New year’s goal: to finally figure out how to take fruits, vegetables, and protein and blend it all together into a smoothie that doesn’t taste like sewage. We know it can be done. We’ve seen the pics online (and they look heavenly). But how do you go from disparate ingredients (spinach and almond butter...really?) into delicious blended concoctions?
Many people swear by smoothies. For example, Catherine McCord, author of the book Smoothie Project, writes that one smoothie a day for 28 days has the power to reboot the body. We’re so intrigued that we curated some of the best beginner-level tips for blending your heart out. Here’s how to get started:
To get the blending process going, any smoothie needs a bit of liquid to thin out the consistency. For the healthiest options, stick with non-dairy plant-based milks, like oat or nut milk, or water. And for the healthiest tip of all, avoid fruit juice, as it will just leave you with a smoothie full of sugar (and a nasty sugar crash).
Be wary of the fruit you choose, so you can keep your blood sugar balanced and your energy level high. Fruits like blueberries and blackberries are lower in sugar. Tropical fruits, like pineapple and mango, are higher in sugar.
How much fruit is enough for one shake, serving one person? A good measurement is 1 cup of fruit. This leaves room for fresh greens, nuts, seeds, and veggies.
And don’t forget the avocado (it’s a fruit!). It’s a great way to get the perfect creamy and smooth consistency. For a decadent, dessert-like smoothie, blend frozen avocado slices, cacao powder, and frozen blueberries (or frozen banana) with almond milk.
Greens play a starring role in most superfood smoothie recipes. A handful of spinach, kale, or romaine is an easy way of adding in an extra serving of veggies to your day.
Nervous about adding greens to your glass? Try spinach first. It has a very neutral flavor and is hard to detect a taste of it in your shake at all. Zucchini and cauliflower also add a wealth of nutrition without altering the flavor of the shake. But there’s a secret to preparing them. You’ll want to lightly chop, steam, and then freeze the veggies. Cooked veggies are easier to digest and won’t cause bloating.
Adding some protein-packed ingredients to smoothies can keep you feeling full for a longer stretch of time and help minimize blood sugar spikes. One of the easiest ways to do so is to add in a scoop of protein powder.
With store-bought protein powders, it’s important to read the fine print. What kind of protein does it offer? If you’re vegan, you’ll want to look for pea-based, green/blue algae, or other plant-based protein powders. In addition to the kind of protein you’re getting in a particular product, how much protein is in each serving? Most importantly, what additives are used? Beware of artificial ingredients, preservatives, and sweeteners, which are used in many protein powders.
Almond butter, hemp seeds, and chia seeds also make for wonderful, protein-packed add-ins.
For a simple shake to get you through the day, play around with a ratio of:
To stay fuller between meals, add a scoop of protein powder or a tablespoon of nut butter.
Blend Your Way to Better Skin, a Healthier Body, and Easier Meals
Want a new way to meet your wellness goals? Break out the blender. Smoothies are nutrient-dense wonders and can make for lively, luscious snacks or even meals. Bonus: If you’re running late for work and have little time to prepare a nutritious breakfast, just follow The How-to section above and you’ll have a healthy meal in minutes.
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