Building the perfect smoothie
Smoothies are a delicious and refreshing way to cool down on those hot summer days and are such an easy way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables (…yes vegetables!) into your day. If you plan it out right, you can pack so much nutrition into a cup with a smoothie and they make a great breakfast, afternoon snack or post-workout recovery meal. Making the perfect smoothie isn’t difficult, but here are some helpful tips for building a healthy, satisfying (and of course delicious!) smoothie:
- Pick the fruits that are going to be the base of your smoothie
- The combinations are endless and there is no right answer when it comes to which fruits to chose.
- Bananas make smoothies extra creamy, berries add a burst of colour and flavor, pineapple and mango to make a tropical delight…whatever your heart desires!
- Using frozen fruit is a great way to add texture, thicken smoothies and make them an extra cold treat great for slurping out of a straw.
- Choose your liquid
- When it comes to choosing a liquid it is important to avoid using a liquid with extra added sugars, your fruit will be sweet enough on its own.
- Milks are a great way to add calcium, vitamin D and protein to your smoothie.
- Cow’s milk and soy beverage are the most similar in terms of calcium and vitamin D and are the highest in protein (6-8g per cup).
- Almond, coconut and rice beverage may not be fortified with the same amount of calcium and vitamin D as cow’s milk (read the food label) and have very low protein content (0-1g per cup). These beverages are perfectly fine to use in smoothies however it is just important to remember they are not equivalent to cow’s milk.
- Juices are fine to use in smoothies as well, just remember to always use 100% real fruit juice with no added sugars. However, regardless if a juice is 100% real fruit juice or not, juice is still very high in sugar and should be limited to ½ cup per day. Use milks more often or use a combination of milk and juice when creating your smoothies to cut the sugar content.
- Add some protein
- Protein is the key to keeping you feeling full for hours and helps to prevent those mid-morning munchies at work. Protein is also crucial for muscle recovery if you are having a smoothie as your post-workout snack.
- Like I said above, if you use cow’s milk or soy beverage in your smoothie, you will add a significant amount of protein.
- Add in some greek yogurt (or regular yogurt) to make your smoothie extra creamy.
- Add peanut or almond butter.
- Add some protein powder if you like. While protein powders are not necessary for reaching your protein requirements, they can be an easy way to get some protein in your smoothie. For an extra nutritional punch try out Vega, a plant-based vegan protein powder loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, probiotics, fibre and antioxidants.
- Add some healthy fats
- Healthy fats will also help to make your smoothie more filling and are important for cardiovascular health.
- Add in a tablespoon of peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter or any other nut or seed butter.
- Add in a tablespoon of chia seeds, hemp seeds, or ground flax seeds.
- Add a ¼ of an avocado for a delightfully creamy smoothie.
- Sneak in some veggies
- Yep I said it…add vegetables to your smoothies!
- Smoothies are a great way to sneak in some greens without even realizing it and they give your smoothie a great bright green colour. Call them “green monster” smoothies to your children and they will have a blast eating them!
- Check out the Green Monster Movement for tons of green monster smoothie ideas.
- Try out a big handful of baby spinach first as this is the mildest in flavour.
- Try adding pumpkin, sweet potato or butternut squash puree.
- I f you are feeling adventurous (and have a powerful blender) experiment with kale, cooked beets, carrots cucumber and more!
- Get creative
- Experiment with adding different flavours like cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, instant coffee, coconut or cocoa powder to transform your smoothies from bland to fabulous!
- Experiment with different amounts of fruit, ice and liquids to get the texture you prefer.
- Combine frozen pineapple, banana, mango, milk, unsweetened coconut, avocado and spinach for a tropical smoothie.
- Combine frozen banana, pureed pumpkin, milk, greek yogurt, cinnamon and nutmeg for a pumpkin pie smoothie.
- Combine frozen banana, milk, peanut butter and cocoa powder for a decadent smoothie delight.
- Combine frozen strawberries, blueberries, banana, soy milk, chia seeds and beets for a pretty in pink smoothie.
- Combine frozen banana, chopped carrots, almond milk and almond butter for a carrot cake smoothie.
- Combine frozen frozen banana, a chopped apple, soy milk, a dash of vanilla extract and cinnamon for an apple pie smoothie.
Classic Green Monster Smoothie
Serves 1 (about 2 cups)
1 cup milk of choice
1 ripe banana peeled and frozen overnight
2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 tablespoon chia seeds
Dash of vanilla and cinnamon
1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
2-4 ice cubes
Add ingredients to blender in order of list (liquid first, ice cubes last) and blend until smooth. Use this basic recipe as your smoothie base and change it up as you choose adding different fruits, milks, nuts, seeds and veggies!
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