It is known. Smoothies are magical concoctions, full of vitamins and nutrients, which come in the handy-dandy form of a glass. Do you want to fill up on all the goodness yourself? Here is how to make a healthy smoothie in a few easy steps!
It’s much harder to eat a plate full of veggies or consume a bunch of fruit so that you can rest easy that your body is getting everything it needs. But a glass chock full of the best the produce aisle can offer? It sure sounds like something we can all get behind. And it’s not that hard to make a healthy smoothie. Just read this!
What makes a smoothie better than simple juice? When you make smoothies, you blend whole fruits and veggies, which have more nutrients, but also fiber, a huge help when it comes to digestion. And also you don’t waste as much of the fruit or veggie like you do when you’re juicing.
It’s important to choose your ingredients carefully, in order to get the balance of protein, good fats, and carbs. It’s also important to make your own smoothies, because store-bought ones can have too many sugars, sometimes up to 15 teaspoons. Here’s how you get balance in your smoothie and, hopefully, in your body as well.
5 steps to make a healthy smoothie
1. No added sweeteners
Give up on honey or maple syrup, and use only the natural flavor of fruits for sweet taste. They’re also rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Don’t use fruit juice in your smoothie, because it has more sugar and calories. And go for one cup of fresh or frozen fruit as the base for your smoothie. Some of that should be bananas, mango, pineapple, or orange slices, in order to make sure your smoothie will be sweet. Also, choose plain yogurt and milk without added sweeteners. If, after blending, you need more sweet in your smoothie, add 1-2 dates or 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite, but natural, sweetener. You don't want your smoothie to make you fat.
2. Try veggies, too
For more vitamins and minerals, add some vegetables to your smoothie as well. Whatever floats your boat: carrots, cucumber, beets, pureed pumpkin, or spinach leaves.
3. Add some protein
Your smoothie will become more substantial if you add some protein to the mix. We recommend you use yogurt, milk, soy milk, or silken tofu. You can also try half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, which has about 14 grams of protein. Other than protein, dairy products also help your smoothie’s texture, making it creamier and thicker. Thicker smoothies make you feel fuller after all.
4. Don’t forget the crunchy bits
Speaking of protein, you can also find them in nuts and seeds. Two tablespoons of pumpkin seeds have about 5 grams, while 1 ounce of almonds has 6-7 grams. But walnuts, almonds, peanuts, chia seeds or flax seeds are good for smoothies because they add a bit of crunch to them. Just make sure you check the calories!
5. Other ideas
For more thickness and a more fulfilling experience, you can experiment with avocado, almond butter or peanut butter. And for different flavors each day, you might want to try cocoa powder or cacao nibs. Oats and wheat germ are also very good options.
So you can balance everything out and don’t forget to keep an eye out for the calorie index. If you’re making a smoothie and plan to have it for breakfast, you need to keep it under 400 calories. If instead, you want a healthy snack for when hunger comes knocking at your door, then try for 200 calories.