A Super Simple Smoothie

Smoothies are such a great, healthy pick-me-up to start your day with. They also make your first decision an active and healthy one, which will put you in a great mindset for the rest of the day! Today I’m going to share with you my all-time favourite, a banana and berry smoothie.

Fruit smoothies are deliciously sweet and are great for beginners, as they aren’t quite as intimidating as the all green, vegetable concoctions. Fruit smoothies won’t spike your blood sugar levels like a fruit juice will, as smoothies retain the fibre of the fruit. While a juice will be almost immediately absorbed into your bloodstream (and thereby spiking your blood sugar levels), the fibre in a smoothie cushions this, and also makes it more filling.

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All you need for this smoothie is half a banana, a handful of frozen berries and a splash of apple juice. Blend them all up together and you’re done!

Bananas freeze really well, so don’t worry about using only half. The banana is essential as the base of the smoothie. All smoothies require a chunky fruit or vegetable base to thicken them up, usually avocado, mango or banana. I like using bananas because they add a bit of sweetness and you can buy them cheaply. Bananas are a great source of potassium and fibre, which is essential for stablising your blood sugar levels and maintaining a normal blood pressure and healthy heart.

I love the taste of all berries, which is why I use them in my smoothies. Frozen berries can be bought cheaply, obviously last much longer and make your smoothies really refreshing. Berries also make the smoothie runnier, which I prefer as I don’t like really thick ones. Berries are full of antioxidants which is great for your skin and hair as well as your health in general!

All smoothies need a liquid as well, and I use apple juice simply because I like it. But you can use anything. I use a lot of liquid because I prefer runnier smoothies, but if you want it thicker be more sparing.

This is one of the most basic smoothies you can make, but I think that if it is simple, you are more likely to make it even if you are in a rush. I always have this alongside cereal or porridge, but if you want it to be your breakfast on its own then add some porridge oats, yoghurt or nut butter to bulk it out and make it more filling.

If you have any favourite smoothies then I would love to hear them!

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How to Spend… January

January, the month that sees gyms full and bank accounts empty. I always find January a bit of an odd time, a strange mix of misery that Christmas is over and excitement for the year ahead. If only the weather would perk up it could all be very merry. Here are my suggestions to see you through to spring (or at least February).

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*Set yourself a tough resolution for January: New year resolutions tend to spark mixed opinion. Are they (like rules) only something to break or are they a worthwhile challenge? Personally, I quite enjoy them. They’ve seen me stick to a proper skincare routine, drink more water and actually run in the past, so I’m not going to knock them. But this year, I’m trying something new – a tough resolution just for January. Dry January is the classic example of this, but mine is all healthy work lunches. Chocolate gets passed around like oxygen in my office and PRs send us all kinds of delicious treats, which is all good and fun, but it’s time to make some healthier choices. We’ll see how I go! Rather than setting yourself a huge challenge for the whole year, try it in a bite-sized chunk just for this month. You get the feel good moment of achievement sooner, and it just might push you on for the rest of the year.

*Get creative with your workouts: Skip the gym this January. The novelty wears off, it gets boring and you’ll be done with it by spring. Or, join the gym like the rest of the world but don’t stop there. Have a go at running outside. Try yoga. Do the 30 day abs challenge. Join an exercise class. It is so difficult to sustain repetitive exercise, so mix it up! There are so many apps, YouTube videos and classes out there to help you, and it is the best way to really enjoy exercising. I’m currently in love with the Nike Running app, which tracks your runs so you have something to analyse proudly at the end. I also love Cassey Ho’s Blogilates workout videos on YouTube. There are so many, they are really creative and entirely free!

*Get planning: The best way to be productive is by planning your day properly. So treat yourself to a new diary/planner and go to town. This doesn’t just have to be boring, worky things though. I’m busy planning as many fun things for January as possible at the moment. It can seem a bit miserable with the festivities over, so gather up your friends and go to all of those places you meant to visit in 2015. Shop the sales, eat out and have fun.

*Finally, go easy on yourself: New Year’s resolutions are all well and good, but they shouldn’t make you miserable. You don’t have to be productive 24/7, go to the gym everyday and just eat leaves. Down days exist for a reason, use yours to recharge and your productivity, exercise regime and general health will really benefit. So spend an afternoon watching films, have a bath and eat a slice of chocolate cake. Everyone deserves a break – use yours well!