Smoothies are the perfect blend of delicious and nutritious — or so we like to think. Unfortunately, some concoctions can be a recipe for weight gain and excessive sugar consumption. But don't despair; there are a few guidelines that will have you serving up a more brilliant smoothie!
Use real food. Smoothies are an ideal way to get numerous nutrients in one big gulp! But choose your ingredients wisely. Fruit juice (which is high in fructose and lacks fiber) isn't the healthiest choice for the liquid in your smoothie. Consider using coconut water, unsweetened nut milk (my favorite is oat milk), milk, tea, or coffee.
Cut down on prep time by using frozen fruit (which also keeps your smoothie nice and cold.) Powders (like maca and cacao) and spices (like turmeric and ginger) provide additional health benefits and keep things interesting.
Stay away from anything artificially flavored. Plain Greek yogurt and unflavored collagen powder are both excellent protein additions. (I add Vital Proteins Collagen Powder to all my smoothies. If you can't find it in the store, you can get it here.
Sweeten with real food, not artificial sweeteners or sugar. I usually throw in a couple of Medjool dates (which have a lovely caramelly flavor(. Be sure to remove all the tough parts of the date, including the pit. I've forgotten to do this a couple of times, and it ruined my smoothie.)
Add some veggies. Mild-tasting spinach is an excellent choice for those who don't love their vegetables. And Lacinato kale (aka dinosaur, Tuscan, black, or Nero) is the least bitter variety for smoothies.
Don't go overboard! Imagine all your smoothie ingredients piled on a plate. If it looks excessive, trim back. It's easy to consume vast amounts of food when it's all pulverized together.
Keep it fiber-full. Fiber is nature's way of slowing down the absorption of fruit sugar. (which is why whole fruit trumps fruit juice.) Nuts, nut butter, chia seeds, flax seeds, and rolled oats all add extra fiber — and will help you feel full.
Smoothies vs. juices Although there's some disagreement on this subject, many experts believe that most soluble and insoluble fiber isn't lost through blending. However, Juicing does remove the fiber from fruits and vegetables. For this reason. I always opt for a smoothie. (And I really hate all the work it takes to clean a juicer!)
You can find my favorite smoothie recipe here, but here's a variation of it using cinnamon. You'll find a great tip for using the "right" type of cinnamon at the end. Happy blending!
Kale and Cinnamon Smoothie
4 kale leaves, chopped (hard stems removed)
1/2 cup frozen mangoes
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1 tablespoon peanut butter (unsalted)
1 scoop collagen powder (optional)
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp. cinnamon (*Ceylon if possible)
1/2 cup milk (oat milk works well)
Blend until smooth and creamy. Add more milk if needed.
*Although Cassia is the more common cinnamon, it contains a large amount of Coumarin, a compound that can be harmful when consumed in high doses. Ceylon has much less Coumarin and has a milder, sweeter flavor, too — so it's worth seeking out.
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