If you’re short on time in the morning but want to start the day with a healthy breakfast, the key might be to sip — not chew — your fruits, veggies and protein.
When TODAY.com asked 17 doctors what they eat for breakfast, they agreed that getting plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies as well as protein, fiber and healthy fat is key for a balanced, energizing meal. But they also know it can be tough to find meals that fit that bill and are also easy and quick enough to make on a busy morning.
That’s why so many of them frequently rely on smoothies for a to-go breakfast. And, by carefully choosing the right ingredients, they can incorporate foods that help their heart, brain and oral health.
What do doctors put in their smoothies?
Antioxidant-rich berries and nuts
When Dr. Imad Najm is short on time, he turns to a smoothie made with nonfat Greek yogurt, kale and a selection of berries. The combination has a blend of filling fat from the yogurt as well as vitamins and nutrients from the greens and fruit.
He also adds pecans, which “will add fat, and they contain quite a bit of minerals and antioxidants,” Najm, director of the Epilepsy Center at the Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute, told TODAY.com previously.
A homemade blend of fruit and greens
Dr. Irina Kessler, a dentist at New York Family Dental Arts, loves a green smoothie in the mornings and prefers to make them herself. “I just prefer to know what I’m putting in it,” Kessler told TODAY.com.
The smoothie she drinks most often contains a hearty blend of spinach, kale and celery as well as fruit, like frozen mango, banana and lemon. She’ll usually add some coconut water to top it off.
If you’re concerned about staining your teeth with this brightly-hued green smoothie, Kessler recommends drinking this through a reusable silicone straw.
Protein-packed almond butter and banana
On days when Kessler does strength training workouts, she refuels her body with a protein smoothie.
Kessler’s go-to recipe includes pea protein, almond milk and banana, with maybe a little almond butter for extra protein and healthy fats.
Similarly, Dr. Andrew Freeman, director of cardiovascular prevention and wellness at National Jewish Health in Denver, told TODAY.com that he likes to mix pea protein with soy milk in his morning smoothies. He’ll also add fruit, like banana or berries.
A vibrant mix of fruit and ginger
Not all fruit and veggie mixes end up green.
This one, which is a favorite of Dr. Susan Cheng, a professor of cardiology and the director of public health research in the Smidt Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, contains carrots and comes out a soothing orange color.
In addition to carrots, Cheng adds apple, ginger and chia seeds, she told TODAY.com.
A variety of fruit — and pea protein
“For breakfast every morning I have the same thing,” Dr. Erinne Kennedy, consumer advisor spokesperson for the American Dental Association, told TODAY.com.
That’s a protein shake made with pea protein, almond milk, raspberries, banana and some extras, said Kennedy, who is also the assistant dean of curriculum and integrated learning for Kansas City University College of Dental Medicine.
She uses pea protein that’s unsweetened and unflavored, calling it “one of the cleanest proteins that you can get on the market.” Kennedy also adds shake supplements, including one that supports her gut health and another containing flax seed for extra fiber.
Frozen berries just before they turn
Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a medical oncologist treating breast cancer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, told TODAY.com that she eats berries frequently but knows they can go bad quickly in the fridge. When she notices they’re on their way out, she stores them in the freezer to save for a smoothie day.
“I’ll add some yogurt to that and I’ll have a quick smoothie to go,” Comen says, noting that she uses nonfat Greek yogurt. “And I’ll give some to my kids as well,” she adds.
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