On Sunday night, make smoothies for the whole week. If you only have 45 minutes after waking to leave the house for a commute or early morning meeting, the smoothie can save you. Most people get into their own smoothie ingredient bliss, but the base batch can be simple and only takes 5 minutes to make. My favorite mix contains organic soy yogurt, soymilk, frozen berries (often strawberries and raspberries), and hemp seed protein powder. Like anything related to your diet, the key is to find what you enjoy and what works with your body and make it happen. I usually blend three morning smoothies in one big batch, making my mornings less stressful.
If a smoothie isn’t filling enough, make a batch of protein bars on the last day or night of your weekend. While store-bought protein bars are available in most communities, many of these products are loaded with sugar, genetically modified ingredients, or preservatives. The following two gluten- and dairy-free bars contain a healthy mix of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and antioxidants, and deliver a significant portion of your required daily fiber. For each recipe, variations are easy to develop based on your health requirements, taste, and ingredient preferences. Preheat oven to 320 degrees. In a food processor, place the bananas, peanut butter, shredded coconut, cranberries, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger, salt, honey, and vanilla. Blend until relatively smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. There will still be some cranberry pieces, but everything else should be blended together. Place the mixture in a bowl, add the chopped almonds, and stir until incorporated. Working in batches, place ½ cup of amaranth in the bowl and stir the mixture until all of the grain is absorbed. Repeat this process until the entire ¾ cup of amaranth is absorbed. Gently fold in the frozen blueberries and chocolate. Lightly grease a large glass baking dish with olive oil. Scoop the mixture into the baking dish, and evenly spread it out over the dish’s surface. The mixture should be about 1¼ inches thick once it’s spread out. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a fork placed in the middle of the dish comes out clean. Cool, cut, and gently lift the bars from the baking dish. Store these punches of protein in the refrigerator and consume them within a week. I enjoy these bars for breakfast or as a mid-day snack. MAKES 15 BARS ¾ cup uncooked amaranth, washed
and dried 3 large, ripe bananas 1-2 tablespoons honey (optional) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup peanut butter ¼ cup shredded coconut 1 lemon, zested (no juice) ½ cup dried cranberries (unsweetened, if possible. If sweetened, add 1 tablespoon honey instead of 2) 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger Salt, to taste 1 cup roasted almonds, roughly chopped ½ cup dark chocolate, chopped (dairy-free) 1 cup frozen blueberries