Everybody loves a good smoothie. Smoothies are the go-to drink for a quick breakfast, a post-workout meal or if you’re just being healthy. But there’s a fine line between a healthy smoothie and one that is packed with so much sugar to last you a lifetime. You can put anything you want in your smoothie, but with the right ingredients and a good blender, it can be healthy, filling and provide you with enough nutrients to last you the whole day. The key is to balance out your fruits, vegetables, protein and fat. Below is a guide on how to keep your smoothies healthy and satisfy your cravings.
Pick your smoothie
The first thing you need to do is pick your smoothie’s theme. If it’s for a post workout meal, use avocados and spinach, avoid sweeteners and use high quality protein powders. If it’s for a meal replacement, use cashews, avocados and coconut oil for protein and healthy fats. If you’re making a smoothie that helps chronic diseases, then green smoothies are the top choice. It’s recommended that people with Parkinson’s disease should drink green smoothies that have kale, spinach, broccoli and kiwi along with mannitol as a sugar substitute. Recent studies have shown that adding mannitol for Parkinson’s disease patients actually improves functionality. If you’re trying to lose weight and stay healthy overall, then your smoothie needs to include fruits and vegetables that are not high in sugar. Consider berries, avocados, matcha and kale.
Choose the liquid and base
Every smoothie needs a liquid or thick base first to make it rich. The quantity is according to your liquid thickness preference. You can add water, but completely avoid high fructose fruit juices; the fruit you’re using is enough. Go with a dairy base like milk, yogurt or dairy-free with coconut, soy or almond milk. You can also use green tea as a base as well as oatmeal, and either avocados or bananas for a thicker base. Another option for a creamy smoothie is natural nut butters like almond, cashew or peanut butter.
Pick out the right fruits and vegetables
This is where you can get creative by mixing your favorite fruits and veggies together. Use green veggies like watercress, kale, spinach, or zucchini to fight cravings and lose weight. For a fun and healthy fruit smoothie, consider mixing apples with cranberries, pineapples with coconut and peaches, all the berries together, or go exotic with mango, kiwi and grapes. The mixing options are endless!
Sweeten with caution
One of the reasons why it’s healthier to make a smoothie at home instead of buying one is because cafes tend to overly sweeten the smoothie and it loses all its health benefits. So, since you are making it at home, it’s better to avoid artificial sweeteners or sugar and sweeten naturally instead. Use dates, honey, natural maple syrup or coconut water to give you sweeter taste and enrich you with vitamins as well.
Additional add-ons and what to avoid
You can always spice up your smoothie with cinnamon as it truly enhances the flavor. You can also use nutmeg, vanilla and ginger or chia seeds for healthy fats or raw cacao powder for a rich chocolate taste. Don’t use store-bought cocoa powder though, because it lost its benefits during processing. Also avoid flavored yogurts and fruit juices or canned fruit for their preservatives and high fructose, whipped cream or ice cream for the heavy fat content, as well as any syrup.
Creating a good and tasty smoothie is an art form that’s yet to be explored in your kitchen. As long as you’re using the right ingredients, and avoiding any processed or fatty food, then your smoothie will be healthy, beneficial and will give you an energy boost throughout your day. Befriend your blender and get creative with exotic tastes by blending veggies and fruits you never thought to pair together, thus creating a nutritious and delicious smoothie.