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.
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!
water (some people like to add ice for a frozen smoothie)
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)
*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.
*frozen berries are a great sub for ice, they also last longer!
banana (1/4-1/2 banana at a time)
*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 🙂
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!