If you follow my Julia Davie Nutrition Facebook or Instagram page you already know that I drink a lot of smoothies. For a few years now, most of my mornings start with the loud roar of my Vitamix blending up some concoction of protein, fruits, veggies and superfoods. This is often followed by excited shrieks from my children wanting to try the latest creation.
Smoothies are great fun. They can be a healthy and balanced breakfast for someone needing to race out the door (as I often am) or for those looking to pack nutrients into their diet. However, not all smoothies are equal. In fact, without the right ingredients, some smoothies are basically a blender full of sugar. So, what can you do to make sure your smoothie is tasty AND good for you? These tips and tricks will teach you how!
1. Include Protein! Many smoothie recipes contain ingredients but fall short in the protein department. Adding protein to your smoothie increases satiation which basically means you will feel fuller for longer. Protein also helps balance energy levels, supports immunity and is necessary for the growth and repair of new tissues including muscle, bone, hair, skin and nails. You can up the amount of protein in your smoothies by adding hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond butter, cashew butter, cooked beans or a quality protein powder supplement.
2. Limit Fruit. This is, perhaps, one of the biggest smoothie pit falls. Most smoothie recipes contain WAY too much fruit. Although fruit provides important micronutrients and fiber, loading up on it first thing in the morning can wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels and leave you cranky and hungry by mid morning.
Instead of creating a sugar rush, limit your fruit to a maximum of one cup. For example ½ a banana and ½ cup of berries would do the trick.
3. Add fat! Including healthy fat in your morning smoothie will not make you fat. In fact, similar to protein, fat increases satiation helping you feel fuller for longer and eat less overall. Some of my favourite sources of fat for my smoothie include coconut oil, freshly ground flax seed, hemp seeds, chia seeds and almond butter. One tablespoon of any of these ingredients will supply a healthy portion.
4. Eat your veggies. Vegetables? In a smoothie? Yes, I am serious. Most of us are not getting nearly enough vegetables into our diets. Smoothies offer an amazing opportunity to load up! If you are new to adding vegetables to a smoothie start with something very mild. A medium sized handful of organic baby spinach would make a good choice. Once your taste buds adapt, get creative! Some of my favourite veggies to throw in are cucumber, kale, romaine or fennel!
5. Add superfoods! While not 100% necessary, why not give yourself the added benefits found in superfoods? In this category my favourites are raw cacao, fresh ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cinnamon. Get creative!!
This week, stock up on smoothie ingredients and dive in! As always, I love to hear from you. Let me know how the smoothies go and whether or not you found this blog helpful in your health and wellness journey.