Smoothies have become awfully versatile over the years. In addition to being a succulent dessert and a post workout slam, they are also quite the photogenic model on social media.
But a smoothie's talents don't end there! The benefits contained in that blended bundle of goodness are so tremendous, that it is encouraged to replace 1 meal a day with a smoothie. That's right, swap the eggs and bacon with a delicious blended delight and watch the magic happen.
So what is the secret behind smoothie greatness? How can you improve your smoothie-making skills? What ingredients should you use to maximize your smoothie experience?
Whether you're new to smoothies and simply looking for the motivation to try, or you're a smoothie master searching for some new ideas to blend with your own, you've come to the right place to get all your questions answered and more!
Maybe you're comfortable with your eating habits. You like your granola, your sandwiches, your pastas and you have your occasional salad. Why switch it up now?
Smoothies can improve your health, your lifestyle and overall well being. And that's just the beginning. I could go on all day listing the advantages! However, as you probably don't have all day to weed through all there is to know, I will limit myself to the top 5.
Depending on your age and gender, you should be getting about 2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day. In today's world full of fats, fried foods, salts, grains, meat, etc., achieving this goal can be harder than it seems.
But it becomes a lot easier when you can mix and match a couple servings in the blender and let them slide smoothly down your throat. Fresh produce you don't even have to chew through and you can check the fruits and veggies right off your daily list!
We've all experienced kitchen disasters. Pork chops left long enough in the oven to bake to a blackened mess. Chicken soup so salty no amount of extra broth could save it. Carrot cake that's a little more like carrot pudding than it was supposed to be.
But when the whole point of a recipe is to be a mess of ingredients blended into a delicious meal, you really can't go wrong! You chop, you throw the ingredients in, you press go and viola! You're good to go.
Most meals typically hit high on the calorie intake scale. This is why replacing one meal a day with a fruit-and-veggie-filled smoothie is a great way to get all the needed vitamins, minerals and fats and keep things low on the calorie scale!
Also, since your blender has already done half the work your body normally does during the digestive process, your body will thank you with a healthy digestive system and you can direct that extra energy towards other things!
As much fun as it is to stay in all day watching Netflix from your pile of tissues, no one likes a cold.
You can keep sicknesses at bay by strengthening your immune system with blended fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. And the money you saved from not having to pay for cough drops and doctor visits can be used for your smoothie ingredients!
Food is fuel for the body. And the best kind of fuel is healthy carbohydrates, which you can get from the fruits and veggies in your daily smoothie!
Healthy carbohydrates can help regulate your energy as you need it throughout the day, which can help get rid of those mid-afternoon crashes.
Now that we've talked about the benefits, lets get into the technicalities of a smoothie. No two smoothies are the same and each one speaks to specific needs. Some common smoothie types are green smoothies, fruit smoothies and protein smoothies.
Green smoothies are a combination of leafy greens and fruits. They are also generally dairy free with juice or water as the liquid base.
A green smoothie is a great choice of daily blended delight, because dark, leafy greens are about the most healthy things you can find on earth. Although you can get your greens in salad form, you're a lot more likely to consume those much needed portions when they can be sipped instead of crunched.
Fruit smoothies have a liquid base of water, juice or milk, mixed with - you guessed it - fruit! This smoothie can be a meal replacement or an afternoon energy boost, but most often it's a tasty offering to satisfy that sweet tooth.
If you're looking for an smoothie for your daily routine, this may not be your best choice. Because fruits contain so much sugar, fruit smoothies can give you more than your wanted calories and also spike your blood sugar. But if you're looking for a healthy dessert option, then a fruit smoothie is definitely the way to go!
A protein smoothie is a blend of fruits and veggies high in protein. It's also common to add a protein powder to give it an extra boost. This is a great option for a meal replacement, because protein is a lot of what your body looks for in a meal.
A great time for a protein smoothie is right after a work out. Your body can use the help rebuilding muscles, which they need protein to do. Protein smoothies are also a great option right before bed and right after you wake up. Your body could put the protein to good use by building up for or recovering from those 8 hours without food!
Making a meal replacement shake is doable, but does require a little planning, just like most things in life. If you plan on drinking a shake instead of eating a regular meal, it is important to include the appropriate nutrients, including the proper amounts your body needs. Let’s talk about each nutrient individually…
Near the end I will give you a template for making your own shakes. I am all about EASE, because like you, I’m busy. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back. :)
What do you want to use as liquid for your meal replacement shake? Good, old fashioned clean water is always an option! If the ingredients you add are flavorful and creamy enough, then sometimes water will do the job just fine. If you’re looking for something a little more dense than water, then we would suggest the following:
How much liquid should you include in your smoothie? Generally 1-2 cups is plenty, but you can always add more if needed for consistency.
Proteins are long chains of amino acids that make up 20% of your muscles, tissues and cells. There are 20 amino acids, nine of which are considered “essential” because the body cannot create them; they must be absorbed from the food you eat or supplemented.
There are many vegetables and seeds and even some fruits that contain all 9 essential amino acids. We consider the following three plant-proteins to be the most superior, nutrient-dense choices:
If you are replacing a meal with a smoothie, aim to include 15-20 grams of protein per serving.
Vitamins and minerals are important ingredients in any shake that will be replacing a meal. If you add a good amount of fruits, vegetables and leafy greens to your shake, then you should be in good shape. Consider choosing from the following:
These foods tend to work the best in a shake when compared to other fruits and veggies, but feel free to experiment as you like to find new flavors and textures.
Fats are extremely important to a healthy diet! Healthy fats are a major fuel source for your body and are also the main way you store energy. You need fat to help you absorb other nutrients, like fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K as well as antioxidants.
Fats are also used for cell structure and support healthy nerve, brain and heart function. Despite the 90’s craze (which was based on a myth) that taught you to avoid anything with fat, do NOT run away from fat! Instead, focus on filling your diet (and your meal replacement shake!) with healthy, energizing and remedying fat sources.
Is there a type of fat to avoid? Yes - TRANS FAT. This is an artificial fat found in fast foods, processed snacks/food and hydrogenated oils.
Here are several sources of good, healthy fats that you can and should include in your shakes/smoothies:
Not only are these beneficial to your health, but they will also make your shakes and smoothies more flavorful and creamy!
Most of these extra carbohydrates can be added to your shakes raw, but if you want to aid digestion and make the ingredients easier to blend, then prepare them as follows:
The following will make 1 serving of an appropriate meal replacement DIY shake/smoothie:
You can experiment with different combinations to see what tastes the best to you. I like to find several different versions that I like so I can rotate them throughout the week.
And just to make things EVEN EASIER, I've compiled some smoothie ingredients and recipes that are even more specific to your needs. For each category, I've listed the best ingredients for the smoothie type and included a recipe putting those ingredients to work.
Ingredients to use for weight loss:
Green Machine Smoothie
Minty Protein Slim Shake
Ingredients to use for high blood pressure:
Blueberry Heart-Healthy Smoothie
Ingredients to use for energy:
Ingredients to use for a hangover:
Ingredients to use for diabetes:
Ingredients to use for the flu:
Ingredients to use for when you're sick:
Ingredients to use for when you're pregnant:
Mom And Baby Smoothie
Ingredients to use for diarrhea:
Stomach Soothing Smoothie
Smoothies are great for before and after a work out. They're easy to make, soft on the digestive system, offer a great way to get the protein you need to build your muscle back up and the carbs you need to keep your energy soaring and antioxidants to help with any inflammation or cell damage. They're also great for weight loss, because smoothies can fill you up without giving you too many calories.
Almond Banana Joy
I'm Beet Slim Shake
Blue Banana Yum
Peach Almond Bliss
Vanilla Superfood Post Workout Shake
Pineapple Papaya Heaven
A smoothie bowl is basically what it sounds like. A smoothie served in a bowl and eaten with a spoon due to the thicker consistency. It is also commonly served with toppings such as seeds, nuts, oats, or fruit slices. Smoothie bowls are a bonus, because rather than quickly gulping them down, you can take more time to enjoy them and the thickness of it can help you to feel more full afterward.
Acai Berry Smoothie Bowl
Beet And Cranberry Smoothie Bowl
Green Smoothie Bowl
Smoothies. Aren't they just incredible? They're your remedy, energy boost, work out buddy, meal replacement and all in less than 10 minutes of tossing and blending! So what are you waiting for? Pull out your ingredients, dust off your blender and get sipping!
Remember, we're in this together.
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