Beat the morning heat and make smoothies for breakfast

Janice Daniels

I’ve always been a big smoothie fan. Even during the days when my dad – who is also a smoothie enthusiast – made “smoothies” every night for the family, which seemed to include anything edible he could get his hands on. Some things just shouldn’t be blended.

I usually tossed Dad’s smoothies (sorry, Dad) and got my fix by going to places like Jamba Juice. At Jamba Juice I ordered the “All Fruit” smoothies, which are supposed to be the healthier alternatives with no added milk or sugar – only fruit. What I have found out, though, is each one of these “All Fruit” smoothies have added fruit juice, which I doubt contain only the fruit.

At places like Jamba Juice you’re spending $5 on a cup of a few items of fruit. At grocery stores – take Trader Joe’s for example – you can get about 25 bananas for $5. As the days get hotter and hot meals sound less satisfying in the mornings – especially when you’re a poor college student who can’t afford to leave the air conditioner on – why not save a few bucks by making cool and filling smoothies?

When I go to the store I always stock up on bananas; some already ripe for even more ripening and freezing, and some green for ripening throughout the week to eat on the go. Sometimes I’ll buy frozen strawberries, blueberries and other kinds of berries, but bananas are always priority. 

I don’t know what it is about frozen blended bananas – especially with a little unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Hershey’s) and almond milk added – they almost have the consistency of a milkshake and, if ripened enough, seem sinful. Once you remember you aren’t drinking an ice cream milkshake, though, you’ll feel good about going back for a second.

Some of my favorite things to add to my smoothies in the blender include cocoa powder (chocolatey antioxidant deliciousness) , chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, prunes (yes, prunes) and uncooked oats. 

Chia seeds have the greatest source of Omega 3 fatty acids in plant form. They help with the blood and circulation, protect against cancer, provide complete proteins and have lots of calcium and vitamin C. As a vegan, I see chia seeds as magical little seedlings because they provide many of those essential vitamins and nutrients that people think are only found in animal products. They also absorb about 10 times their volume in water, forming into a gel, which is proven to help with hydration, satiety and eliminating toxins from the body.

Like chia, flax provides omega 3s but is also known for having electrolytes including magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and copper. Flax also regulates your digestive system (yeah!), is an anti-inflammatory and promotes bone health!

Chia seeds can be purchased at any Whole Foods and most natural food stores, such as the Sacramento Natural Food Co-Op located at 1900 Alhambra Blvd and flax seeds can be purchased at most grocery stores – such as Safeway or Raleys.

Learn more about flax and chia seeds here:  


 Chia chocolate banana smoothie

1 frozen banana, slivered

1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)

2 tablespoons chia seeds 

1 teaspoon cinnamon (add less if you’d like – I LOVE cinnamon) 

1 teaspoon cocoa powder 

1/2 cup ice 

Oats (for garnish)

I also added about a tablespoon of Stevia sweetener to make it a bit sweeter, but you don’t have to. 

Put all of the ingredients in the blender (except the oats) and blend until smooth and creamy. Yum!