Updated: Jun 3
Who can deny the benefits of a smoothie with all that good nutrition and flavour, packed into a cool creamy drink! Besides the health benefits - makes you feel full, controls cravings, a good source of antioxidants, protein, fibre and fat, easy to digest and can help with weight, cholesterol and blood sugar management, let’s not forget, smoothies are unbelievably easy to make and absolutely delicious!
No need for special green or protein powders. It’s easy to find smoothie ingredients at the grocery store purchasing whole foods, real foods, superfoods! Inexpensive to make and super easy to clean-up if you rinse your blender right after use.
No excuses for skipping meals. You can prep ahead by putting all the ingredients (except the liquid) into individual freezer bags or mason jars. Throw them in the fridge or freezer to pull out for easy use (yes - spinach freezes well). Breakfast on the go! Easily portable they can be sipped while working, doing another activity or driving in the car, with enough protein and energy to keep you going until lunch. It’s also a simple way to refuel during the day or when you have no time to cook. Whip one up in minutes to replace a meal.
Putting ingredients together in the right combinations, smoothies are soooo delicious! Absolutely refreshing they can even taste like a treat, yet still jammed packed with nutrition. The combinations and possibilities are endless: glorious green smoothies (spinach or kale), berry smoothies, immune boosting smoothies (kefir, ginger, turmeric, kiwi, orange), ones that taste like your favourite Starbucks drink (mocha frappuccino, green tea/matcha, pumpkin chai) or even mimic your favourite dessert - carrot cake or apple pie.
Dietitian’s Favourite Additions - Great ways to optimize your smoothie:
Antioxidant boosters - Unsweetened cocoa powder (high in antioxidants and flavour) and cinnamon (lowers blood sugar), fresh or powdered ginger or turmeric (reduces inflammation), berries
Protein boosters - Chia seed, hemp hearts (high fibre), soy milk or cow's milk, spoonful of nut butter (peanut butter or almond butter), skim milk powder
Vegetables - Spinach, cooked beets, cooked carrots, cucumber (and fresh lemon)
For and extra thick and creamy smoothie - Plain Greek yogurt (freeze in ice-cube trays), ½ a frozen banana or ice
Fibre - 1 or 2 large spoonfuls of raw oats, oat bran or ground flax seeds, wheat germ (soluble fibre to keep you full longer, cholesterol lowering and manage blood sugars)
Tips for Cutting Down on Sugar and Calories
Don’t overload the fruit, especially bananas which are high in sugar - Dietitian favourites choice is any kind of berries (especially raspberries) - high in antioxidants, fibre and low in sugar. Frozen ones work well. Watch out for pre-made smoothies such as Happy Plant (loaded with natural fruit sugar, read the label, 5 g sugar = 1 teaspoon sugar).
Avoid fruit juice - Choose low calorie liquid options such as almond milk, unsweetened coconut water, chilled chai tea (Tazo Organic), fruity teas, brewed coffee; or use water instead.
Add sweetness to your smoothie with flavour enhancers instead of sugar, honey or maple syrup - Use stevia powder or drops, “Whole Earth” sweetener (made from stevia, monk fruit and sorbitol), pure vanilla extract or other sugar free extracts, (mmmhh peppermint mint), throw in some fresh basil or mint from the garden, 2 pitted dates or a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg or cardamom.
References - Resources - Smoothie recipes: