Thursday, 21 February 2013

Breakfast in a glass smoothie

I occasionally get asked 'how do you stay thin when you bake so much?'. There's a very simple answer to that. I don't.

About a year and a half ago, and 9 months post second baby, I decided to go on a diet. I was overweight, unhealthy and unhappy with how I looked. So I embarked on the Dukan. Initially the weight loss was very slow despite drastically altering my diet. It's only when I started exercising regularly that I noticed real changes in my body shape. Within about 4-5 months I had reached my ideal weight by carefully monitoring my diet and exercising almost daily. It was hard. And pretty joyless. At a hospital health check about 6-7 months ago I was ideal weight, BMI and even muscle to fat ratio (almost).

Then the baking fever took hold. Not sure what sparked it exactly. Possibly working on a cookbook, definitely an addiction to Pinterest and gorgeous food blogs, combined with suddenly having a bit of time on my hands. Anyway, long story not-so-short, at a recent health check up I was about 3 kilos heavier. And those 3 kilos can be linked directly to every single sinful mouthful of cake I have baked and eaten. I don't blame the baking however. The cakes are innocent - leave them alone! It's all down to me and my all or nothing mentality.

Going back to the Dukan diet was unthinkable, with so many temptations (of my own making) surrounding me. Instead, I, like many others it seems, am on the 5:2 diet. Without going into two many details, with the 5:2 diet you eat normally 5 days out of 7 and on the other 2 you only consume 500 calories (600 if you are a man). I have been doing this for about a month and I honestly can't say whether I have lost any weight on it yet. I hope I haven't put any ON considering the insane amount of baking I have been doing. It's a work in progress.

The 'fasting' days can be hard, although they appear to be getting easier. I still drink a LOT of coffee and eat sensible small meals. I have discovered prawns are very low calorie, so I am having a lot of stir fries (there are some lovely 5:2 recipes over at Lavender and Lovage). And on a recent visit to the supermarket I discovered Almond Breeze almond milk. It was on offer so I decided to try it – purely because the unsweetened version clocks at an unbelievable 29 calories per 200ml! It works great in hot drinks (goodbye endless cups of black coffee) and in porridge, while adding but a smidgen to the daily calorie tally.

When I saw that Foodies 100 were running an Almond Breeze 'create a smoothie' competition I hastily put my thinking cap on. Quite a bit of experimenting followed (all in the interests of science) and the result is.... (drum roll please) the Breakfast in a Glass smoothie!

(makes one large smoothie)
200ml of unsweetened Almond Breeze almond milk, chilled
1 medium banana, chilled

squeeze of orange
2 tbsp smooth porridge (such as Ready Brek)
1 tbsp sweetened coconut (optional)
1/2 tsp vanilla paste
1-2 tsp agave nectar
1 tsp almond (or peanut) butter

Add all the ingredients apart from the agave nectar in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add 1 tsp of agave nectar, stir and taste for sweetness – you may want to add a bit more. You can blitz a bit of ice with the ingredients if you like your smoothies very cold. This smoothie is ridiculously healthy (apart, perhaps, from the coconut which you can omit) and tastes like an indulgent... dessert. It is 5:2 diet friendly too, so a winner in my book.

Note: Add 1/2 tsp wheatgerm and 1/2 tsp of flaxseed powder if you are feeling very virtuous.
Replace the nut butter with chocolate or hazelnut spread if you are after a naughty treat.

PS: the Breakfast in a Glass smoothie went on to win the Almond Breeze competition. My thanks to Foodies 100 and Blue Diamond Almonds!
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  1. This looks SUPER! I would love one too.

  2. It is pretty yummy. Bit like a vanilla latte minus the coffee : )

  3. You sooooo need a GlassDharma glass straws in there!

  4. It is very yummy! Had one this morning with cashew butter and think like it the best

  5. This sounds like a fantastic recipe. Congratulations on winning the competition, it is well deserved! :)

  6. congrats on wining the comp. agree with lBue Diamond the pics and amazing

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone - thrilled it was picked the winner!

  8. Congratulations on winning this. I was just having a clear out of my bookmarks and came across the almond smoothie Foodies 100 link. I had no idea who'd won, but now I do. I regularly make the smoothie I made for it now as it provides a quick, but filling and nutritious breakfast. How are things going for you on the 5:2? I just do 1 day a week eating nothing and although the weight is coming off very slowly, it is coming down. I think you're right though, excercise is the key and I often just don't get enough of it.

    1. I have fallen off the 5:2 wagon of late - was doing really well on it but a few weeks of too much work and sickness have derailed me big time. Had first fasting day in a while yesterday and it was hard work!

  9. Just found this post. Awesome recipe - congrats on winning! I love your ingredient photo, too. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I love this recipe and the way it is so adaptable. Not sure where I would get agave nectar but the rest is pretty standard. What a lovely way to start the day or take some in a flask for work.

  11. I'm definitely going to have to try this! Looks great.

  12. Looks yummy, thanks for the recipe x

  13. I love smoothies for breakfast. :)

  14. Sounds lovely... and great when you do not want to eat amything heavy!

  15. So quick and easy for the serial breakfast avoider like my daughter - she will drink this though.

  16. perfect for summer breakfast

  17. Lovely tasty breakfast

    Felicity kelly

  18. I do love a nice smoothie for breakfast - especially when I'm sleepy - so much less effort to drink than eat lol.

  19. I have a fruit smoothie for lunch most days, just a mixture of whatever fruit we have in or from the garden.