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In a Morning Slump? “Beet” It Back!

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Morning (Image: iStock.com/Foxys_forest_manufacture)

Does your family refuse to eat vegetables? Do you have trouble getting fruit into your children? Try this handy trick nutritionists recommend: Sneak healthy ingredients picky eaters might reject into smoothies.

Smoothies are a great—and stealthy—way to add vegetables and other healthy foods into your whole family’s diet.

If you plan to try this hidden-in-plain sight way to get your family to eat healthier, you’ll first need to stock your freezer with these ingredients:

Bananas are a great base for smoothies. Naturally sweet, they camouflage greens, like spinach, and counter sour berries. Buy several big bunches of bananas, let them ripen to the point of being very soft and brown, and then peel and freeze them. Bananas are a great base for smoothies

Coconut milk is a good substitute for dairy, adding richness for folks who can’t or don’t do dairy. Freeze individual servings of coconut milk in an ice cup tray. Once frozen, transfer them into a sandwich bag and store in the freezer.

Ginger, which has anti-inflammatory properties, gives smoothies a kick.  Buy a piece of fresh ginger, peel and chop it into 1-inch pieces and store in the freezer in a glass container.

Lemons bring out the flavor of a smoothie. Buy a bag of lemons, juice them all at once, pour the juice into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, transfer them into another for storage container, like a Ziploc bag, and store in the freezer. You also can substitute limes for lemons.

This Mixed Berry and Beet Smoothie contains beets, which are are high in antioxidants and fiber and loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and C. The red root veggie has also been linked to better stamina and reduced blood pressure. Several studies found athletes who drank beet juice mixed with apple juice before a workout reported better endurance and a lower resting blood pressure than those who did not. Other research suggests a beet-apple juice mixture could make certain activities, like walking, less exhausting for seniors.

Jump-start your week with this recipe:

Mixed Berry and Beet Smoothie

1 cup mixed frozen berries or blueberries

2 teaspoons chia seeds

2 teaspoons ground flax seeds

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ tablespoon walnuts

1/3 cup diced beet, either raw, canned, or roasted

Handful fresh or 1-2 tablespoons frozen spinach

1/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt or low-fat coconut milk

1 frozen banana or 1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and blend for 1 full minute. Pour into a glass and enjoy. Serves 2

Nutritional analysis: 372 calories; 14 g fat; 0 cholesterol; 78 mg sodium; 58 g carbohydrates; 12 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 10 g protein

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Black Health Matters (BHM) is the leading patient and consumer-focused health information website for African Americans.  BHM connects health information seekers to the highest quality health content on the web, shared via social media and disseminated at BHM community-based health events.  Committed to making African American families healthier, BHM imparts expert advice on disease management while promoting healthier lifestyles.  The result is a compelling  health content experience that resonates within the cultural context of the user’s life.