We all want to be healthy and get more of the foods that we know we need into our daily eating, but who has the time, right? Well here are some tips and ideas to get you making that healthy smoothie every day. Maybe even twice a day if weight loss is your plan. Most people shy away from green smoothies or juices because they think that if it is green it has to taste “green”. That is just not the case. You always (almost always) put some sort of fruit in it to sweeten it up.
Once you get used to the wonderful recipes, you won’t even need a recipe because you get to know which fruits and vegetables go together for the best taste. Plus, after the basics go into the mix, you can add your other supplements too, in powder form, it’s so easy to make your breakfast smoothie a powerhouse of nutrition.
You Don’t Need The Yogurt-Just Use H2O
This keeps the calories down and makes it easier to keep a balance between the veggies (70%), and the fruit (20%), with ten percent reserved for your powdered supplements. Add chia seeds, frozen banana chunks, (those are your “ice cubes”), half an avocado, or oatmeal to give your smoothie a creamy texture.Chia Seeds also turn a bit gelatinous, so they also thicken your smoothie into a shake!
You do want to mix up your smoothies recipes, best to have a variety than just two favorites, as you will be getting a better vitamin/mineral profile. Also, if you follow the adage of trying to have protein for breakfast, just throw in a scoop of protein powder. I use plant-based protein powder, but if you are not trying to stay away from dairy, just use a quality whey protein.
Another possibility is taking healthy unsweetened almond or coconut milk and freezing it into ice cubes to bring about the creamy texture of bananas without the calories.
Use Special Ice Cubes-Frozen Fruit!
I mentioned it up above, but to elaborate a bit more on the subject, buy bags of high quality, organic if possible, frozen fruit. Use a half cup of your choice for making your smoothie into a cold shake-like smoothie. Keep in mind that berries of any kind are your best bet for losing weight and that pears and apples are considered “non-sweet” fruits. What that means is that they are less likely to spike your insulin levels or cause a rise in your blood sugar levels. So you diabetics and pre-diabetics, take note.
Flavor Boosters-Think Spice!
Here are three suggestions, but there are many more, experiment!
- Turmeric-speaking of “spicing up your smoothie, this spice will do so. Turmeric brings a subtle warming effect and also emotes a rich orange color as well.
- Nutmeg/Cloves-Both are full of flavor enhancement and anti-oxidants.
- Cinnamon-Adds richness to your drink while boosting your energy levels.
Which Veggies to Use? Be Brave!
Kale is the ingredient that we hear of most often when we are thinking about building a healthy smoothie, But I have used some pretty unusual things just to get superb nutrition for myself. I use beet greens, did you know that they are more alkalizing than even kale? Why wast a perfectly good bunch of beet greens that you get when you buy organic beets in the “whole food” state? My bunnies were very disappointed when I started using the beet greens in my smoothie, but what can I say?
Pears and cucumbers are a tasty mix, one of my favorites. I grow my own sprouts and put a handful into each smoothie I make regardless of the flavor because I want that “living food” enzyme boost that is only found in sprouts. I use broccoli and cauliflower because of the multitude of health benefits in cruciferous vegetables. Of course, I don’t try to push all of this into one shake, I use the 70/20 rule for how much I put in.
Dark Green Leafy Vegetables-The Foundation Of A Healthy Smoothie
This type of vegetable is full of enzymes, phytonutrients, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, and more. Even if you are making a special fruit smoothie, always sneak in a handful of spinach or kale!
Kale has vitamins k and E, calcium, folate, and iron. Some people think kale has a slightly bitter taste, but I have never thought so, maybe because I almost always add twenty percent fruit? Don’t know for sure. There is one variety, curly kale, that is sweeter and milder in taste for those of you who do find it bitter.
Spinach is another top of the list, nutritious, veggie. It’s mild in taste and has B vitamins, Potassium, and fiber. Since spinach has a very mild, almost neutral flavor, use the less sweet varieties of fruit with it, such as pear, apple, strawberry, or mango.
Lettuce-Is it a Nutritious Addition?
The only lettuce that is nutritious enough to consider worth adding to your healthy green smoothie is the romaine types of lettuce. This lettuce is also known by the name “Cos”, and it contains vitamin C, manganese, and copper. Romaine has a light and delicate taste, making it the perfect pair up for those neutral fruits such as pears, apples, and strawberries.
Swiss Chard-Colorful and Nutritious
This beautiful colorful green is another favorite of the foodies looking to add more nutrition to their smoothies and juices. Swiss chard has an impressive load of vitamin A, magnesium, and antioxidants. Swiss chard goes well with the sweeter, stronger flavored fruits such as pineapple and banana.
Don’t Forget The protein!
Protein is an important addition to every smoothie, especially if you are eating more plant-based foods and eating less or no meat. There are some great protein powders out there, but you don’t have to depend on them for your protein addition. You can add things like almond, cashew, or sunflower butter, (one of my favorites!) and also seeds such as flax and chia.
Quinoa has protein also, as do beans. Yes, I said beans, a novel thought, yes? Northern beans (white beans), or adzuki beans can add a protein punch to your drink with fewer calories than the nut butters would add.
Add Some Healthy Fats
Not something you would normally think to do, but adding healthy fats are good for your brain, heart, and weight. Fats are a slower digesting ingredient, slower than carbohydrates and protein, so they keep you feeling full longer, getting you to your next meal.
Healthy fats give your brain what it needs to function properly, so if the head fog is a frequent friend that comes visiting unannounced, beef up on your healthy fats. Just in case you don’t know what they are, these would include olive oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, and others. Remember that coconut oil has its own nutritional benefits too (see below).
Nuts Come With Thier Own Recommendation
Just as the nut butters are great to use in your smoothies, the nuts themselves work in much the same way. Some think it preferable to grind the nuts before adding them to your drink, just to make them more mixable. Walnuts should be limited to an ounce per serving due to the high calories, but they are very high in omega-three fatty acids, protein, and antioxidants. Pistachios have a very high amount of vitamin K, potassium, and something called phytosterols.
Coconut-The King (Queen?) Of Ingredients
Whether you use coconut cream, milk, or oil or even use the flesh itself, it is always a welcome addition to any mix. It is full of super healthy fats. The list of benefits of coconut will have to be addressed in another article as it deserves its own space. I will be posting some great smoothie recipes too, so stay tuned and come back often so you don’t miss them.
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