Ahh smoothies…so many of us think they are the healthiest choice. Smoothies can be the perfect addition to your meal plan or they can truly be your saboteur.
Be smart! It is very important that you know why you are adding what you are adding and there is a purpose to it. Otherwise, the calories and sugar can get totally out of control and you arebasically drinking dessert and empty calories.
See below a list of categories of different things you can add to your smoothie. Based on your goals, palate, creativity and level of motivation, make your smoothies work for you. This could be a quick pre or post workout meal, a meal replacement during the day or a meal supplement to add to your day for extra calories. Use a good quality blender or I prefer my immersion wand to make it even easier to prep and clean. Do not forget to make in bulk! You can whip up several servings of your favorite smoothie and place cups with lids in the freezer and you will have smoothies for the week.
Food categories for your smoothies
Vegetables - Great addition to a smoothie to get some extra vegetables in. And in a blender you keep the fiber which is so important. Most do not love the flavor of 100% vegetable juice and add a lot of sugar to cover it up…not exactly the goal. So…be mindful of what you add and if it still does not taste good for you, take the veggies out and eat a salad later!
- Eat fresh or frozen vegetables of choice
Fruit - Delicious and nutritious, but many people add 2-5 servings of fruit in one smoothie! Watch the portions. One portion is the size of a tennis ball, about 3/4-1 cup or 1/2-1 fist
- Eat fresh or frozen fruit of choice. NOTE: I am not a fan of fruit juice…eat your fruit, do not drink it!
Fats - Excellent addition to a smoothie! Especially for those of you trying to gain weight or keep weight on. 1Tablespoon of oil/butter is considered a serving, 2 Tablespoons of nuts, dairy or avocado is a serving. Some of you need one serving, some of you can handle 3-5 servings. This is how you can make this smoothie packed with calories – each gulp will count. NOTE: If you are trying to lose weight, watch the portion sizes!
- Nut butter
- High Fat Dairy – yogurt, milk, kefir (cow, goat or sheep milk)
- Coconut Butter or milk
- Grass fed butter
- Coconut oil
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- Oils – olive oil, nut/seed oil such as walnut, almond or flax
Protein - Essential part of your smoothie! You must add protein to make it a balanced meal.
- Protein powder – As you all know, I am not really a huge fan of powders and supplements, but if you really want it, the key is to find a product that is made of only one ingredient – whey protein powder. That is it! So many powders have so much junk and added stuff in it. I do not support crazy processed products. Find a powder made from organic, local, sustainable sources. Here is one brand I like.
- Non fat Dairy – Greek yogurt, milk, kefir (cow, goat or sheep)
Flavor - This is just the beginning of a list of things you can add for flavor – what do you like? Please note, some of these have calories and some do not…be smart about your choices!
No calories, full of flavor
- Cinnamon or Nutmeg
- Vanilla extract
- Almond extract
- Cayenne Pepper
- Lemon or Lime
- Fresh herbs like mint or basil
Flavor and sweet but have sugar and calories!
- Honey, Agave, Maple syrup, Molasses
- Cocoa powder
- Coconut water – not a ton of calories and has potassium in it
- Almond Milk – not a ton of calories and dairy free
- Coffee – no calories, added caffeine and quite tasty!
- Tea – use your favorite tea as your base – no calories
Grains/Starches - add some bulk and fiber
- Oats, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat and any whole, unrefined grain or starch
Want a recipe? I know I know, many of you are going to want a specific recipe for a smoothie. The truth is only you know what you want! Choose a few flavors above that you like and throw it in the blender and see how it works. You cannot really mess this up…just keep adding a bit of this and that until you get what you want. Here are some ideas of Food52 to get you started too.
Email me your favorite recipe and mix of ingredients – I want to hear!