12 Tips For Sensational Healthy Smoothies

I believe most of us find it difficult to incorporate the recommended number of fruit and vegetables into our daily menu plans each and every day, but one super way to consume them is blended in an ice cold, creamy smoothie. I started making my own smoothies a couple of years ago when I was looking for something healthy, filling, and low calorie to get me over my post exercise hump when hunger hit and lunch was still hours away. Since I’ve made that first smoothie I’ve become hooked, and enjoy a nutritionally power packed frosty drink occasionally throughout the week, even replacing one with lunch during especially busy days. My favorite smoothie that I enjoy a few days a week for breakfast is still my Spiced Oatmeal Banana. The oats add fiber which keeps me feeling full, the banana, honey and spices add sweetness and lots of flavor, and the flax seeds, protein powder, and almond milk add protein, calcium, and other nutrients.

Smoothies can be a great way to get children who are picky eaters to consume the fruits (and veggies) they need for growing, are helpful for busy folks short on time who are interested in ensuring they are consuming the necessary nutrients, and a great source of protein and other nutrients for athletes, amateur or otherwise, who are interested in getting in the needed nutrients for fat loss and/or muscle building.

Smoothies can however be diet nightmares if you are buying the fat laden, overly sweet varieties sold at some of the stores that feature smoothies. These smoothies often contain high fat and high sugar items like ice cream, peanut butter, sweetened syrups, or chocolate, and you can end up with a drink that has 600 calories or more for just the small size! If you are short on time and buying your smoothie out, keep it simple, order the small size, and read the ingredients and nutritional information carefully. Your best choice is always to make your smoothies at home where you control the ingredients. Below are a few tips I’ve learned for ensuring my smoothies are healthy, delicious, and packed with nutritional value.

  • Be creative! Using different fruits and vegetables with your smoothies will help you get even more nutrients and health benefits. Don’t use the same old ingredients each time, mix it up. If you’re into green smoothies, be sure to rotate the variety of greens every couple of weeks.
  • If looking to your smoothie as a meal replacement, fats like coconut, flax, or even avocado, will keep you satiated and full of energy for hours.
  • Adding a bit of flaxseed oil, wheatgerm oil, or hempseed oil is also a great way to pack more of those nutritional lipids like omega-3 and medium chain fatty acids into your drink. Fats are necessary components of our diet, and good fats can soothe cravings and enhance both the flavor and palatability of your smoothies while adding nutrition.
  • Experiment and try different new super foods to boost the nutrition of your smoothie. Maca, cacao, goji berries, bee pollen, flax, chia seeds, aloe vera, coconut oil, hemp seeds/protein, spirulina, and acai are great to start with and are becoming more readily available at health food stores. Start small, choose one or two and add just a little until you are used to it. Try soaking your chia seeds in a little water to make a gel similar to tapioca, which will give your smoothie a nice smooth consistency.
  • Freeze your fruit, including your bananas and avocados (peeled and cut up in pieces prior to freezing) or add ice to your smoothie recipes to make them refreshing. I have a big bag of mixed berries I buy at Costco in my freezer at all times. I also freeze pineapple and banana chunks which both add lots of natural sweetness to my smoothies.
  • The fresher the juice and ingredients you use in your smoothie, the better the flavor and nutrition. Use organic ingredients in your smoothie whenever possible, not only to increase nutrition and avoid pesticides, but also for better taste.
  • If adding protein powder to your smoothie, blend the ingredients before adding your protein which is recommended by manufacturers who say that protein powder is delicate and can be damaged by over blending.
  • Various spices enhance both flavor and nutrition. Cinnamon, cayenne pepper, ginger, and nutmeg, are a few good options.
  • Remember, you can always add water or ice to any smoothie recipe to thin it out, but adding additional juice or milk will increase the calorie content of your drink.
  • Don’t add sugar to smoothies for sweetness but instead add high sugar fruits and juices such as pear juice, bananas, grape juice, apple juice, pomegranate juice. If needed, you can add a teaspoon of agave syrup, honey, or maple syrup for a little extra sweetness.
  • Always add the ice last as over blending the ice will make your smoothie watery rather than frosty and icy.
  • To increase the fibre content of your smoothies, add 1–2 tablespoons of wheat, regular oats, or oat bran.

 

 

 

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