Dear Leah Renee,
I’ve heard that smoothies are similar in health benefits to that of juicing, but more filling. I have found that most smoothies are really high in sugar and made with ingredients that aren’t that healthy. Do you have some good tips for making smoothies to keep my diet on track and still get extra nutrients that I need? Thanks so much! ~Amanda, TX
So true, Amanda! The smoothies we get from some of those chain stores are not the same as the smoothies we can make ourselves at home with fresh, local ingredients, minus any additional sugars, preservatives, or even yogurt and ice cream many of them use. Smoothies can be super nutritious, or worse than having a candy bar. Juicing and blending offer different nutritional benefits which you can read about here.
Below is a list of some of the amazing ingredients that make up a nutrient-packed beverage to keep your energy levels strong.
As you can imagine, making a list for any of the ingredients above could be endless, but I chose to highlight ones I think are the easiest to access and work best. All of these ingredients should be pretty easy to find in your local natural foods store, and buy organic whenever possible! Sweeteners should be kept at a minimum if your concerned with sugar content, including fruit, dates, and honey. You can choose one from each category, or multiple from just a few–it’s up to you! The servings are a guide. I think half the fun is the trial and error! If it’s too bitter, add a little more honey. If it’s lacking some flavor, add some cinnamon or even some good quality salt. If it’s too thick, add some more liquid. Too runny? Throw some ice in the blender or add a little more banana. If you are looking to really fill up, or are a male reading this, add some extra protein. If you’re looking for a snack, then just throw in only a few ingredients like a fruit, greens, antioxidant, and a few nuts (you may use nut butters interchangeably-1 TB should suffice!) . The additions at the bottom are best at 1 teaspoon – 1 tablespoon.
Fruits can be fresh or frozen. It’s a common misconception that you lose a lot of nutrients if the fruit is frozen. I think in some cases, it can be just the opposite! Unless you are buying local, grow it yourself, or you’re choosing fruits that are in season and did not have to travel far, chances are you’re not missing out–the fruits and veggies are usually picked, packed, and frozen so nutrients remain intact. Don’t forget you can freeze your own fruit too! Take advantage of the summer months when fruit in plentiful, in season, and on sale. Buy more and store! Make sure to wash them first before putting them in the freezer! Banana’s? Freeze them too! Peel off the skin and break them in half. Frozen bananas make a nice thick smoothie texture (as do avocados). Are you salivating yet?! Go! Start blending!
Try my smoothie recipe to get you started:
Ingredients: 1-2 cups spinach, a (pitted) date, 1/2 a banana, 1/2 avocado, 1 TB hemp protein powder, 1 teaspoon Spirulina, 1 TB raw honey, and 1.5 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (and ice), pinch of cinnamon. A sprinkle of goji berries or cacao nibs on top!