Building a Better Smoothie

Smoothies are a great way to sneak extra vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and nutrients into your diet. Most store-bought smoothies are overloaded with refined sugars, excess sodium, and additives. Oftentimes, your “fruit” smoothie isn’t even made with real fruit. Making smoothies at home is an easy, inexpensive, and nutritious alternative to those pricy, sugary store bought smoothies. All you need is a blender and some fresh produce. Below are some ingredient ideas.

Veggies
Kale greens, spinach, romaine, celery, swiss chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, cucumber, wheatgrass

Herbs
Mint, cilantro, parsley, and basil, etc.

Fruits
Bananas, apples, green apples, pears, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, mango, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, lemons, limes, grapefruit, orange, blood orange, figs, dates, plums, acai, etc.

Proteins
Plant-based protein powders (brown rice, pea, sunwarrior, vega, organic grass fed whey protein, etc.), hemp seeds, chia seeds, nut butters, etc.

Healthy Fats
Chia seeds, avocados, coconut oil, hemp seeds, nuts/seeds

Sweetener of Choice
Stevia extract is a great way to keep the sweetness in the smoothie without relying heavily on simple sugars from fruit if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake.

Caution 

They may contain a lot of added sugar and fat and the total number of calories may be as much as a full meal. If you make your own smoothie, you can keep added calories down, but be careful when drinking rather than eating fruit as it often doesn’t help you to feel full.

The key to making a great smoothie depends on 1) your taste buds, 2) your health goals, and 3) flavor combinations you enjoy. For example, if you’d like to start with green smoothies, try using spinach as the first green to use as it’s lighter in texture and will blend best in traditional blenders. It also has a naturally sweet flavor to it, in comparison to kale, which is grittier in texture and more bitter in taste. If you’re looking to manage your weight, lose weight, or simply watch the sugar/carbohydrates in your diet, you can easily use add-ons such as stevia instead of using a lot of fruit to maintain the sweetness in the smoothie. Here’s a good rule of thumb:  Smoothie = 1-2 parts greens, 1 part fruit, 1 part protein, and 1 part healthy fat 

References

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