Looking for a healthy kickstart to your day? Smoothies can be a great place to start.
But, not all smoothies are created equal. A lot of store bought smoothies are loaded with sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. And when you consider that a smoothie at home can be whipped up in under 5 minutes, you don’t really save any time by stopping on your way to work, or wherever your day takes you.
So, what’s the best way to build a healthy, meal replacing smoothie? There’s a lot of different ways to mix one up, but here are my top picks:
Some people don’t like the idea of using protein powder. I do. I add it to every smoothie I make and I add it to my kids smoothies, too. If you’re not a fan of the protein powder idea, that’s up to you, but do make sure you’re adding some form of protein, especially if you’re having a smoothie as a meal replacement.
Any fruit will do, but try to stick with low glycemic fruits (berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches) more often than not.
Any vegetables you like. Most of the time, I’ll add greens such as spinach, kale or chard. But once in awhile it’s fun to mix it up a bit and use fresh herbs, carrots or sweet potato. My dad actually throws cauliflower in his smoothies, which sounded a little odd to me at first, but why not. In a smoothie, it’s almost tasteless and it’s super nutritious. Play around. See what you’re favourites are.
Omegas are called “essential” fatty acids for a reason. Our bodies can’t produce them, which means we need to obtain them from an outside source. Ideally in a 1-2:1 ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3. The standard Western diet falls woefully short of omegas and the ones we do obtain are degraded Omega-6’s is the form of refined food and oils. So how do you incorporate them into your smoothie. Flax oil is my favourite way. I add 1 Tbsp to any smoothie I make. If that doesn’t suit you, flax meal is another great option, along with hemp hearts, hemp oil, walnuts and chia seeds.
(For a little more about Omega 3 and 6: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12442909)
If I’m going for a workout and feel like I’ll need a bit more fuel, I also like to add some oats. I find it helps me stay full and energized a little longer, but otherwise, that’s it!
From there it’s all about what tastes good to you and what you’re trying to get out of you’re smoothie. Maybe you’re in a tropical kinda mood (that’s how this Mango Ginger Smoothie was conceived). Maybe you’re feeling all Peanut Butter and Chocolate. Or maybe you feel like dessert without the guilt, like my Strawberry Shortcake Smoothie. Either way, it’s easy to whip up a smoothie to suit your day.
A couple quick notes about the smoothie:
In this recipe, I guess the ginger is the vegetable component. Next time I make it though, I’m going to add a carrot to it. I’m not sure why I didn’t think about that at the time.
Do you have a favourite smoothie addition? Leave me a comment and tell me what it is. I’m always looking for new ideas.
Mango Ginger Smoothie:
1 Cup fresh or frozen mango
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
1 tbsp unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tsp fresh ginger, skin removed
1 tbsp flax oil
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 Cups water
ice (if using fresh mango)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.