I’m just not really a breakfast person. I’ve tried hard to change this, but the most I generally eat before about 11am are copious cups of tea and maybe a biscuit or a banana. So when Breville came along with their Blend Active Diary Challenge, bandying about phrases like ‘a smoothie a day’, and phrases like ‘lesser used vegetables’ and ‘superfoods’, I was a bit worried I wouldn’t enjoy my challenge week. Still, I’m always up for a bit of experimentation, and let’s face it, an entire healthy meal in a glass sounds like a lazy person’s dream come true. Here’s how I got on:
Over the course of a week, Breville challenged me to create a variety of different smoothies using a wide range of ingredients, being as creative as possible, and to document the results, recording my recipes and how each recipe made me feel.
Breville’s Blend Active Pro is dead clever: firstly, it’s small and sleek, so it’s easy to use, then pop back into a cupboard. There’s literally just one button to push and the receptacle (I love that word) that holds the ingredients is also your cup, with a clever lid and even a neoprene sleeve to keep the contents cold. Everything washes really easily. So far so good, then.
A few smoothie tips
It’s all very well bunging in a load of kale and spinach, but I’ve found (through some quite hideous trial and error) that there has to be a bit of a balance between the health benefits of the smoothie and the actual taste. Try and get a nice mixture of natural sweetness (banana is great for this) with bright, fresh fruit and vegetable flavours. If you still feel your smoothie isn’t going to be sweet enough for you, you can always add a bit of honey to the mix. I also varied the liquid, using everything from low fat, dairy free coconut milk (not the one in the tin) to just plain water. For practicality I used an espresso cup as one portion of fruit/veg. If you’re not using frozen ingredients, don’t forget to add in a couple of ice cubes too to keep everything cool.
Never let it be said that I don’t hurl myself full force into a challenge. I went into the week determined to get as many different nutrients and superfoods into my breakfast smoothies as possible, while creating delicious-tasting recipes that are easy to recreate. There’s no point in creating a fabulous smoothie if you have to schlep to some far, far away health food store every time you need to stock up. I also didn’t want to have to buy things online, although that’s probably just me.
Going with the theory that the brighter the colour, the better the nutrients, I grouped mine roughly into colour combos, aiming for a bright purple smoothie, an orange one, a green one, and then a creamy, comforting, chocolatey one. Here’s how I got on:
The creamy one: banana, coconut and cacao smoothie
1 tbsp organic cacao powder
2 tbsp oats
1 tbsp Meridien Coconut & Almond Butter
250 ml coconut milk
2-3 ice cubes
This needs a proper whizz to really incorporate the oats. Cacao is full of calcium, magnesium and iron and also provides a delicious, chocolatey taste that we all love. I blended mine with fresh banana, oats and nut butter for the perfect start to the day. I loved this one, it felt properly ‘breakfasty’ and kept me full up until lunch. It was also ridiculously tasty, and although it’s healthy, it felt like an indulgence. I found the delicious almond and coconut butter in Tesco, but you could just use peanut butter for the same hit of protein. Verdict: YUM, like drinking a dessert.
The purple one: beetroot, blackberry and goji smoothie
1 cup frozen blackberries
1 cup fresh beetroot, chopped
1 cup blueberries
1 cup plums, chopped
1 tbsp goji berries, soaked in a little warm water
Grating of fresh ginger
250ml water or coconut milk
While the title of ‘superfood’ is debatable, Goji berries contain vitamins A, B2, and C, plus iron, selenium and other antioxidants, all packed into a tiny, berry that tastes a bit like a chewy sweet. What’s not to love? It helps to soak them for about 10 minutes before blending. After the initial weirdness of the slightly earthy beetroot, this smoothie is a proper ‘get up and go’, zingy, fruity blend. The ginger adds a lovely warmth and all in all it actually feels like it’s doing you good as you’re drinking it. Verdict: uplifting and energising – not 100% sure about the beetroot. We’ve since made it without and I prefer it.
The orange one: mango and turmeric smoothie
1 cup mango, chopped
1/2 frozen banana
250 ml coconut milk
1 tsp coconut oil
1 tsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
This recipe came from my Instafriend, Jo Prado, more often known as ‘Lovely Jo’, who recommends this one as a pick-me-up when you’re feeling under the weather and says: ‘don’t be put off by the combination of flavours, it really does work and is really delicious. Turmeric is full of anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties and so much more, and mangoes are one of the most nutrient rich fruits’. Verdict: fruity, creamy and soothing. The turmeric makes it aromatic, but not unpleasant.
The green one: spinach, pear and kiwi smoothie
1 cup chopped apple
1 cup chopped pear
1 cup chopped kiwi
1/2 an avocado
Squeeze of lime
250 ml water
2-3 ice cubes
I’ll be honest, this one came purely from a desire to photograph a bright green smoothie. The result from strolling the supermarket aisle and grabbing anything green, was absolutely delicious. The texture is really thick and silky (presumably from the avocado) and it’s fresh and naturally sweet from the pear and apple, but with the zing of the lime and kiwi. Verdict: refreshing and tasty – and no ‘vegetable’ taste at all from the spinach – the boys loved this one too.
After a week of experimentation with mostly positive results (sorry, beetroot), we found loads of flavour combinations that we really loved. I’ll definitely keep using the Breville Blend Active Pro as it’s just so easy. It maybe just psychological, but I really do feel great knowing that I’m getting my five a day and loads of antioxidants and vitamins every day, and the plus side is that the ingredients for the whole challenge cost me less than £20 and I have tons left over. I’ve used a mixture of frozen and fresh fruit, and even grabbed some marked down berries to pop in the freezer. And oh my goodness, the chocolate, coconut and banana one is the stuff of dreams. I’ve even made one to take to bed with me (minus the oats) as it’s just so comforting.
Thanks to Breville for the challenge and the Blend Active Pro! Follow #blendactivediary for more inspo!