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Smoothie Mania!

I never used to get smoothies as meals.

They have the calorie content of a meal, but would never sustain me for more than an hour or so.  Then I cracked the code…that’s because my only smoothie experiences were from places like Smoothie King or Jamba Juice.  Although their whole business is making smoothies, they’re not always the healthiest, or most nutritionally sound.

Now I now better and make my own smoothies which include fewer sugars, artificial sweeteners and I avoid nut butters that are made with hydrogenated oils.  (Making your own smoothies goes easier on the budget too!)

Any of you that follow me on Twitter know I’m big on eating real food (I’ve been implementing the #eatrealfood hashtag the last few weeks, feel free to jump on the bandwagon if you like!).

I know protein powder isn’t real food, but I have to say, if it’s the difference between people who are super busy getting in a meal they wouldn’t have otherwise-I’M INTO IT!  Especially if that meal is breakfast.




Proud client's Saturday grocery shopping display




This picture accompanied an email from a client that said, “I’m ready for smoothy mania!”

Her next email is why I’m writing this post…THIS IS HUGE, PEOPLE!

“Do you know what’s even more super spectacularly awesome?  Maile (her 6 year old), helped me make a smoothie this morning, spinach and all. So I explained all the nutritional stuff about each ingredient and she agreed to try her own smoothie!  She passed on the banana but agreed to coconut water, almond milk, frozen berries, pb,  a little protein and SPINACH!  Are you kidding me??? This kid doesn’t like to even touch vegetables or fruits. She likely won’t finish it but we are both so excited that she’s starting to break her shell!”

“Project better health already a super success!  Thanks Liz! :)”

Smoothies: A great delivery method!

In my recent studies of nutrition, and the experimenting I’ve been doing on my own body, I’ve decided that smoothies can be both delicious and convenient.  Yes!

The biggest reason is that they can be a quick and easy delivery method for a lot of things we need including: protein, greens, fiber, micro and macronutrients, antioxidants and more.

Making “balanced” smoothies.

All I mean by “balanced” is that it will contain all the same benefits of a healthy meal.  Protein, fat,  and fruit/veggie carbs and fiber.  You will be so surprised how amazing a smoothie with a handful of spinach, romaine or kale can taste.

Here’s a list of ingredients you can use:

*I’m keeping this list simple, once you become a smoothie connoisseur definitely step outside of this box!

Liquids

water (some people like to add ice for a frozen smoothie)

coconut water

milk (I prefer unsweetened almond, hemp or coconut milk, I avoid dairy 95% of the time, and I’m not a fan of soy for a laundry list of reasons that could be it’s own post)

Protein

Whey protein.  Brands I like include EAS, BSN Lean Dessert, Designer Whey.

Soy protein.

*flavors that are versatile because they compliment a variety of combinations like chocolate, vanilla and cinnamon are my preference, but there are a ton of options out there.  Do you have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Peanut or almond butter.

*make sure these are natural, raw, unsalted, and contain no hydrogenated oils or extra sugars

There’s a lot of debate over what’s the best kind of protein so I checked in with the Metabolic Effect team and here’s their recommendation, “We would see them this way from best to worst whey, egg, casein, pea, rice, hemp, soy.”  That’s especially if you’re looking to maintain lean muscle.  For basic nutrition they’re all adequate, but I’d recommend choosing brands with fewer artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols.

Fruit

berries

*frozen berries are a great sub for ice, they also last longer!

banana (1/4-1/2 banana at a time)

Veggies

romaine

spinach

kale

*these are listed in ascending order of how detectable the flavor actually is in the smoothie.

I find the fruit is sweet enough, so I don’t add any sweetener, although sometimes I will sprinkle in some cinnamon, or vanilla extract for a delicious change 🙂

Fiber

last but not least, if you know you  don’t eat enough veggies or have enough fiber in your diet, go ahead and throw in a scoop of powdered fiber.  If you use one that you’d recommend, please comment below!

How to make your smoothie:

In a blender combine 1 cup of liquid, 1 scoop protein, (PB is not enough protein, so consider that an add-in), a handful of your desired fruit, a handful of your desired green, any tweaks like cinnamon or vanilla extract if you want.  You may adjust quantities to achieve your preferred consistency.  Blend it up and enjoy!

A few of my go-to combos:

Chocolate PB & Spinach

1 cup almond milk, 1 scoop chocolate whey, 1 tbsp PB, handful of spinach

Banana, All Greens

1/4 banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1 scoop BSN Lean Dessert Cinnamon Roll protein, handful of romaine, spinach and kale

*I’m sure vanilla or chocolate protein would also be delicious here, then you could sprinkle in some real cinnamon

Berries and Greens

Handful frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup coconut water, handful of spinach, 1 scoop chocolate whey

If you are already a smoothie fan, or become one after this post, please share your favorite combos with us.  Cheers to healthy, yummy, love!


Smoothie Mania!
  • http://www.katrinasimeck.com Katrina

    I’m a big fan of smoothies! I’ve even convinced some co-workers to join me in making them every morning @ work. We use wheatgrass powder, chia seeds, and (sometimes) spirulina powder in our smoothies for an extra nutritional boost. Enjoy!

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      what a great idea to get your co-workers in on it! Thanks Katrina 🙂

  • Anna Fuller

    Great post! I love my green smoothies! The only thing I omit is the whey protein since whey isn’t very good for you. If you must add protein, then rice protein, or hemp protein is great! Also, the greens have tons of protein in them!

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      Anna,
      Glad you mentioned the thing about whey, Kris Carr wasn’t a fan either in Crazy Sexy Diet-and I know your background is more vegan/vegetarian. What’s the argument there? Why isn’t it good for you? Does it have to do with being derived from milk?

      I know the greens have some protein, in my experience it’s not enough to maintain lean muscle though (which is certainly not everyone’s goal). This is the same reason why I won’t give up meat. Would be really interested to know your thoughts though.

      Thanks!

      • http://www.katrinasimeck.com Katrina

        I’m not a fan of whey, either – but mostly b/c it kinda upsets my stomach. I’m recently veg, but still eat fish, and am following Kris’s lead toward veganism for the month of Feb (complicated much?).

        I’m still sorting my way through the protein piece, so I’ll be watching this with interest!

  • Olga

    Hi Liz,

    Try papaya,cocunut water and cinnamon. I love them. You can add a
    bit of ice .

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      Thanks Abuelita! Too bad our papaya in the US doesn’t come close to yours in PR.

  • http://www.djaniracortesao.com Djanira Cortesao

    Great post Liz!

    I’m a HUGE fan of smoothies. I just had a great one today with banana, mango and spinach.

    I often add ground nuts/seeds to make it creamier and get my omega oils.

  • Erica

    I’m very excited to get into the smoothie craze. Went out and bought a few packets of different kinds of proteins to see what I really like before buying a big container of any of them. Keep up the posts on different mixes you’ve come up.
    🙂

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      THAT is a great idea. I once bought a box of 50 packets of THE WORST vanilla protein ever, and suffered my way through it because it was expensive. Good tip!

  • Anna

    Where do you get small packets of protein powder?
    I like to add non-fat plain fage yogurt to mine. I want to start using protein but I am worried I won’t like the after-taste.

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      Any place like a GNC, Vitamin Shoppe or random health food store should sell packets so you can try some out and see if you like it. This might sound gross, but I tried it this week and it wasn’t bad-adding liquid egg whites is also a great way to get protein in a shake and the taste is practically undetectable. I’m not big on yogurt because I try to stay away from dairy-but for people who do like it I always recommend greek so stick to your fage! (or even chobani which I think might be a little cheaper)

  • Rose

    My favorite combo is almond milk, 1 banana, Trader Joe’s Better ‘n Peanut Butter and vanilla Greek yogurt

    • http://fithealthyandbeautiful.com Liz DiAlto

      mmm…I love anything with banana. Thanks Rose!

  • Odetta

    Love my smoothie right after my workout. Nonfat milk, frozen wild blueberries, banana, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and one scoop vanilla protein. I sometimes add spinach (which I can't even taste) and I'm good to go!!