Waking up in the morning is not my idea of fun. I am often determined to sleep as late as I possibly can; allowing myself just enough time to get where I need to be. Because of this bad habit, I often delay--or skip, all together-- the most important meal of the day—breakfast.

Between brushing my teeth and finding my shoes, there just isn't enough time in my morning to make an omelet or enjoy a steaming bowl of oatmeal. Because skipping breakfast can hinder weight-loss; in an effort to lead a healthier life-style, I no longer skip my morning meal. Instead, I rely on smoothies to get my day started.

Smoothies are healthy, filling, and portable—three things that are important to me. I also love how quick and easy they are to make!

The night before an early morning—before I go to bed—I grab my blender and my measuring cups. I open the freezer and scan all the bags of frozen fruit and decide what combination I would like for breakfast.

I simply measure the fruit and toss it into the blender—frozen. I then measure some yogurt and milk and toss that in too. I put the blender in the refrigerator and get all my smoothie supplies ready for morning.

To make my morning as smooth (no pun intended) as possible, I put the cups, straws and any extras I may want to add next to each other on the counter. When I wake up, I simply need to grab the blender out of the fridge.

I add a little ice (if it needs it), toss any any extras, set it on the base and let it blend while I tie my shoes. It's that easy!

If you struggle with time management in the mornings, have trouble fitting in your recommended 5-9 daily servings of fruits and vegetables or would just like a little variety in your morning meals...smoothies are an excellent solution!

Nutrition, calories and taste will depend on which ingredients are used to make the smoothie. These can vary greatly, and should be considered if you're tracking carbohydrates, counting calories, or watching your sugar intake.

Fruit juice is a common ingredient in smoothies; but because it's very high in sugar I choose to use yogurt and milk instead. Aside from having less sugar, these ingredients offer a fair amount of protein, which helps keep me satisfied. Soy-milk, almond milk and tofu can also be great additions to your morning mix.

Mango Yogurt Smoothie With Chia Seeds

Mango is a fruit rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. It contains a high level of potassium and is an excellent source of vitamin A. Using fresh mango is ideal; but because mangoes are a seasonal fruit, frozen mango is a perfect substitution.

Chia seeds are small seeds rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and protein. Because of their high fiber content, the seeds absorb up to ten times their weight in water! They are also gluten free and low-glycemic.

Chia seeds can be purchased at most health stores and co-ops. They can be added to any of your favorite foods to give an extra boost of nutrition. I suggest adding the seeds after your smoothie is blended-- either sprinkling them on top or stirring them into the mixture.

This recipe will make three 8oz. Servings.

1 c. mango pulp (unsweetened)

1 c. yogurt, plain, low fat

1/2 c. low fat milk (can substitute soy)

1 c. ice cubes

1/2 tsp. ground cardamom (optional)

sugar, to taste (can substitute stevia or another sugar-substitute)

1 tbsp Chia Seeds

Combine mango pulp, yogurt, milk, ice cubes and ground cardamom (if using) in a blender. Blend until everything is combined and your smoothie is not chunky.

Add sugar, to taste. Pour into three 8oz. cups, sprinkle with chia seeds. Any leftover mango smoothie can be placed in the fridge to enjoy later. It'll last a day, but will need to be stirred to mix everything back together.

Note:

This smoothie is a variation of the popular Indian drink, the lassi. It's absolutely delicious as breakfast, but pairs extremely well with spicy dinner entrees as well.

About the author: Shari enjoys learning about food, making food, and eating food. She especially has an affinity for unique ingredients and Indian recipes. You can read her blog over at MyFancyPantry.com

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