With all of the nutrients and healthy probiotics, smoothies are really nothing short of a superfood- if (and only if) you make them right.
Use natural, plain yogurt as the base of your smoothie recipes
The thought of this might make you gag; I know a lot of people are not huge fans of plain yogurt. The good news is that while the benefits are significant (way, way less sugar, lessened likelihood of additives), it really doesn’t take a lot of work to make plain yogurt taste as delicious as any sweetened vanilla yogurt. Try plain yogurt as your base- all you need to do is add a few splashes of vanilla flavoring and you will hardly be able to tell the difference, especially once all of the fruit is blended in. If that still doesn’t do the trick for you, add a tablespoon of honey. The honey is a natural and much more stable carbohydrate source than most other options.
Add healthy fats to your smoothies with peanut butter or avocado
Smoothies can be high in carbohydrate but low on fats, depending on what kinds of ingredients you have tossed into your blender. Fat, especially heart healthy fats, should not be avoided, even if you are “dieting”. In fact, moderate amounts of dietary fat can help you feel full longer, which works in favor of someone who is trying to drop weight.
Especially if you are using smoothies as whole meal substitutes, you should try and include some kind of fat; one, so that you wont be hungry again in 15 minutes, and two, so that your body gets a well rounded diet so that it can function properly.
Peanut butter is an easy way to add a bit of fat to your drink and stave off hunger. Avocado is another example and if you’ve never tried a slice of it in your smoothies.
Don’t add any extra sugar (no fake sweeteners, either!)
The trick to making blends that don’t taste as if they need sweetening is largely in finding the right combinations of fruits, veggies, yogurts and/or juices.
Think of avoiding excess sugar in the way that you avoid excess salt; look to different, more nutritious sources for flavoring. A great example of a spice that compliments most drinks is cinnamon. Not only are you eradicating the need for less than healthy flavor additives, cinnamon itself has a wealth of health benefits, including lowering “bad” LDL cholesterol levels, regulating blood sugar, and providing anti-inflammatory compounds.
Be creative; use a variety of fresh and frozen fruits
Get creative with your recipes. Buy fruits that are in season and freeze them for use at a later date, if that’s what it takes to introduce variety to your recipes. Frozen fruit is actually a great option as well, as the fruit is often frozen at it’s nutritional peak. Here’s a tip for healthy smoothies regarding frozen fruit; make sure that it’s just fruit. Avoid frozen fruits that have been sweetened in order to avoid excess sugars and extra calories.
If you use a juice base for your blends, be picky
If you prefer a juice based smoothie recipe, be sure to choose juices that are real fruit juice. Sugary, syrupy mixes can end up canceling out some of the regular health benefits of smoothies.
Smoothies can be so delicious; with these tips, they’re also incredibly nutritious.