A refreshing smoothie can be a delicious and filling way to start your day or give you a boost of energy. There is more to it than just throwing a handful of things into a blender and hoping for the best, though! A smoothie that tastes great and is great for you is comprised of a few main components. Here are 3 keys to whipping up a delicious, healthy smoothie that will have you feeling fresh, full and fantastic.
The first key to a great smoothie is good fruits and vegetables! Fruits have natural sugars that can satisfy a sweet tooth, but they also have the added benefit of tons of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that a healthy body needs. According to expert dietitians Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh of C&J Nutrition, too much fruit can make your blood sugar level rise and then crash. 2 cups/servings of fruit is an ideal amount to incorporate into your smoothie.
According to WebMD, "just one cup of berries provides all the disease-fighting antioxidants you need in a single day." Try incorporating raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries to harness these awesome antioxidants! You could also try adding plums, prunes, or peaches to your smoothies for digestive help, or bananas for a creamy consistency that mimics less-healthy frozen treats like milkshakes. And don’t forget your greens! A smoothie is a great way to incorporate lots of healthy vegetables into your eating when you just aren’t up for a big bowl of salad. The USDA recommends eating green leafy vegetables for their amazing levels of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, as well as their high levels of folate and fiber. Try tossing in a handful of spinach, kale, broccoli, or bok choy next time you pull out the blender. Your fruit and vegetables don’t need to be fresh from the market, either – frozen produce works just as well!
How do you turn a smoothie from a nice drink into a balanced meal? Add protein! According to Kris Gunnars, BSc, protein provides major benefits, including reducing hunger levels, increasing muscle mass, and boosting metabolism, to name a few. Some ways to incorporate protein into your smoothies are by adding a quality protein powder, but you can also try a handful of your favorite nuts or a spoonful of peanut or almond butter. Dairy products like yogurt or kefir, nut and plant milks, and even some grains like oats, quinoa, and brown rice all contain protein and can go right into the blender for a perfect on-the-go meal.
Adding liquid to your smoothies is necessary to get them to a perfect blended consistency for drinking. Some people use plain water or even fruit juice, but another great option to add some extra flavor and nutrients to your smoothie without a lot of extra calories or sugar is an organic non-dairy milk like soy milk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, or even pea milk. These typically contain good-for-you things like calcium, protein, and other vitamins as well as things like carrageenan, which is harvested naturally from red seaweed and, once extracted, stabilizes liquids and gives them a satisfyingly smooth mouthfeel. For a smoothie with a thicker consistency, use less liquid. If you have trouble blending or sucking it through a straw, or just prefer a thinner consistency, simply add more liquid!
Smoothies are a great way to incorporate loads of healthy natural ingredients into your daily diet. Remember: produce, protein, and liquid! With these three components, you'll be blending with the best of them in no time!