wellness a top – and convenient priority.
“I needed something quick to take to work, and as I began looking into smoothies, I liked the idea that I could put spinach or kale in it and start the day well,” Newton said.
When it comes to incorporating greens with your smoothies, Newton recommends starting with spinach, as it is virtually tasteless and kale can sometimes taste bitter. She also recommends experimenting with fruits and to use frozen fruit as it keeps fresher longer and avoids the need to add ice to the smoothie.
“Change up your fruits and you’ll find what you like and you don’t live. I love bananas, but I found they were too sweet in smoothies. You have to change it up sometimes until you find what you like,” Newton said.
Tricia’s On-The-Go Smoothie
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 scoop of Tera’s Whey organic protein powder, bourbon vanilla flavor
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tsp ground flax seed
- 1 cups spinach (or a generous handful b/c I rarely measure that)
- 1 1/2 cups of fruit – mix of blueberries, pineapple, strawberries, peaches, or mangos. I usually pick three. On rare occasion I’ll add a half of a banana into the mix but that makes it super sweet quickly.
Blend all ingredients in a blender. Yields one serving.
Other local smoothies:
Teena Garcia’s Clean Green Smoothie
- 1 cup filtered water
- 2 handfuls of organic spinach
- 2 handfuls of organic kale
- 1 organic green apple
- 1 frozen banana
- 1/2 Lemon
Blend, drink and feel amazing!
Stephen Ellis’ Smoothie
- 2 cups kale or spinach
- 2 cup mixed fruit
- 2 cups almond milk
- 1 tbsp Macha green tea
- 1 tsp local honey
- 3 or 4 small carrots
- 1 crushed vitamin b tablet.
Mix together. Fruit and kale can be fresh or frozen.