Breakfast Smoothies and Chia Puddings
This week has been a busy one! On Tuesday evening I was involved in an event at our local M&S cafe with the Jersey Gluten Free / Coeliac UK support group. I’ve been on the committee for this group for almost a year and our aim is to spread awareness of coeliac disease. If you would like to learn more, visit the Coeliac UK website (Click Here). If you live in Jersey and would like to find out more about the support group, you can follow us on Facebook (Click Here).
I was diagnosed with coeliac disease about fifteen years ago and have since followed a gluten free diet and found a way of eating that suits both myself and my children as well as one rich in plant foods for improved health and vitality. I believe that colour and presentation is as important as taste and texture and hope that my beautiful smoothies and chia bowls will inspire you to eat a healthier breakfast whether you’re medically required to follow a gluten free diet or not.
The first smoothie I showed our audience was a refreshing blend of mango, lime and mint. For this occasion all our produce was generously donated by our M&S store. M&S are leading the way in gluten free produce, labelling and store layout in the UK. If you’d like to find out more about their Made Without Wheat range, click here.
In a blender put in some fresh or frozen mango, the juice of half a lime and some fresh mint leaves. Add water to achieve your desired consistency. If you prefer ice cold drinks, use ice cubes instead of water (or a combination of the two). The combination of lime and mint with a tropical fruit enables many people to instantly recollect holiday cocktails and a warm, relaxed environment. This happy feeling and memory works in a positive way with the smoothie to create a sense of enhanced well-being. In addition, the mango provides an excellent source of vitamin A and flavonoids such as beta-carotene, plus it’s rich in vitamin C and vitamin E. Mango has been shown to possess anti-oxidants that may protect against certain types of cancer, including breast and colon.
A handful of mint leaves contains protective amounts of vitamin C, manganese and copper and may also contain cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
As well as being a great way to liven up both sweet and savoury dishes, fresh lime juice also contains antioxidant and anti-cancer properties and is rich in vitamin C and folate.
I’ve long believed that natural, colourful foods and a plant rich diet are the fundamental basics for long term health and it seems that scientific research is finally proving that point! So it’s time to ditch those boxed cereals and over-processed bread made from bleached flour and start eating foods made by the sun, by nature and not by people in laboratories!
The second smoothie I demonstrated at the event was a tropical, colourful blend of mango, raspberry and banana. Bananas add a rich, creaminess and sweetness to your smoothies, however, try to eat them when they’re really ripe – brown and speckledy on the outside – as the sugars are more easily absorbed. Raspberries are a brilliant source of fibre as well as being rich in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. They really are one of nature’s finest superfoods and are so easy to grow in our British climate. If you have a spare sunny patch in your garden, plant some raspberry and blueberry bushes! Here’s an article entitled, ‘a foolproof guide to growing raspberries’, from the Telegraph.
To make this smoothie simply add 1 banana, a handful of raspberries and 1/2 a mango per person, adding filtered water or ice cubes to achieve your preferred consistency and temperature.
Now for the really cool part…
Instead of just drinking the smoothie, you can use it as a base to make a fabulous, naturally gluten-free breakfast!
Pour 1 small portion of smoothie into a glass jar, add 2-3 dessert spoons of chia seeds and stir well. Cover and pop in the fridge and eave to swell for a few hours, or overnight if possible.
What are chia seeds?
Chia seeds are awesome little powerhouses of amazingness and if you haven’t tried them yet, you really should start your chia adventure!
Chia seeds come from South America and contain so many health properties it’s quite unbelievable! This little picture that I recently found on Facebook will give you an idea of the goodness chia contains and how this compares to other foods.
I love to add coconut milk to my chia breakfast bowls; this gives a creamier texture, more dessert-like and utterly decadent tasting. It obviously contains far more calories than a fruit smoothie alone but will keep you full for longer as well as providing other health benefits, such as high levels of essential minerals – calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc.
One of my favourite chia-smoothie-coconut milk combinations contains pineapple and banana to give a Pina colada flavour. It’s so good you’ll almost believe there’s alcohol in it!
To try this combination, simply blend 1 banana and a handful of fresh pineapple per serving with 1/4 can coconut milk. Pour into a jar, add 2-3 dessertspoons of chia seeds and leave in the fridge to set.
To serve, pop into a bowl and decorate with more of your favourite fruit, nuts and/or seeds and superfood sprinkles such as bee pollen or raw cacao nibs. Dessicated coconut also works well with the pineapple/banana combination; try to buy organic coconut if possible.
If you don’t have chia seeds you can make a similar breakfast using oats. If you have coeliac disease you may be able to tolerate gluten-free oats. If not, you can add a little smoothie to cooked and cooled quinoa or rice for a similar breakfast. It won’t swell up in the same way as the grains are already swelled in the cooking process, but you can still make beautiful looking breakfast bowls for you and your family.
Here are some pictures of my daughters’ attempts at berry smoothie bowls last winter after being inspired by many healthy Instagram bloggers.
This one was ready in a plastic leak-proof container for a healthy school mid-morning snack!
I’ve only shown you three fruit combinations in this post but you can literally let your creativity go crazy! This awesome pink-green-yellow mess tasted delicious, I promise you! It was my first ever attempt to make a striped, layered smoothie and I hadn’t realised there would be an element of freezing required!
Enjoy your new breakfast combinations and let me know how your chia adventure goes too! I love hearing from you all so please comment below – it’s free and will make someone’s day!
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