After a decade of helping people learn to eat healthy in an approachable way, I have found that starting with smoothies has been the best way. Adults learning to incorporate large amounts of fruits and Dark Leafy greens into they’re diet is much like forcing kids to do the same. There are hundreds of recipes for smoothies out there, but not all are created equal. Many store bought smoothies are loaded with hidden sugars, dairy and not enough whole foods. When drinking smoothies for health, there are important guidelines and tips to follow.
TIP #1 Protein and Fiber
Include a source of Protein and Fiber into your smoothie to help keep you full and satisfied. I like Non fat Plain Greek yogurt and raw Flaxseeds. If making a Vegan smoothie omit the Greek yogurt and use Chia seeds, Hemp seeds or just Flax seeds ( insert Flax seed link to Heath Benefits). Flax is an amazing source of soluble and insoluble fiber, the richest source of Plant based Omega 3 Fatty acids and Lignans. Another source of protein would be a good quality protein powder. One that’s low in sugar, carbs and plant based. I don’t use protein powders often unless m making a smoothie for my husband. Here is the one he uses (link).
add photo off top shot of vitamix
Tip #2 Leafy Greens
Smoothies are a quick way to consume large amounts of leafy Greens into your diet with out having to eat a massive salads several times a day. Your Green smoothies should be predominately greens. 60-80% Greens is optimal. Not to worry , it seems like a lot but these greens blend down into a small amounts that can be masked with other fruits. I like using Fresh or Frozen Baby Spinach, kale and Power Greens mix from ( Costco Link). Daily consumption of Leafy greens are extremely important to our diet because they help reduce the risk of Cancer and Heart disease. They are high in fiber, Folic acid, Vitamin C, and many other Antioxidants. The amazing health benefits associated with eating leafy greens is endless and one of the most important aspects of a healthy diet.
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Tip #3 Making it tasty
The key to loving a Green smoothie is making sure it taste great. Its unlikely that you’ll make sure to drink a Super Green smoothie everyday if it tastes awful. No matter how heathy it is for you. I like a balance between sweet and sour. This can be accomplished by how you blend fruit together. In my (Meyer Lemon Tropical green Smoothie)link recipe, Pineapple brings the sweet and sour, while Mango replays on the sweet and Meyer lemon replays on the sour. I often find that Pineapple is the key ingredient for masking flavors of the greens and seeds. Pineapple is so sweet and intense with flavor but also a powerhouse of nutritional benefits. One cup of pineapple provides more then 100% of your daily recommended amount of Vitamin C. Which is a powerful antioxidant . Pineapple is also an excellent source of fiber, manganese to promote skin health, and Bromelain to help reduce inflammation in the body. Basically, Pineapples look chic, taste amazing, make you feel good and look good. No wonder this rock star of a fruit is one of my favorites. (Pineapple stock image)
Tip #4 The RIGHT equipment
I’m a huge an of Vitamix. ( link to Vitamix ) I have one, I love it and I highly recommend getting one if its in your budget. There are other high powered blenders on the market that are much smaller and will do the job just fine. However not all of them will grind down nuts, seeds and whole fruits quite as smooth. Here is the one that use ( link) . Texture plays a big roll in the drinkability of a health driven smoothie. This is why people are so apt to buy smoothies instead of making them. Gritty smoothies are really hard to chug down. Buying a high powered blender is definitely an investment in your health. I use mine nearly everyday. Its not just for smoothies. I can puree soups, ice cream bases, nut butters and milks, along with a host of other recipes.
Tip #5 Keep it Cold
Smoothies can be made using fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. I prefer using mostly frozen because a cold smoothie, especially a Green smoothie is 100 times better then a warm one ( yuck). Buying bulk frozen fruit is cheaper, and it also ensures that you will have the ingredients on hand. Fresh Leafy greens wilt and decay fast, so I often pop them in the freezer after a few days. If you happen to have a lot of fresh fruit that’s going bad, chopped it up and freeze for future smoothies. After you’ve blended your frozen ingredients together for a great smoothie, keep it cold !! Using insulted reusable cups. They are available in many stores and online. Look for ones that hold 24-32 ounces, have a tight fitting or leak proof lid and a place for straws. ( link for cups) I like using these metal straws. ( link) which are easily sanitized in the dishwasher.
Green smoothies are a wonderful way to begin the path to eating and consuming fruits and veggies in an approachable delicious way . One habit of health often leads to another. Follow these Five tips and you’ll always have a great one . Cheers and smoothie on !!!
Link to smoothie recipe