My husband and I decided that, due to our ever increasing corpulence (well, his increasing, my maintaining), we are going to start on healthier eating plans today. He decided to use the Nutrisystem Plan. He’s used it before and decided to do it again, since it’s familiar to him.
I don’t go in for packaged food – to me food has to be fresh to be edible, so I’m falling back on the venerable Fit for Life plan. Written in the mid-1980s by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, Fit For Life was a breakthrough for me because it was the first plan that used REAL food in virtually unlimited portions, not fat-free this or processed that or a skimpy 1 oz. of chicken. About 70% of the food consumed should be high-water content food (think fruits and veggies) and the other 30% is concentrated foods like proteins, carbs, etc. Simple and elegant and so non-restrictive. There’s more to the program, but if you want to know more, read the book!
In the Fit for Life program, one eats fruit in the morning. You can eat as much as you need to feel satisfied, any kind, any combination. Stagger your fruit intake over the course of the morning – eat 4 times if that’s what it takes to make you comfortable. Just eat fruit until noon. This morning, I decided to have one of my favorite things – a smoothie! Like my soup formula, this formula is adapted from the Fit for Life program. It requires a blender and fruit. That’s it. Don’t be mucking up your smoothies with yogurt or milk or (shudder) sugar. All you need is fruit. So, here’s my formula for a delicious, healthy smoothie, with the usual explanation.
- 1/2 cup fresh juice, any flavor
- 1 cup fresh fruit, in chunks
- 1 cup frozen fruit, cut in chunks
Put all ingredients in the blender and blend. If smoothie is too runny, add more frozen fruit. If it’s too thick and won’t blend properly, add liquid or more juicy fresh fruit. Pour into a glass and sip, savoring the wonderfulness of real food.
Fresh Juice – if you have a juicer and can make your own, that is the optimal way to go. If not, use a 100% bottled juice from the store. The refrigerated stuff will be fresher than the canned and bottled, but it all works. DON’T get anything labeled “cocktail”. Check the ingredients – you want 100% juice! Apple, pear and white grape are nice flavors that work with just about any flavor profile. Start with them and move to mango and pineapple and strawberry.
Fresh Fruit – Anything you like and have available. Peel fruits that have heavy skins (like apples). Seed fruits that have inedible cores (like apples). Consider first juicy in-season local fruits. They will be sweetest and juiciest. Don’t forget unusual fruits like kiwi, star fruit, mango and papaya. This is a great formula for trying out new fruits and learning about new flavors. One caveat about the fresh fruit: If you want to use citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, pomelos, etc.), the best way to use them is to juice them. As your fresh fruit addition, you would have to supreme all your fruit and that’s a pain in the butt.
Frozen Fruit – Frozen fruit is the thickener of your smoothie. It’s also what makes it cold. Too much will give you ice cream headache, too little and … well, what’s the point of a smoothie without the smooth? You can use any fruit as your frozen addition, but it should be in pieces no larger than the top knuckle of your thumb. Larger pieces don’t blend well. As with juices, make sure that the frozen fruit you buy contains no added anything. Just honest fruit.
Consider buying fresh fruits in season and freezing them (in pieces, of course….) I have peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and bananas in my freezer right now. I peel, seed, core (if needed) and slice, put the fruit in a single layer on a sheet pan and freeze uncovered. Then I transfer the frozen fruit to a freezer container (or baggie) and am ready to reach in and grab a handful. You can freeze entire peeled bananas. They are easy to cut when frozen, provided you have a sharp knife.
That’s it! Perfectly healthy, wonderful smoothies that cost nothing when compared to the commercially available, nutritionally inferior ones. Consider the following flavors (given in “juice-fresh-frozen” order) and then experiment and discover your own favorite combinations! Mix two juices together, do a fridge clearing smoothie and use 3 different fresh fruits together (banana-pineapple-peach, anyone?). Play! You really can’t make a “bad” smoothie.
- White grape-kiwi-strawberry
- Blueberry-blueberry-blueberry (yum!)
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