Last week I talked about turning your green smoothie into a meal replacement. This week I would like to give you a few tips and a formula for turning your smoothie into the perfect, healthy meal.
To start let’s review on how to make a healthy and filling smoothie; you want to focus on including the following five things:
1. Leafy Greens
Greens are king in smoothies! There are many varieties to choose from and each one packs its own nutritious punch. Greens are nutrient-dense, meaning they have more nutrients than calories. Nutrients include vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and magnesium. When you add greens to your smoothie, it’s not only providing crucial vitamins and minerals, but also fiber.
Options for greens to add in your smoothies include but are not limited to kale, spinach, romaine, arugula, cilantro, parsley, and microgreens. Have fun and try experimenting using different leafy greens.
Fruit is underrated as a source of fuel in smoothies. Fruit contains essential nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamin C. Fruit is also a major source of glucose, which is necessary for proper brain function, as glucose is the main source of fuel for the brain. Brain fuel is important, and including fruit in your breakfast smoothie will help feed your brain to tackle the day ahead.
Some great options for the fruit to include in your smoothie are blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, mango, banana, apple, pear, orange, pineapple, peach, and papaya. Switch up what fruits you use to get the largest variety of vitamins and minerals as each fruit have its own unique health properties.
Protein is a must in smoothies, as it increases satiety, which helps prevent you from feeling hungry 30 minutes after you drink your smoothie. Adding protein to your smoothies not only helps to keep you full but also provides amino acids that are necessary for energy balance and longevity.
There are many ways you can add protein to your smoothies. Clean protein powders like hemp, rice, or pea protein are options. You can also incorporate different nuts and seeds like almonds, hemp, chia, or pumpkin seeds. Nut butter like natural peanut butter, sunflower seed butter or almond butter also provides protein.
Added fiber in smoothies does wonders for digestive health and keeping your system regular. Fiber comes in two types: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps keep you fuller longer, and insoluble fiber is beneficial for cleansing the digestive tract and eliminating constipation. Fiber also plays a role in satiety so your smoothie will keep you fuller longer.
The good news is that a couple of the smoothie items listed above contains plenty of fiber! Leafy greens and fruit have fiber. You can incorporate additional fiber by adding foods like celery, cucumber, ground flaxseed, chia seeds, or psyllium husk to increase the fiber content even more.
Should fat go in a smoothie? Definitely! Omega-3 fatty acids have been found to play an important role in brain health, including reducing the risk of depression and diseases like Alzheimer’s. Think of omega-3 fatty acids as brain fuel. And when you’re having a smoothie, it’s all about fueling your body.
Foods that contain omega-3 fatty acids that you can use in your smoothies include avocados, coconut oil, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds.
When you incorporate leafy greens, fruit, protein, fiber, and fat in a smoothie, it becomes a nutrient-dense meal that can nourish your body and provide energy, which is exactly what you want in a meal! It can be consumed for any meal or as a nutrient-dense snack.
Another benefit of smoothies is the fact that they are pureed. Blending breaks down the foods so your teeth don’t have to. Imagine if you had all your smoothie ingredients in a big bowl. You’d have to chew everything and essentially puree it in your mouth before swallowing. When you have a smoothie, everything is already pureed for you, so it’s easier for the body to digest and absorb nutrients.
Healthy Fat + Protein = Meal Replacement Boosters
Green smoothies are the perfect fast food and adding these boosters will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need. Plus they will keep you away from any drive-thru….which is definitely not good for you!
Below is an easy formula to use to enhance your smoothie to beneficial goodness! Try one of these meal replacement booster combos in your next green smoothie.
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts + 1/4 avocado
- 2 tablespoons plant-based protein powder + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon almond butter + 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 1 tablespoon coconut oil
You can find all of these ingredients at your local grocery store or Bulk Barn.
Peaches are in season now at the grocery stores. Here is a great recipe for you to make as a complete tasty smoothie.
Peachy Green Smoothie
- 1 large handful spinach
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 peach diced
- 1 banana frozen
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract *optional
Place almond milk and chia seeds into a blender, wait a few minutes for the seeds to absorb some liquid, then add coconut oil and blend until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients and blend again.