Healthy, smart tips to ‘smoothie’ out the new year

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Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

“This semester, I’ll read the required books for every class.” 

“I’m going to go to Gregory five times a week.”

“This semester, I’ll read the required books for every class.” 

“I’m going to go to Gregory five times a week.”

“No more skipping classes.”

 It’s that time of year. A new semester starts, and students head back to campus with resolutions stacked on top of resolutions.

Food-related resolutions are popular during the first few weeks of the year — that is, before exams start and bring along a flood of stress-induced eating. 

It shouldn’t be that hard for you to work on your diet and maintain a healthier lifestyle, even as work begins to pile up, if you make small changes that are easy — and tasty — to maintain.

Simple, occasional switches, such as grabbing an apple instead of a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, will make a “what starts here changes the world” of difference. You’ll still get that addictive crunch but without the finger stains and empty calories.

Other small changes are just as obvious. Cut back on the soda or Frappuccinos and go for water or green tea. Start really looking at the nutritional information of things you are putting in your body. Even if a yogurt label says “all-natural” or “low-fat,” it could be loaded with added sugar — which is by far one of the worst substances for your body.

Ultimately, however, taking control of diet and learning how to cook are the real solutions to maintaining a healthy body. There are other benefits, too — cooking is the perfect way to bond with your friends, roommates or crushes.

Your options are endless: Homemade granola bars are great to snack on while you cruise from class to class; quinoa salads and trays of roasted vegetables are an easy and tasty way to get extra nutrients; and breakfast tacos at any time of the day with homemade roasted salsa and guac are something to tacobout.

Upping your smoothie game is the easiest option of all: time needed (5 minutes), tools required (just a blender), adaptability (endless ingredient combinations) and health (fruit and raw greens). Smoothies are an easy way to ingest loads of veggies and fiber without even realizing it.

A basic smoothie should start with a base of banana and avocado, which is full of healthy fats that keep you full longer — no stomach gurgling in your 11 a.m. class. Next, add a little bit of frozen fruit for sweetness, plus kale or spinach. Unsweetened almond milk is the final component to turn it all into a dreamy treat.

But the real magic comes in just how much you can play off this base to customize something for your tastes. Are you a nut butter addict? Throw in a spoonful. Trying to stave off that cold? Add some fresh ginger and squeeze in the juice of an orange or grapefruit. Want to turn into Gwyneth Paltrow? Add in “superfoods,” such as chia seeds, goji berries, açaí powder or cacao nibs.

With an option of healthy homemade smoothies, there’s no need to impulsively buy those artificially sweetened juices lining the refrigerated shelves of Jester City Market. Students will make and break many resolutions in the upcoming months, but eating better doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s easy to make choices that lead to a smoother semester. Just
press blend.

RECIPE:

Ingredients:

- 1 frozen banana

- 1 small avocado

- 1/2 cup packed spinach or kale

- 1 cup frozen mango chunks

- 1 cup almond milk

Directions:

- Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. If too thick, add water or almond milk a spoonful at a time. Enjoy.