Have you tried grains in your smoothie?

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This article originally appeared on www.nytimes.com.

Smoothies are a great way to start the day and get a good hit of nutrients quickly.  But have you thought of adding grains?  Martha Rose Shulman, columnist for the New York Times, gives some advice on how to incorporate more grains into your diet….

Over the years I have given created a number of recipes devoted to smoothies – fruit smoothies with nuts and seeds; smoothies with vegetables; dairy free smoothies. I thought I had pretty much covered all the smoothie bases. Then I came across a recipe for a “Fresh Peach, Banana and Warm Millet Smoothie” in Bryant Terry’s impressive new cookbook “Afro-Vegan,” and a bell went off. Cooked millet in a smoothie? I had never seen such a thing; yet breakfast is a great meal for cooked grains, and also for smoothies. So why not? Adding cooked grains to smoothies would be a perfect way to thicken the drinks and bulk them up.

Then I began thinking about colors. For at least some of my smoothies I matched grains and fruits by color. I used red quinoa with dark red fruit (this week I used red grapes and sweetened the drink with pomegranate molasses), black quinoa or purple rice with blueberries, brown rice for an almond date shake and millet in a pineapple smoothie and in a banana-strawberry-kefir blend. I used 1/4 to 1/3 cup of cooked grain in each drink and ended up with a beautiful rainbow of smoothies – pink, red, deep purple, yellow and beige – all of them incredibly nourishing and definitely substantial enough calorically and nutritionally to get me through a busy morning. They should give you one more good reason to cook grains ahead so they are always on hand for quick, nutritious and easy meals.