A Stupidly Simple Way to Eat 6 oz of Spinach for Breakfast
Mighty Mango Green Smoothie
I moved last week. After four years of living with the luminous Michelle Birsky, lead singer of Birch (←check them out), I have relocated to a lovely new apartment in Fort Greene, which is exactly as greene as advertised.
Michelle was the ultimate roommate-soulmate. The list of things I will miss about her daily company is impossibly long. And on that list—very very very extremely super low on the list relative to her other princely qualities...but still on that list—is her nutribullet.
In the smoothie-mania of the the 21st century, we all have our blender brand loyalties, and I am an unabashed cheerleader of the nutribullet. Not only is it extremely small, powerful, and easy to clean, but it makes it pretty impossible to accidentally chop your fingers off. All good things.
Naturally, a replacement nutribullet has been one of the first new apartment acquisitions (pre-dresser and pre-kitchen table, in fact). Since it arrived today (!!!), I’m sharing the recipe for the smoothie that I drink every morning to power my training runs. It uses a whole 6 oz bag of spinach, but it’s blissfully uncomplicated, and it’s packed with micronutrients and clean, green energy.
3 Reasons to Start Your Day with a Boatload of Spinach
Spinach is one of the best sources of magnesium, an under-appreciated mineral in our diets. Magnesium doesn't get the same attention that potassium, calcium, and iron do, but magnesium plays a critical supporting role in over 300 biochemical reactions in our bodies. It's key to maintaining bone health, facilitating energy production, stabilizing blood sugar, and controlling inflammation.
Flavonoids & Carotenoids
These anti-inflammatory phytonutrients are uncommonly abundant in spinach, and spinach appears to have salutary effects on inflammation within the digestive tract. Chronic inflammation is looking increasingly culpable as a risk factor for many chronic diseases and types of cancers, so eating foods that decrease inflammation is a pretty nifty way to treat yourself to a healthier, happier body.
Spinach is extremely low-fat (about 40% protein and 60% carbohydrate). However, it does contain some omega-3 fatty acids, which are generally in short supply in the standard American diet. Consuming omega-3s can help raise HDL cholesterol ("good cholesterol") while reducing triglycerides, blood pressure, and—once again— inflammation. In conclusion, eat up!
This smoothie is the lovechild of breakfast and dessert: it's delicious but not quite decadent, sweet but not saccharine. The spinach makes it unbelievably creamy. I could (I do) drink it every morning.
Prep time: 5 minutes | Servings: 1
- 6 oz (170 g) spinach*
- 1 cup (236 ml) water
- 1/4 cup (60ml) soy milk**
- 1 cup (140 g) frozen mango
- Pinch of sea salt***
- Blend together spinach, water, soy milk until the consistency is altogether smooth and creamy.
- Add frozen mango and salt. Blend again.
- Sip and feel mighty.
*On the spinach front, I opt for the Trader Joe’s organic baby spinach which is one of the most convenient and cost effective brands of bagged spinach. When I'm living my best life, though, the farmers’ market is the name of the game.
**It’s worth paying attention to the ingredients list on your carton of soy milk—or other milk alternative. Most brands include carrageenan, a commonly used thickener and stabilizer, which can be rough on people’s stomachs and also potentially causes cancer. Many include canola oil as well. Not ideal. I like to use brands that have only two ingredients: water and whole soybeans (e.g. Organic Unsweetened Edensoy).
***This pinch of sea salt brings out the sweetness of the mango, and this is key, since this smoothie is much less sweet than the average fruity blend.
Serving Size: 1 Recipe | Calories: 150 | Total Fat: 1 g | Carbohydrate: 55 g | Sugar: 42 g | Dietary Fiber: 11 g | Protein: 8 g | Vitamin A: 162% | Vitamin C: 170% | Calcium: 24% | Iron: 36%