Here I am. Sports bra on. Twenty extra pounds around my midsection. Spit-up on my shirt. Messy house. Zero shame.
This isn't the style that most women my age strive for. When I look at this picture, though, I feel so proud. I have more body confidence in this phase of life than when I was 18 and working out daily with a trainer. Because unlike then, I now know who I am. I know exactly what I'm capable of and I know that this isn't the stopping point.
These hips birthed four gigantic babies. This body struggled through excruciatingly painful experiences in the last year. This is me after being unable to walk more than fifty feet at a time for nine months straight. The thing about hitting rock bottom, physically, is that you come out the other side with a renewed appreciation and hope and enthusiasm for your own possibilities.
I just got the a-okay to start dieting and exercising again, and I'm so excited! Now let's get this show on the road.
The first step in getting back on track with good habits is identifying the bad habits you've fallen into. For me, it's snacking. I've become a big-time snacker over this last year, as I haven't had time or energy to make full-blown meals. The What Kind of Snacker Are You? quiz from Meta Wellness says I'm a “Break Room Bringer.” Yup! I get so caught up in taking care of the kids and getting stuff done, and then I have to nurse the baby and it hits me HARD. I haven't gotten enough sustenance and I'm FAMISHED. So I make terrible choices, shoving whatever I can find in my mouth.
The answer for busy mom bingers like me is smoothies. High-quality, fast nutrition that satisfies craving and nutritional needs without a ton of hassle. Properly prepared smoothies are the drinkable fool-proof binge-breaker that always get me full in a flash.
Here are the ingredients and tricks I use to keep my smoothie station running…well…smoothly.
Freeze bananas. Keeping good ingredients on hand is crucial, and this is one way I always make sure I have the produce I need. If you have bananas starting to go bad, simply peel and slice and freeze them on some parchment paper. Then store in a freezer container for a quick smoothie with little prep.
Bag it. While you're at it, you can actually add frozen berries and bananas and all other smoothie ingredients except liquid to small freezer bags. When you want a smoothie, dump the bag contents into a blender and add some milk and call it a day!
Add some greenery. Kale and spinach are two leafy greens that can be added to a berry smoothie without really affecting taste.
Just beet it. Kids aren't a fan of green stuff? No problem. Add beetroot powder to turn the whole smoothie pink and disguise the veggies. They'll never know.
Take a dairy detour. Not great with lactose? You can freeze coconut milk, soy milk, almond milk or cashew milk into ice cube containers for a tummy-friendly dairy alternative that won't wind up watered-down with regular ice cubes.
Ditch dairy alternatives altogether. If you're not a fan of soy or nut milks, try adding avocado slices or xanthan gum for a creamy smoothie.
Ginger's great. I buy it in little frozen cubes to add some zing to a smoothie that might be otherwise bland. It also packs a powerful immune punch, in case you're feeling under the weather.
Boost the antioxidants with green tea. Freeze green tea into ice cube trays and use that instead of frozen water to give your smoothie a kick of antioxidant power.
Grab-and-go. Many blenders today have smoothie-sized cups so you can blend your ingredients directly into the container you drink them out of. If you're blending up a larger batch for more people, you can still distribute the mix easily into mason jars and add a lid with a spout.
Make and shake. Went overboard and made too much smoothie? Don't let it go to waste! Simply seal it in one of those mason jars and freeze it. When you're ready for another smoothie you can bring it out and let it thaw a bit, give the jar a gentle shake to get that freshly mixed consistency back, and drink!
Fill ‘er up. One of the biggest tips I hear from my fitness-focused pals is to add bulk to smoothies with things like ground oats or psyllium. Meta Appetite Control Unflavored Smoothie Enhancer, a fiber supplement from the makers of Metamucil, contains 100% natural psyllium which forms a gel in your digestive system to slow absorption. It helps me feel less hungry between meals* so I'm not constantly running back to the kitchen for a snack. If you don't have time for a smoothie, they even have a flavored form of Meta Appetite Control that can be mixed into water and drank straight like a traditional fiber supplement.
Smoothie pops. With psyllium husk added, smoothies will actually hold their shape better in DIY smoothie molds! This is even more perfect for a hot summer day when you don't feel like busting out the blender. Just pour, freeze into a mold and pop it out to enjoy a smoothie on a stick!
Prep. If you're not big on popsicles but like the idea of having a smoothie all ready to go at a moment's notice, you can blend up the smoothie ingredients and freeze them in muffin tins. These “smoothie blocks” can be popped into a blender for smoothies with no additional steps needed.
Coffee. Nine times out of ten, my coffee goes cold in the morning before I get to drink it. Such is life with four kids! Lately, I've taken to dumping it into a smoothie instead of nuking it. Now I can get a whole breakfast AND a much-needed caffeine boost all at once.
Nut butter. Add a scoop of almond butter or cashew butter to give your smoothie a protein boost. I also like to keep egg white powder on hand to bump up the nutritional content of a berry smoothie.
Chocolate. Toss in a couple little chunks of dark chocolate goodness for a sweet treat that’s chock-full of antioxidants.
Add some crunch. Want the health benefits of a smoothie, but not in the mood to drink your meal? Spoon that smoothie mix into a bowl and top it with some granola or nuts!
How do you keep yourself feeling fuller for longer? Any favorite smoothie hacks you'd like to share?
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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