Smoothies (especially green ones) are a hot topic in the health world right now. Honestly, I cannot say enough about these creamy, satisfying concoctions. Why all the hype? Should you consider adding them to your menu? Are smoothies just a trend or are there real health benefits involved?
Let’s break it down, starting with a simple list of why smoothies can be a very nutritious option!
- Simple and easy to prepare, with little cleanup time
- Provide good fiber for digestion and sweeping away toxins
- Balance your blood sugar and pH (alkalizing your body)
- A great way to add good fats and quality protein in your diet
- Super versatile (let your creative juices flow!)
- Provide a nice break for your digestive system
- Wonderful post-workout, as a healthy travel food, a quick breakfast or afternoon snack
- Natural support for cleansing and detoxification
Most of us awake quite dehydrated in the morning, and smoothies can provide an amazing blast of hydration after a night of sleep. They are also a fabulous way to ease your digestive system into motion for the day, supporting your body with consistent fuel and energy.
In my opinion, making a smoothie is the simplest way to include a diversity of whole food ingredients effortlessly into my diet, especially vegetables (and who doesn’t need that?)! The combinations are endless, using different fruits, leafy greens, herbs, healthy fats and various protein sources. You can flood your body with amazing nutrition and satisfy your taste buds simultaneously.
If your children won’t touch anything green, smoothies are a magical way to sneak veggies past their palates. Trust me, they won’t taste the spinach that you blended into that delicious raspberry smoothie.
Now, keep in mind, there are certainly ways to turn this healthy option into one that can cause inflammation and blood sugar imbalance in your body, like sugar-loading with too much fruit and not enough vegetables. For any new passengers on the green smoothie train, here is a simple 4-step “how to” to get you started.
#1 Choose a liquid base (1-2 cups depending on the size and desired thickness)
- Purified water
- Nut milk (i.e., almond, coconut, or cashew)
- Coconut water (good source of electrolytes and very hydrating)
#2 Fruit and veggie time! Slowly increase the amount of vegetables over time, eventually aiming for a 3:1 ratio of veggies to fruit.
- Low glycemic fruits are ideal (raising your blood sugar the least)
- Berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries)
- Green apples
- Grapefruit and oranges
- Bananas add lovely creaminess but are higher in sugar
- Lemon (cuts the flavor of stronger-tasting green leafies)
- Sneak in plenty of veggies for vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and antioxidants
- Spinach, kale, romaine and green leaf lettuce, mixed greens, and Swiss chard
- Cucumber, zucchini, carrots, and even broccoli
- Avocado (for extra creaminess and good fats)
#3 The Extras… protein, superfoods, and fats!
- Choosing a protein powder can be quite overwhelming, as there are so many available these days. Try to avoid genetically modified ingredients (GMOs), fillers, and heavily processed soy protein (like soy protein isolate). My preference is a plant-based protein with some dehydrated greens mixed in.
- Nut butters, like almond, peanut, cashew, or walnut. Buy organic when possible and read the ingredients, avoiding any added oils and sugars.
- Healthy fat options include chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, shredded coconut, and coconut oil.
- Take your smoothie to the next level with super foods (cacao, greens powder, maca, spirulina, goji berries, cinnamon, aloe vera, Matcha green tea, turmeric, or ginger).
#4 Blend, and enjoy the goodness! Any quality blender will do, but a high-speed blender works wonders! The Vitamix is my go-to, but there are several quality blenders on the market now.
“Knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the bones.” ~The Asaro Tribe
Let’s put this knowledge into practice with a tasty, nutritious smoothie recipe. Be sure to scope out Mindful Dine for more smoothie inspiration!
Creamy Dreamy Green Smoothie
1-2 frozen bananas (add a few ice cubes if not frozen)
2 tablespoons almond butter
1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
2-3 handfuls of spinach
1 tablespoon ground flax seed
½ teaspoon spirulina powder (optional)
Splash of vanilla
1 scoop protein powder of choice
1 cup nut milk
1 cup filtered water