The smoothie – it’s a drink that can be either friend or foe to our waistlines and health. With hundreds of ingredients (acai, cacao nubs, flaxseeds) and supplements (vegan protein powder, spirulina, omega-3 oil) to choose from, it’s no wonder that smoothie-making has become so complicated. So what’s the secret to making a healthy smoothie that also tastes good?
Despite the somewhat dizzying ingredient list – that can quickly turn into a 1,000 calorie smoothie with a loaded amount of sugar and absolutely zero percent chance of keeping you full – there is a formula that you can apply when building smoothies. Whether it’s for a meal replacement or snack, it’s important to include key building blocks that will keep you fuller, longer. So before you hit that blender switch, remember these essential ingredients:
1) Protein: Anything from yogurt to quinoa and oats can serve as a protein building block. For protein powder, the SunWarrior Brand uses a plant-based protein powder that’s organic, vegan, raw, dairy free, soy free, and gluten free. Adding protein to a smoothie helps cells repair and keeps your metabolism and digestion at its optimum level.
2) Fiber: Try adding some of your favorite leafy greens (think kale and spinach) to your daily smoothie, or even substitute in chia, hemp, or flaxseeds. Fiber helps slow the digestion process so that you won’t crash from a sugar spike an hour later.
3) Fat: First things first… not all fat is made the same! Our bodies need healthy fat, such as those found in avocado or nut butter, to not only keep full, but studies show that Omega-3 fatty acids may also reduce blood pressure.
4) Flavor: Finally, there’s the flavor (this is where the sugar comes in). Frozen fruit such as pineapples, cherries, and berries are easy additions that can be stored in your freezer and be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
One of my favorite smoothie attributes is that you can customize your drink to suit your individual taste. From creating a chocolate banana smoothie that’s packed with spinach to recreating a version of a cherry pie that’s packed with antioxidants, fiber, and far less sugar, smoothies are easy additions to hectic mornings.
Below are two smoothie recipes for you to try: One is a personal favorite and the other comes from one of my favorite New Jersey juice bars. Both smoothies are packed with all of the essential building blocks to get your morning started on the right foot, because we know that when we make good decisions in the morning, the rest of the day turns out great too!
Pineapple Glow Smoothie:
A good friend of mine showed me a variation of this smoothie and I’ve turned it into something that I love to drink, especially on those mornings when I’m feeling a little sluggish. Don’t be afraid to put your own magic touches on it to make it your own.
½ cup frozen or fresh pineapple
1 handful fresh spinach or ½ cup frozen spinach
½ cup cooked oats
¼ cup plain Kefir or Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon whole ginger
1 teaspoon flax seed
12 oz. water
Blend and enjoy!
Peachy-Keen Breakfast Smoothie:
“This smoothie has tons of great benefits to kick start your day,” Téa O’Connor, owner of Dr!nk Juicebar in Long Branch, told me. “It contains nutrient-packed protein, will help improve digestion, balance your hormones, keep you hydrated, and is high in antioxidants and immunities.”
1 fresh peach
1/2 large frozen banana
1 handful of fresh kale leaves
1 scoop plant-based vanilla protein powder
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 teaspoon chia seed
1 teaspoon freshly ground flax seed
1 teaspoon or more raw almond butter
12 oz. coconut water
1 teaspoon or less honey
Blend and enjoy!
Looking to step up your kitchen game? Click Here to see Best of NJ’s Top Recipes & Kitchen Tips!
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