Drink Your Way to Good Health with Smoothies

Being busy, I hardly ever have time for breakfast. But I also know the importance of a good breakfast (one with calcium, protein, and fiber, at the very least.) That's why I decided to create by own smoothies. My creation was not easy. I studied everything I could find on nutrition, and knew that my smoothies needed to be healthy, filling, and nutritious-a tall order.

The Necessities

After some research, I decided my smoothies should contain the following ingredients:

Tofu and soymilk: Soy products, according to the Foundation of Integrated Medicine and other authorities, are packed with calcium, protein, isoflavones (an antioxidant), and amino acids. Soy products have been shown to lower the risk of cancer, reduce the level of bad cholesterol and slash the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Yogurt: This tasty little treat is loaded with calcium, protein, B-vitamins, and potassium. Not only are these nutrients necessary for good health, but yogurt has been shown to help prevent osteoporosis, according to WebMD.

Fruit: Fruits are an absolute must in a healthy diet. According to the USDA's food pyramid website, fruits are an important source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. They are also naturally low in calories, fat, and cholesterol.

Flaxseeds: Flaxseeds have high fiber content and are loaded with amino 3 fatty acids. According to the Mayo Clinic, and other authorities, amino 3's provide many health benefits, including lowering your cholesterol level.

The Ingredients

To make these smoothies, you need to stock up on these ingredients:

*Tofu-this comes in a square block that is immersed in liquid. It should be in the vegetable section of the grocery store. When you get it home, cut it into five sections.

*Soymilk-this will be either in the dairy or the vegetable section of the grocery store. If you feel that this might be overdoing the soy, you can substitute skim milk, but you need one of these to provide enough liquid to blend it properly.

*Yogurt-6-ounce containers, whatever flavors you want. Though I buy yogurt for its nutritional value, I also include it for its ability to sweeten the smoothie a little bit without my having to add sugar. If you want to cut the sugar content, buy yogurt that is flavored with a low-calorie sweetener.

Fruits-of any kind. My favorite fruits for smoothies are any of the berries (frozen) or bananas.

Directions for Making these Smoothies

You will need a blender.

Pour these ingredients, in order, into the blender:

1 cup of frozen berries, or 1 banana, or frozen strawberries and 1 banana. (You don't have to adhere strictly to this measurement. With a little practice, you will know just how much fruit you need to satisfy your palate.) I add the frozen berries first so that the blender can chop them up easier.

1 section of the five sections of tofu that you cut

1 whole container of yogurt (choose a yogurt that will taste good with your fruit. If I am using blueberries, for instance, I usually select blueberry yogurt.)

1 yogurt container of soymilk (To make measuring easier, I pour the soymilk into the emptied yogurt container and then pour it into the blender.)

1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds.

Put the cover on the blender and then turn it on, full speed. You might want to set it to "chop" or "liquefy" at first to more easily liquefy your frozen fruits.

Blend these ingredients for about two minutes, or until smooth. When it looks like all of the ingredients are liquid, you have blended it enough.

Pour into a glass and enjoy.

One Last Thing…

*Depending on how much tofu you use versus soymilk, your smoothie will be very thick. You can experiment with the ratio of tofu to soymilk to get the perfect thickness for your taste.

*If you are worried about the taste of tofu-don't. Tofu doesn't really have much of a flavor. Rather, it picks up the flavor of anything that you add to it.

*Calories? It really depends on how much you make. I think I estimated that my smoothies were around 300 calories but, for a complete breakfast, that's not a whole lot of calories to consume. PLUS it is so filling that it should hold you until lunchtime.