Smoothies are all the rage these days, and for good reason. Drinks made from wholesome, blended ingredients provide an easy and delicious and energizing way to boost your fruit and veggie intake.
However, not all smoothies are created equal. Beverages purchased from big chains often contain a ton of fruit, juice, sweetened powders, even ice cream—loading your “healthy” smoothie with a ton of calories, and more sugar than you’re supposed to eat for the entire day!
To keep your health smoothly sailing, we suggest you make your own blended fruit and veggie drinks at home. Consult the following Do’s and Don’ts to get the most nutrition and flavour out of your smoothie, and scroll to the bottom to find our step-by-step smoothie making guide.
- Green up your drink!
Get some veggie servings down the hatch by boosting your smoothie with greens! Spinach and mixed greens make awesome additions, adding fiber and nutrients without changing your smoothie’s flavor. Experienced smoothie-drinkers should try stronger-tasting greens like kale and Swiss chard; they may be more potent flavor-wise, but they also pack an amazing nutritional punch.
- Chill out with frozen fruit.
Smoothies are tastier when cold, and frozen fruit does the trick much better than ice, which can water down your drink. Frozen berries, cherries, mango, pineapple, and bananas are all delicious when blended. Just make sure the fruit you choose does not contain any added sugars, preservatives, or artificial flavors.
- Fatten it up!
Adding a small source of healthy, all-natural fat to your smoothie can enrich its texture and flavor, and help you absorb more of its nutrients. Unsalted nuts, unsalted and unsweetened nut butters, seeds, avocado and coconut oil are all excellent and delicious options for boosting your smoothie. Make sure not to overdo it though, fats are high in calories, after all. One tablespoon of nut butter and oil, two tablespoons of whole nuts and seeds, and ¼ avocado are all appropriate amounts to add to your blast.
- Use fruit juice.
Fruit juice contains a ton of sugar and no fiber to help your process it. Since you’ll most likely be putting real fruit in your smoothie, skip the juice and choose water, unsweetened almond/coconut/cashew milk, or unsweetened coconut water as your liquid component.
- Pile on any old protein powder.
While some protein powders are made with high quality ingredients, others are loaded with sugar and chemicals. If you choose to add protein powder, make sure it is the right kind. We recommend dairy-free powders made from pea, hemp, and other healthy plants. Ditch anything that contains ingredients you can’t pronounce, or any that contain more than half the amount of protein in sugar.
Making the Perfect Smoothie – An Easy How-To Guide
Still lost? No worries! We know incorporating smoothies into your daily diet is a huge first step in the healthy eating process. It can be overwhelming, for sure! Well, we’re here to simplify it. Follow these easy steps to make your perfect smoothie, every time.
1. Fill ½ of your blending cup with leafy greens. These can include spinach, mixed greens, kale, Swiss chard, beet greens, lettuce, and more.
2. Add 1 piece of large, whole fruit (apple, orange, pear, banana) cut into chunks or 1 cup of small fruit (cherries, berries) or pre-cut frozen fruit.
3. Add some fat! 1-2 Tbsp of healthy fat, including nut butter, nuts, seeds, avocado, or oil will add nutrients and give your smoothie a creamy consistency.
4. Boost your mix! Add spices and herbs to taste: fresh basil, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and cacao powder are delicious options.
5. Finally, add 1 ½ cups of low-sugar liquid. Avoid fruit juice! Use water, unsweetened almond milk, coconut water, or other unsweetened nut milk alternatives.
That’s it! Blend, and enjoy! Pick your favorite greens and fruits for a smoothie you’ll absolutely love.
Now that’s a good-looking (and tasting) drink!
Original Article here.