Do you ever run out of time to make your breakfast? Are you going for faster and less nutritious options? Or worse, do you skip this meal? It’s estimated that 38% of Canadians skip breakfast due to time constraints and 21% of them eat breakfast on the go, which is often much less filling. Still, breakfast is important, and it can be easy to prepare when optimizing your morning routine. My last-minute savior are smoothie ice cubes!
Why do we need to have breakfast?
A balanced and varied diet is important and provides all the nutrients essential to maintain good health. Lunch and dinner meals are often well balanced - and sometimes too much - but what about breakfast? It’s often richer in carbohydrates - and therefore in sugars - which leaves little room on your plate for proteins. However, they’re just as important at breakfast if not more than at other meals and are essential for the body to ensure several vital functions like building muscle, tissue repair, the immune defense, etc., in addition to contributing to satiation and feeling full. Like other meals, breakfast should have 20 to 30 g of protein to be considered complete. Although many of you mention a lack of time to prepare breakfast, it can be part of your routine without "eating up" too many precious minutes in the morning! There are several ready-to-eat breakfast options available, and the trend for frozen smoothie cubes is on the rise. You can find them everywhere on Pinterest and Instagram!
What are frozen smoothie cubes?
Frozen smoothie cubes are easy to prepare, rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, tasty and very diverse, and are a great way to remedy the lack of time in the morning while ensuring you have a nutritious breakfast. Normally, it can be laborious - and very noisy - to make a smoothie in the morning. But you can make frozen smoothie cubes ahead of your cooking day in just a few minutes. Plus, you won't have to take out - and wash - your blender every morning, because the idea is to let the smoothie ice cubes melt overnight in the refrigerator or dilute them with a protein shake in the morning.
There are two kinds of frozen smoothies, either as a concentrate or complete. I'll explain the difference to you.
1. The smoothie concentrate
This is a mixture of various concentrates of fruits, vegetables and different sources of protein and whole grains. It’s based on your preferences. Just mix some fruit with a little water, add the vegetables and whole grains to it, much like making a compote or a jam. Then put everything in a blender and pour the preparation into ice cube trays to obtain individual servings ready to be consumed on rushed mornings.
Field berries like blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are great ingredients to add to a concentrated smoothie and add colour! In addition, field berries are full of vitamins and minerals and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. To get a smoother texture, add pieces of avocado, mango or banana.
As for the choice of vegetables, it will vary depending on your personal taste. Personally, I like to add vegetables that have similar colours as the fruits I use to avoid getting a brownish-coloured smoothie! You can make concentrates of several vegetables, such as carrots, beets, celery, cucumber, spinach, etc. You can even add dehydrated vegetables, which sell in the form of powdered concentrate.
In addition, besides fruits and vegetables you can add other sources of fibre to your smoothie, such as flax seeds or chia seeds. They provide benefits to intestinal transit in addition to regulating satiety, cholesterol and blood sugar. Also consider buckwheat, oats or vegetable protein powder (e.g.: pea protein powder that is super popular!).
In the morning before going to work or school, all you have to do is put a few cubes of frozen smoothie in a mason jar, add a protein drink like cow's milk, an ultra-protein shake, a soy drink, a pea drink, etc.) and wait 15 to 20 minutes before drinking it.
2. The complete smoothie
The complete frozen smoothie, like the concentrate to be diluted in the morning, already contains proteins and only needs to melt to be consumed! This is because the protein source is added directly to the mixture before freezing. In addition, you can add nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews or walnuts) or silken tofu as a source of protein. It can be frozen in the same way as the concentrated smoothie. However, it’s best to thaw the smoothie cubes in your glass/mason jar the night before in the refrigerator, so that it’s ready for breakfast.
Frozen smoothie cubes recipe
Number of servings: 24 cubes (3 smoothies made with 8 cubes)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Freezing time: about 2 hours
- 375 ml (1 ½ cup) vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
- Fresh or frozen fruit, your choice
- Vegetables, your choice
- Apple juice, if necessary
- 15 ml (1 tbsp.) of Chia seeds
Mix all the ingredients in a blender to obtain a smooth and homogeneous puree, but not too liquid.
Pour the fruit puree into the ice cube trays. Freeze.
Once the smoothie cubes are well set, remove them from the tray and store them in airtight bags, taking care to identify each flavour.
In the evening, fill a glass with smoothie cubes and let it stand overnight in the refrigerator.
In the morning, stir it and enjoy!
Familiprix in collaboration with Hubert Cormier
Clark, M. J., & Slavin, J. L. (2013). The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(3), 200-211.
Garriguet, D. (2006). Vue d'ensemble des habitudes alimentaires des Canadiens. Statistique Canada, Division de la statistique de la santé.
IPSOS (2003). Six in Ten (60%) Canadians Report Eating Breakfast Every Day. Ipsos-Reid Canada. En ligne : https://www.ipsos.com/en-ca/six-ten-60-canadians-report-eating-breakfast-everyday#:~:text=On%20average%2C%20Canadians%20eat%20breakfast,seven%20days%20(mean%205.3).&text=When%20asked%20what%20activities%20they,%22breakfast%20on%20the%20go%22.