Breakfast, as the saying goes, is the most important meal of the day because it provides the initial boost of energy and nutrients that fuel your day. A good homemade breakfast shake is one made with healthy ingredients that satisfies your taste buds and your body's needs. Whether you are trying to break a habit of buying pricey store-made shakes or if you are just looking for a refreshing alternative to your usual breakfast cereal, you can make homemade shakes to fulfill almost any flavor craving. Even if you're running short on time, whip up a batch of breakfast shakes for you and the kids, pour them into travel cups and drink them on the way to school and work.
Make a fruit shake for breakfast if you normally eat fruit for breakfast or if you want to get several of the recommended daily servings of fruit out of the way with your first meal. Fruit shakes are limited only by your imagination and the availability of produce in your area. Classic kid-friendly fruit shake combinations include strawberry-banana, orange-pineapple, and orange-mango. Start with milk or vanilla yogurt, add a few drops of vanilla, and blend in fresh or frozen fruit for a healthful, refreshing breakfast shake.
Blend a protein-packed breakfast shake if you are facing a super-busy, energy-sucking day, e.g., if you are an athlete, or if you are trying to build muscle. Protein shakes don't have to compromise taste for function. Try chocolate-flavored whey protein powder blended with milk and ice cubes for a simple breakfast suitable for people with a sweet tooth. Or make an orange blossom protein shake with vanilla protein powder -- or high-protein Greek yogurt -- blended with milk, vanilla, natural sweetener and unsweetened orange juice concentrate.
Make a dessert-inspired shake for breakfast if you tend to gravitate toward sweet things like donuts and pastries in the morning or if you just want a breakfast that feels indulgent. For example, you could make a healthy "strawberry shortcake" shake that your kids will love by blending low-fat milk, vanilla, natural sweetener like honey or stevia, and strawberries. Or indulge your chocolate craving with a choco-cherry shake made with milk, vanilla yogurt, natural sweetener, pitted sweet cherries and a scoop of cocoa powder. If you like almonds, try an almond-date shake made with bananas, yogurt and a pinch of nutmeg, following a recipe from the Mayo Clinic.
Whip up a shake chock-full of a particular ingredient or vitamin if you are trying to ward off illness or if you want to start your day with a burst of vital nutrients. For example, you could make a green lemonade shake with spinach, kale, fresh-squeezed lemon, grated ginger, ice cubes and water if you want to get more antioxidant-rich greens without eating salad. Or make a tropical vitamin C shake with orange sections, mango chunks and pineapple blended with low-sugar lemonade. The sunny flavors of this tropical shake will bring smiles to your kids' faces.