I’m often asked about my thoughts on protein shakes. I don’t really love the idea of a “meal replacement” with anything that comes in a powder or bar form. One of the way you can maximize the nutrition you get from food is with smoothies. Smoothies are a really great way to pack in a lot of nutrients all at once. Smoothies are also good for your digestive system because your body doesn’t have to work so hard to break down the food to absorb the nutrients. Smoothies are one of the best ways to consume a variety of different fruits and vegetables at one time. They are quick, easy, refreshing and great for taking on the go, and one of those things that the whole family can customize and enjoy. The combinations are endless and getting children involved in choosing their ingredients, is a fun way to get them involved in their health.
The biggest mistake people make is to get carried away with adding lots of fruits, that are high in sugar and calories. Even too much natural sugar is not good for you. These smoothies taste really good but keep in mind that you’re basically just drinking LOTS of sugar-filled calories. Remember, if you have too much sugar, artificial or natural, it gets stored as fat in your body. So, when experimenting with recipes, limit the fruit or remove it all together when you can. Your smoothie should NEVER have more fruits than veggies. Other things you want to stay away from when making your smoothy is cow’s milk, fruit juice, yogurt, and sweeteners. Those items don’t add to the nutritional content and only tack on the calories. Maybe the smoothies you’re used to are more dessert-like, so this will take a little mental conditioning. For the kiddos try gradually increasing the greens to fruit ratio as their pallet adjusts to the taste.
When it comes to keeping your smoothies healthy and nutrient-rich, it’s all about the greens and the add-ins. Just like with anything, it’s about making good choices. The greens you put in the smoothies are full of vitamins and fiber. So they stick with you and keep you full and provide the substance you need to keep going throughout the day. Try making a green smoothie loaded with some healthy veggies, good fats (like avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds or almond butter), and antioxidant-rich fruit (think berries). The added healthy fats and fiber help slow down the sugar absorption in your body from the fruits.
The 5 Parts of a great smoothie
- Choose the liquid – water, coconut, or a dairy-free milk
- Choose your greens – kale, spinach, parsley, swiss chard, collards, or lettuce
- Choose your fruit – banana, apple, berries, mango, or leave out the fruit
- Choose your fat/protein – hemp seed, hemp protein, nut butters, avocado, coconut oil, flax or chia seeds
- Add a superfood – maca, raw cacao, bee pollen, shredded coconut, goji berries, camu camu, or any other of your choosing
To make this more convenient, pre-pack your smoothie fixins in freezer bags. Portion out your greens and fruit in individual baggies. When you are ready to enjoy a smoothie just grab a bag from the freezer, the veggies/fruit act as ice, so all you have to add is your fat/protein and liquid. Remember to keep your liquid unsweetened to avoid the extra sugar load. I like to use unsweetened almond milk in most of my smoothie recipes.
I have a smoothie freebie for you Click Here to Download. It has all you’ve ever wanted to know about smoothies, plus lots of awesome recipes. Mix and change them up however you like them best!! Get the kids involved and enjoy!
Smoothies are chocked full of nutrients and fuel your body! Eating to fuel your body is how you access the rocket fuel energy to accomplish more in your life and enjoy it to the max. Imagine ditching the bags under your eyes and having the energy to get everything done, work out, and laugh that hard belly laugh that makes your cheeks hurt!
Happy Smoothie Making!
PS What’s your favorite smoothie recipe? Head over to the Busy and Healthy Moms Facebook group and tell us your “got to” add in combinations.