SMOOTHIE BREAKDOWN: A How To Guide To The Perfect Smoothie
By: Maria Viall CHHP, CNP, ROHP
Smoothies are all the rage these days and have been touted by many as a healthy addition to your diet. For many, it is an easy way to get a large amount of their daily nutrients from fruit and vegetables that they wouldn’t eat separately or on their own. Others simply find it a filling and easy prep meal especially for those with busy schedules.
However, smoothies can have a downside to them when not done properly. What may start out as a health driven blender meal can quickly turn into a calorie-laden milkshake that has more sugar than health benefits.
When smoothies are done right, they consist of simple but necessary ingredients. Here is a break down to the anatomy of a healthy smoothie:
Fruits and Vegetables WITH THE SKIN
Not only does this increase the amount of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytogens ingested but it also means all of the fiber is intact and consumed. Fiber slows down digestion, which keeps you feeling fuller longer. It is also beneficial as it improves elimination and helps keep blood sugars stable throughout the day.
Fat helps improve absorption of fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E & K. It also keeps you more satiated and is a longer lasting source of fuel for the body. Most healthy fats contain anti-inflammatory Omega 3s that are beneficial to skin, hair and hormone health.
Protein keeps blood sugar levels stable and can help avoid carb cravings or crashing later in the day. Proteins are building blocks of our body and are essential in muscle repair, especially after a workout or injury.
Water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk are all healthy options to help blend all of the ingredients together.
- Kitchen sink smoothies: putting too many things into a smoothie can compromise digestion and be hard on the stomach.
- Making a milkshake type of smoothie that is loaded with sugar.
- Using only fruit. This makes it high in sugar without anything helping stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Not adding in a source of healthy fat.
- Poor protein powders: most protein powders are full of additives, sugar, artificial flavors and colors, as well as poor quality sources of protein.
Tips For The Perfect Smoothie
- Choose only 1-2 servings of fruit for your smoothie.
- ALWAYS include 1-2 large handfuls of vegetables (spinach, celery, romaine, cucumber, beets etc.)
- 1-2 scoops Tera’s Whey Grassfed Protein Powder (my favorite are the Organic Bourbon Vanilla and Plain Goat)
- Choose 1 source of healthy fat: 1/2 avocado, 1 tbsp nut butter, hemp hearts, coconut oil or ground flaxseed or 1 tsp chia seeds.
- Use water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk for the base.
Merry Berry Smoothie
1 cup mixed berries (fresh or frozen)
2 scoops tera’swhey Organic Bourbon Vanilla Protein Powder
1/4 cup mango (fresh or frozen)
1 handful of spinach
1 stalk celery
1 thumb piece size of ginger
Unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
1 tbsp ground flax or 1 tsp chia seeds
- Add coconut/almond milk to the bottom of blender first. You can also use water instead.
- Add the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until smooth.
- Add water to thin out if needed.