Give Your Smoothies Some Oomph!
As we coast right into spring and start searching for new healthy meal ideas, everybody seems to be going right back to that easy breakfast or snack that we seem to shelve every winter: the green smoothie! We all have our tried and true recipes. However, whether you’re an aficionado or a newbie to smoothies, we have a few tips. How do you build a better smoothie?
Selecting a Base
Building a smoothie is like building anything from towers to cheerleading pyramids: you have to have a solid base. Selecting a smoothie base is a highly personal affair and depends a lot on your dietary preferences. We recommend starting with 1/2 – 3/4 cup of any sugar-free milk, instead of water. Water can often yield a smoothie that’s too, well, watery. Cow’s milk is high in protein, but almond milk is vegetarian, but oat milk is all the rage right now. Pick one! And, as I’m sure you all know, including a frozen banana gives it that “milkshake” texture with no fat and less sugar. Not to mention potassium and a little bit of fiber.
Choosing Your Greens
Kale or spinach might be your go-to, but we suggest switching up your handful of greens. Different greens have different nutrients so we recommend using a variety! Look for chard, dandelion greens or any leafy lettuce that strikes your fancy. You can also get creative and throw in the leafy tops to some of your other veggies – like beets or turnips! Our biggest recommendation here is to blend your greens into your liquid base first then include your add-ins. It helps to break the greens down better for a smoother texture. This also makes the smoothies a little more palatable for children!
Including Healthy Fats
When considering healthy meal ideas, most people concentrate on including more protein in their shakes but often overlook a good source of fat. In addition to providing a pleasant thickness and mouthfeel, an appropriate amount of fat can help you feel fuller longer. We recommend some coconut milk (even if your base isn’t coconut milk – throw in a 1/4 cup), 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of coconut oil, a tablespoon of any unsweetened nut butter or even a half an avocado! Hey – don’t knock it ’til you try it! We particularly like how avocado plays with a tart berry, like strawberries.
Any other add-ins depend on what you’re looking to supplement your diet with and can change on any given day. Looking for more protein? We suggest low-fat or fat-free yogurt or hemp seeds for a vegetarian option. For a little more fiber, add a cup of berries or a tablespoon of chia seeds. We also like flax seeds for both extra fiber and as a good source of Omega 3s. For more antioxidants, include a spoonful of raw cocoa powder, matcha powder, or even some spirulina powder! If you’re looking for a little extra sweetener outside of any fruits you’re including, we suggest a date or two (they also contribute added fiber) or a little agave syrup.
Don’t go overboard!
It is possible to go too heavy with all the smoothie fixin’s. We suggest letting 1-2 stronger flavors dominate your smoothie and keeping your total ingredients to under 8.
While we encourage you to play around, we also get that sometimes you don’t want to think about being a smoothie artist. Check out our perfect breakfast smoothie or, for something a little more exotic, our dragon fruit smoothie recipe for well-balanced, quick and healthy meals. Still too much work? No sweat! For those of you that are extra busy, simply request to add on smoothies to our prepared meal delivery service for that quick grab-and-go breakfast or snack!