In the rush of the morning I didn’t get a chance to take a photo of this – will have to add later. Like most, getting ready and out the house is a chaotic dash and children add to the distractions.
I can’t leave the house without breakfast. This habit was instilled in me by my mum, who while others in the 80’s were serving up sugary breakfast cereals, always made us a healthy, cooked breakfast of some sort.
These days, I find it easiest to have a smoothie, juice or yogurt and fruit with granola for breakfast.
To get the right balance of ingredients use …
about 100g of raspberries (or other berries)
about 100ml of apple juice
1 tablespoon organic Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds (for fibre and omega 3’s)
Being pregnant at the moment, I also mix in a teaspoon of an omega 3 oil supplement. Between weeks 14-18 the foetal brain is going through a crucial stage in development, though I take the supplement throughout pregnancy. Omega 3 oils (in the form of DHA rather than EPA) are so important for brain cell development.
Whizz it all up in the blender and serve – with a straw to protect your teeth from the fruit sugars. It’s also a good idea to have some water afterwards – to get rid of any remaining sugars in your mouth. Also don’t brush your teeth for up to an hour after having anything sugary as tooth enamel is softened and brushing will erode it.
This smoothie is high in vitamin C, vitamin B6 and provides potassium, folate and other vitamins and minerals. It contains a third of your (if you are a woman between 18-64!) recommended fibre intake for the day, and provides 2 of your recommended at least 5 a day.
I took mine in the car. Invest in a flask – if you leave for work/school run early in the morning before your appetite has woken up, it will stop you from reaching for that muffin or croissant when you are out and about.
Home-made vs ready-made?
Making your own is so much better than buying bottles or cartons of smoothies. Aside from being cheaper, its fresh so will will have maximum vitamins and minerals, bioflavinoids and other important health-giving micronutrients – and these get depleted in processing. If you look at ingredients in shop bought smoothies sometimes only about 12% of the juice is made up of berries – the rest being from cheaper fruits. If you make it yourself you know what’s in it.
Ups and downs of fruit sugars
The pumpkin seeds may make it a little crunchy (blend thoroughly). They provide fibre, which slows down release of the fruit sugars. Sugars from fruit are released more slowly than processed soft drinks with added sugar and so do not result in spikes in blood glucose levels, which lead to insulin release which in turn makes the body store sugar as fat. So a smoothie like this will have a low glycaemic index* which indicates that its sugars are released into your blood at a slow rate.
Now I am not going to lie to you – this smoothie contains 34g of sugar in the form of extrinsic sugars which means outside of the fruit cell. There are recommendations on how much extrinsic sugar you should have in your diet. As a rule – if you have a smoothie like this for breakfast you definitely shouldn’t have any more fruit juice. And in terms of extrinsic or added sugars – keep it to a maximum of 15g for the rest of the day.
The World Health Organisation recommends that extrinsic sugars (not intrinsic sugars from milk and in whole fruit) should make up no more than 10% of energy intake. This equates to about 50g of sugar for women. While industry Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA’s) which is what some retailers and food companies use on packaging – and is a standard devised by industry, recommends a maximum intake of about 90g for women. Bear in mind this is a standard set by industry (a 500ml bottle of coke would contain more than your maximum 50g sugar recommended under WHO guidance). So probably best to follow the WHO 50g maximum level for a healthier diet, as it’s set by the independent health organisation!
Dispatches this week
Whilst writing have been reminded of this week’s Dispatches exposé of how industry are misusing 5 a day claims. Have just watched it whilst writing this. I think the programme points are fairly common sense. It’s best not to rely on 5 a day claims on ready made foods. When you are working out if you have had at least 5 a day, focus on the meals and snacks that have included fresh fruit and vegetables that you bought yourself. As outlined in the programme too, the Government should be stricter on how these claims are used by industry.
Also worth remembering that the government set the level as at least 5 a day because they thought this would be achievable by the UK population. The benefits of eating fruit and vegetables have been shown in studies where people eat 8 portions or more so that’s what you should be aiming for!
My daughter often has some of the home made juice or smoothies I make. The trick with children sometimes is not to offer it to them – it makes them want to try it. Generally children should have fruit juice diluted 1:1 at mealtimes – this helps the body to absorb iron. Don’t give any drinks other than milk or water between meals to protect their teeth.
Also if you’re thinking this won’t fill you up – I didn’t need to eat anything until lunchtime.
*You can check the Glycaemic index of a food on this University of Sydney website. The website includes GI’s for shop bought smoothies and they are between 30-44 which are low compared to the measurement for the release of glucose which has a GI of 100. I would estimate that this home made smoothie would be towards the lower end of the GI because of its fibre content.