By Sophia Power, BA Media, BHScNutMed
Who doesn’t love a smoothie as an easy meal or breakfast? They’re quick, easy and delicious - but are they really that healthy for you? That all depends on how they’re built.
Smoothies have the power to be one of the most nutritionally balanced and healthy meals of the day, but they can also be a blood sugar spiking bomb if they’re made with too much fruit or sweetener. So, how do you make your smoothies filling, nutrient-dense and still delicious enough to want them every day? Keep reading to find out how to build a nutritionally balanced smoothie.
#1: Add veggies
Many smoothies run the risk of being too high in sugar - packing in fruit may seem healthy but can lead to glucose spikes throughout the day. Vegetables, on the other hand, are full of fibre and low on sugar - this helps stabilise blood sugar, keeps you feeling fuller for longer due to the fibre and adds lots of vitamins and minerals too.
Try adding some cooked and cooled pumpkin, frozen zucchini or cauliflower (this adds so much creaminess, trust me) a handful of baby spinach or cos lettuce.
#2: Choose your fats
Don’t skip the fat! Fats, such as a tablespoon of nut butter, coconut yoghurt, flaxseed oil, chia seeds, macadamia nuts or a quarter of an avocado will make your smoothie so satisfying - to your palate and your belly.
#3: Pick a protein
Protein is essential for basically every function of the body. Protein can be in the form of nuts, seeds such as ground flaxseed, LSA, chia or hemp seeds, full-fat Greek yoghurt - or add your favourite protein powder. If you’re not sure why protein is so important or which protein powder is right for you, check out this article.
Non-dairy milk options like almond, cashew or oat are all great options. Organic full-cream milk can be added if you know you can digest dairy. I use half non-dairy milk and half filtered water as the creaminess from yoghurt is usually enough.
#5: Now add fruit
Think of adding a smaller amount of fruit for sweetness and flavour, rather than as the “base” of your smoothie. Add half a cup of frozen mixed berries, half a banana or a few slivers of mango. Fruit is your sweetener, so skip the honey or maple syrup.
#6: Add a crunchy topping
This is one of my favourite tips for smoothie lovers. Crunchy toppings automatically remind you to chew - something that helps to ensure you’re letting your digestive system know that it has a job to do.
Some of my favourite options to sprinkle on top of a smoothie include:
- Cacao nibs
- Hemp seeds
- Chia seeds
- Unsweetened coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- Bee pollen
- Flaked almonds.
Smoothies are such a great meal option for busy people or anyone who doesn’t like to make a big fuss in the kitchen. Following a structure when it comes to how you make your smoothies will mean that you get a big boost of nutrients and stay full for hours.