There is no doubt that starting your day by doing something healthy for your body, not only makes you feel good, but it leads to you making healthy choices throughout the day. One of the best ways to start your day on a healthy note is to drink your morning meal in the form of a smoothie. They are also great for an afternoon pick-me-up snack, or sometimes, as an alternative for a calorie-heavy dessert because there are so many different “recipes” to make your smoothies that meet your dietary needs. If you are someone that normally buys your food instead of making it, there are smoothie places all over the place, but make sure that they aren’t adding calorie heavy ingredients to your smoothies (like ice cream!), and you may want to invest in a blender and make your own so you know what is going into them and you can experiment with your recipes, and save yourself some money along the way. You can cater your smoothies to your dietary needs: high protein, Omega-3 supportive, heavy on fruits, a green veggie power pack, or whatever else you might want to add in. Here are some options for smoothies for specific dietary needs, but feel free to mix and match, to make it the consistency you want (adding ice might make it colder and thinner versus adding fat free yogurt can help to thicken it up), and taste the way you want (adding agave can add a low glycemic index bit of sweetness). Also, remember that if you live in an area where fresh fruits and veggies aren’t readily available all year round, as I do, the best option is to buy fresh frozen fruits and veggies as they are usually flash frozen and still full of vitamins and nutrients that canned or less than optimal fruits and veggies won’t have.
The top 10 trends to optimize your smoothies:
- A focus on nutrition, instead of calories (i.e. higher calorie smoothies with avocados, nut butter, yogurt are OK as long as we are using them as a meal replacement)
- Packing smoothies with various veggies (think: spinach and kale)
- Chia seeds should be an for protein
- Oatmeal addition for fiber, flavor, and antioxidants
- Nut butters as protein boosters
- Maximizing antioxidant ingestion through a mix of veggies and fruits
- Keeping a mix of fiber, fat (the good kind!), and protein in each smoothie
- Flaxseed should be a staple addition for fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3 additions.
- A little agave or honey can sweeten your smoothie with health benefits and they will be easy on your waistline
- Don’t be afraid to be creative to meet your taste AND nutrition needs!!
A few of my favorite smoothies are below, to give you some to try, and you can always get fancy and make additions.
For a Protein Boost:
Nut Butter, Oat, and Banana:
1 ½ cup Milk
¼ cup peanut butter (or almond, cashew- whichever you choose)
2 teaspoons rolled oats
*1 teaspoon honey (optional for added sweetness)
*1 teaspoon chia seeds (for added protein)
Add all ingredients to a blender, add water or milk to change the consistency, and you have a power packed protein punch!
Citrus and Blackberry Protein Smoothie:
1 cup blackberries
1 orange (peeled)
¾ cup Greek yogurt (I use 0% Fage because I think it has the nest consistency)
Put all of the ingredients in a blender, and you can add some orange juice or more yogurt to change the consistency to your liking. This is a great morning smoothie and a way to get protein without a nut source if you have allergies or just don’t wanted the added fats!
Get Your Daily Fruit Fix:
**To add a bit of extra Vitamin C and some protein, a good base is 200ml of Orange Juice and milk (whichever type of milk you prefer- soy, cow, almond, etc.) and then start to add your fruits and fiber on top of it!
Mango Berry Mix:
Create the base (from above)
Add mango pieces (1/4 mango)
1/4 cup blueberries
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
4 teaspoons oatmeal
¼ cup pitted sweet cherries (frozen are easiest)
¼ cup strawberries
¼ cup raspberries
¼ cup blueberries
1 cup pomegranate juice
Blend them all together, and you can add water or more pomegranate juice to adjust the thickness, to get an antioxidant packed start to your day…or to make the most of your afternoon snack as a yummy pick-me-up!
Add Veggies to Your Daily Routine:
1 granny smith apple cored and sliced (leave the peel on)
1 ½ cup green grapes (you can go with red, but it makes the color a little funky)
½ cup apple juice
1 cup baby spinach or baby kale (packed tightly)
Throw all ingredients into a blender, adding more apple juice for a thinner consistency, and drink your veggies down.
Carrot Cucumber Smoothie:
1 cup carrots (I use baby carrots….but if you don’t have a Vitamix or a Ninja, you may want to opt to use carrot juice to save your blender from over working it’s blades and motor!)
1 cup apple juice
Mix them all up until smooth, adjusting the consistency with apple juice, water, or carrot juice and get your days servings of veggies all in one delicious drink!
Added tip: Think about adding some flax seed or chia seeds to any recipe to add Omega-3’s for heart health, and you can also think about adding a scoop of protein powder (think: whey) to any of the smoothies to add protein, especially if you have had a hard workout to help and support muscle re-growth.
From start to finish, making a smoothie, to cleaning up your blender, is about a 15-minute process that can add loads of nutrition to your diet, in a simple and delicious way. Whether you are trying to stick to a healthier diet, looking to lose weight, or support a healthy pregnancy, smoothies are the best way to add a power boost of nutrition that is filling and satisfying. Start adding a smoothie into your daily routine, and omit a high calorie snack or meal (like breakfast), and start to feel the healthy difference!
Yours in Good Health