When I was doing my business undergrad, one of my favourite electives was psychology. The areas I loved most were sports psychology and consumer behaviour, and considering I’m now a marketer in my full-time job who loves all things sweaty, that probably comes as no surprise. I took those classes in 2nd and 3rd year, but looking back, one of the most memorable courses in my entire university career was psych 101.
My professor was a tall, thin man in his 70s at the time, incredibly sharp and on his game. His classes were at 8:30am which wasn’t at all inconvenient for me (morning person 4 lyfe), but other profs had trouble filling their lecture halls at this time. Not this guy though. His wicked sense of humour was enough to get my fellow classmates who had been at the bar until 2am out of bed. He’d greet us at the door, wish us safe travels when we went home at Thanksgiving, and tell us stories that still make me laugh when I think about them.
I remember many of his lectures, which is strange because that’s not the case with most other courses. He taught us all sorts of concepts, one of which was decision fatigue. Sound familiar? It’s used to describe how the quality of our decision making ability falls as the number of decisions we’re faced with rises. For example…
You wake up feeling particularly motivated to have a healthy day. Getting out of bed a little earlier than usual, you head out for a run or go to a spin class. After a refreshing shower, you chug a great big glass of water because you know hydration is important. You spend some extra time in the kitchen pulling together a healthy breakfast, and pack your lunch. Then you head off to work. Brilliant – right on track.
You go to a meeting and do a couple of hours of work at your desk. Lunch time comes and HOORAY! You’ve already packed one, which is great because you’re so busy with emails that lunch happens at your desk. You’re in back to back meetings all afternoon, and realize all of the sudden that it’s 6pm and – woah, where did the day go?
You bail on friends you had tentative plans with because the day was crazy and you’re mentally exhausted. Driving home, you decide to take a different route due to traffic. A few minutes pass while you stand in front of the fridge, staring at the options and thinking about what to make for dinner.
Wait, do you actually want to make dinner? Wouldn’t it be easier to run across the street and order some sushi from your usual spot? Actually, what would be really easy is collapsing on the couch with a bowl of cereal and some Netflix. Ooh… that sounds kinda nice actually….
That is an example of decision fatigue, I’m sure we’ve all had a similar experience at some point. Scientists say we make an average of 35,000 decisions per day. That’s a lot of thinking, and it’s no wonder that sometimes we fall of the wagon when it comes to living the the way we want to.
So what should we do? Well, one solution might be developing routines. I’m a creature of habit who can eat the same thing for breakfast for weeks at a time. This sort of routine might sound boring, but what’s great is that it reduces the amount of decision making brainpower that I spend on food.
One of the most common requests I get from readers around this back-to-school, back-to-work, back-to-routine time of year is for quick and healthy breakfasts and snacks. With this and the topic of decision fatigue on my mind recently, I got thinking about how to make decision making about food ridiculously simple.
Since mornings are a challenge for many, my mind gravitated towards breakfasts. Specifically, make-ahead healthy breakfasts that require little to no prep – 5 minutes max. Smoothies are my go-to speedy meal, but sometimes you don’t have time to wash produce and fiddle around with quantities to get the consistency just right.
Specifically, 5 smoothie packs that you can prep in 20 minutes or less on the weekend and pop in the freezer. That’s one for every day of the week. Each morning you can grab one, pour the contents into your blender along with some liquid and blend away.
As you can see in the photos above, there’s a certain order to be followed for best results with smoothie bags. Here’s how I like to make them:
- Fresh greens, patted as dry as possible
- Vega One (or your choice of protein powder), oats and seeds
- Nut butters – adding greens and dry ingredients first will help prevent nut butter from sticking to the bag
- Fruits and non-leafy veggies
- Non-dairy yogurt cubes, previously frozen in ice trays
For the recipes I’m about to share, 1 cup of liquid seems to be enough to achieve a nice smoothie consistency given the quantities of the other ingredients. I’ve used Silk products which have slightly different flavours, but all are free of dairy, gluten, soy, lactose, casein, egg and MSG.
As far as protein and superfoods go, sometimes I toss a whole bunch of boosters into my smoothies like moringa, acai powder, chlorella tablets, maca and a few others. However, because Vega One is already SO full of vitamins, minerals, protein, greens and healthy fats, I was able to simplify these recipes and still keep them extremely nutrient-dense.
Alright, that’s enough chat. Without further delay, let’s make one of my favourites in the bunch!
Blueberry Muffin Smoothie
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (1 serving)
- 1 big handful of spinach or mild mixed greens
- 1 serving French Vanilla Vega One
- ¼ cup gluten-free oats
- 4 cubes coconut yogurt (frozen in ice trays)
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 cup Silk Unsweetened Almond Beverage
Put all ingredients except the Silk Unsweetened Almond Beverage in a resealable bag. Freeze until ready to use.
When ready to blend, pour all ingredients in the bag into the blender along with the almond milk.
Blend until completely smooth.
Pour the smoothie into a glass and serve.
I’ve put this Blueberry Muffin Smoothie and the remaining 4 back-to-school-inspired flavours in a handy downloadable 5 Day Smoothie Reboot PDF. Inside you’ll find these recipes:
- Almond Butter + Jelly Smoothie
- Tropical Twist Green Smoothie Bowl
- Chocolate Coconut Green Smoothie
- Peanut Butter + Banana Green Smoothie
Now it’s over to you. I’d love to hear…
- How do you make food decisions as easy as possible? What routines (if any) have you developed?
- What’s your favourite back-to-school inspired flavour? I was a big PB&J fan as a kid, but these days I’m on team almond butter. ?