In this day and age where eating healthy has become so important, so many people do not like to eat fruit and vegetables. Even though they know it is good for them, they still prefer not to eat it. It can be very difficult getting used to a healthy lifestyle. But there are many advantages to a healthy lifestyle. The advantages of eating healthy are : more strength, reduced cancer risk, diabetes management, heart health and stroke prevention, strong bones and teeth, energy and weight loss. But how to obtain great health without consuming mass quantities of fresh produce? The answer : smoothies! Smoothies by definition are thick, creamy beverages consisting of blended fruits, vegetables, juices, yogurt, nuts, seeds, and/or dairy or nondairy milk. The most basic smoothie recipe starts with two essential ingredients — a base and a liquid. Smoothies can make your health or weight loss goals deliciously easy once you follow basic guidelines.
How to make a great smoothie will present:
- Different kinds of Smoothies
- Smoothie Blends
- Ingredients for a Healthy Smoothie
- Healthy Smoothie ingredients for Weight Loss
- Health benefits of a Green Smoothie
Different Kinds of Smoothies
Smoothies can be divided into about three different kinds. These are : Fruit Smoothies, Green Smoothies and Protein Smoothies. The names for these three types of smoothies are only a loose definition, meaning that the particular type of smoothie is mostly ‘green’ or ‘protein’. The name is usually derived from the main ingredient for the smoothie recipe. Most smoothie recipes can add other ingredients, like fruit for added flavor or health benefit.
Fruit Smoothies – consists of fruit blended with fruit juice, water, milk or ice cream. These smoothies are generally higher in sugar and calories based on their high fruit content.
Green Smoothies – combine leafy green vegetables with fruit, fruit juice, water or milk. Green smoothies usually have fruit added. The added fruit to green smoothies makes the flavor sweeter and palatable, especially for those unfamiliar with the strong ‘green’ flavor of leafy greens.
Protein Smoothies- usually consists of a basic recipe of one vegetable or fruit and a liquid as well as a protein. The protein used can be Greek yogurt, silken tofu, cottage cheese or protein powder.
Both green and protein smoothies recipes are acceptable for the health conscious.You can customize smoothie recipes by blending healthy ingredients.
Blending smoothies have so many benefits, such as improved digestion, hydration, eating more fruits and vegetables, easier weight loss, more energy. However, there are some basic things you need to know before you start blending.
First, you should decide what recipe will suit your purpose – are you trying to lose weight or just want to add more greens into your diet?
Second, keep in mind that the first thing you add into your blender is the liquid you want to use. Do not forget that you should stick to your recipe and should not add more water than recommended (usually not more than 2 cups per person); otherwise your smoothie will be too watery. Keep in mind that smoothie is not a milkshake and therefore not a sugary dessert but, when done right, actually a meal replacement. We definitely do not want that in smoothies, so make sure you use a healthy liquid base, which certainly does not include sugary drinks and other liquids filled with sugar. You should rather use filtered water, almond/coconut/hazelnut/oat milk, organic fruits or kefir.
You can then add your base, which will make the smoothie creamy. The most basic base is a banana, followed by avocado, peach, apple, chia seed gel or nut butters. Yogurt, frozen fruit or pears will also do the trick.
Now it is time to add the fruits or vegetables your smoothie recipe requires. You can also get creative and add whatever you think goes together and then learn from your mistakes. Opt for fresh fruits or the frozen ones – you can also prepare packs of cut fruits beforehand and freeze them; that way you will also save time.
At the end, you can also add some additional foods to your smoothie, such as dates or maple syrup to make it sweeter (even though most smoothie recipes already include enough sweet fruit), a pinch of quality salt that will increase the minerals (such as pink Himalayan salt), spices, quality protein powder, superfoods, such as chia, flax or hemp seeds, goji berries… The possibilities are endless!
After adding all your ingredients, it is time to start blending! Follow the instructions of your blender and do not worry, after a few times, smoothie making will become second nature for you and you will get it right every time.
THE MOST COMMON SMOOTHIE MISTAKES
Everyone says making smoothies is so easy, so what could actually go wrong? However, they are still some things that could go wrong.
If your smoothie is too watery, simply add more fruit (the best option would be bananas or frozen fruit), nut butter or oats.
If it lacks creaminess, you can add some nut butter, oatmeal, avocado or banana. On the other hand, if your smoothie is too thick, add some non-dairy milk, such as oatmeal, coconut, hazelnut or almond. Remember that this might change its flavor, so always add the liquids in small amounts.
In case, you accidentally made your green smoothie taste almost too healthy, you should add more milk, such as for example hazelnut, a frozen banana or even maple syrup.
Even if your smoothie is too tasteless, you can still save it – add a splash of natural fruit juice for acid taste, Greek yogurt for tangy taste, or dates or maple syrup for sweetness. You can also add spices or grated ginger to add more flavor.
If the smoothie is not blended enough, you might not be adding the ingredients to your blender in the correct order. You should add your liquids first, which will get the blade turning smoothly. Start blending on slow speed and then gradually increasing the speed.
Ingredients for a Healthy Smoothie
Smoothies are portable and convenient. Get the best nutrient dense smoothies by blending the healthiest ingredients. The correct Popular ingredients used to make homemade smoothies include :
- Fruits: berries, banana, apple, peach, mango, and pineapple
- Vegetables: kale, spinach, arugula, wheatgrass,microgreens, avocado, cucumber, beetroot, cauliflower, and carrots
- Nuts and seeds: almond butter, peanut butter, walnut butter, sunflower seed butter, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax meal
- Herbs and spices: ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, cocoa powder, cacao nibs, parsley, and basil
- Nutritional and herbal supplements: spirulina, bee pollen, matcha powder, protein powder, and powdered vitamin or mineral supplements
- Liquid: water, fruit juice, vegetable juice, milk, non dairy milk, coconut water, iced tea, and cold brew coffee
- Sweeteners: maple syrup, raw sugar, honey, pitted dates, simple syrup, fruit juice concentrates, stevia
Others: cottage cheese, vanilla extract, soaked oats, cooked white beans, silken tofu, and dairy or nondairy yogurt
Healthy Smoothie Ingredients for Weight Loss
Smoothies are filling and a nutritional boost if blended using healthy ingredients. You can boost your weight loss goals by adding the following ingredients to your smoothies.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil is a super food with many benefits. Consuming two teaspoons of coconut oil can help reduce belly fat. Coconut oil can be added to your smoothies without any added taste.
Spinach – Spinach matches the impressive nutritional profile of kale. However, it also contains a few unique nutrients, one of which is choline. This water-soluble vitamin helps support vital physiological processes such as brain development, liver function, muscle movement, nerve function and a healthy metabolism. The fiber in spinach helps to make you feel full, helping your calorie intake.
Blueberries– Blueberries are small but powerful berries. Blueberries along with strawberries are full of antioxidants. The nutrients found in these berries help boost your metabolism. Being filled with fiber, blueberries also help keep you satisfied.
Chia seeds – Chia seeds offer maximum nutrition with minimum calories. Two tablespoons of chia seeds provides 11 grams of fiber, 9 grams of fat ( 5 being omega-3) and only 137 calories. So you can add chia seeds to your smoothies for a satisfying, nutrient dense drink.
Flaxseeds – Flax Seeds like chia seeds are packed with nutrients with omega-3 and fiber being the most prominent. Flax seeds high fiber content also keeps you fuller longer, a boon to dieters.
Ginger– Ginger is great in reducing inflammation, stimulating digestion and suppresses your appetite. These properties of ginger help you reach a healthy weight when used along with exercise and a healthy diet.
Beetroot greens– Beetroot greens are rich in vitamins, minerals. Being naturally lower in sugar and calories and amino acid tryptophan makes beetroot greens a great addition to green smoothies. Tryptophan has several health benefits including helping promote better sleep, providing relief from anxiety and depression, providing increased emotional well-being, aid in strength training and also helping to manage pain tolerance.
Health Benefits of a Green Smoothie
The benefits of drinking green smoothies are numerous. The vegetables and fruits that give green smoothies their fresh, emerald hue are extremely high in nutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They provide a long list of benefits, and can improve both your mental and physical health. Kale is a popular leafy green superfood in smoothies that offers the following health advantages.
- High in fiber, low in calories and has zero fat – Kale delivers up only 36 calories in a 1 cup serving. That serving size also packs a healthy 5 grams of dietary fiber and zero fat.
- Helps digestion and elimination – The fiber in kale promotes healthy digestion and helps keep you “regular”.
- Absolutely packed with vitamins and nutrients – Kale delivers significant amounts of magnesium, folate, iron, vitamins A, C and K, and delivers more calcium than milk per calorie.
- Fights cancer – The antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids present in high levels in kale help protect you against developing various cancers.
- Boosts bone health – Eating kale (or drinking a smoothie with kale in it) delivers the vitamin K mentioned earlier. Vitamin K is essential for optimal bone health, as well as blood clotting.
- Fights inflammation – This versatile and powerful health booster boasts excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is often the starting point for multiple chronic diseases and illnesses.
- Improved brain function – A diet rich in kale has been linked to better memory and a lowered risk of developing neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.
- A wonderful detoxing agent – Kale helps your liver filter out dangerous toxins and poisons, removing them from the foods you eat and the liquids you drink, so they can be eliminated.
- Boosts healthy circulation – The iron in kale ensures that high levels of oxygen are transported to the various parts of your body that need it.
- All the healthy nutrients and minerals in kale also boost your overall immune system, help your cells grow properly, assist in the formation of enzymes and hemoglobin, lower your cholesterol, and fight asthma, arthritis and autoimmune disorders.
If you stick to mostly fruits in your green smoothies you may find it difficult to lose weight, and you may even gain weight. Replacing most of the fruits with healthy leafy greens and the occasional green fruit is what makes green smoothies so powerfully healthy. Focus on at least 60% or 75% vegetables in your green smoothie recipes. This will provide a lot of healthy nutrients and minerals, without putting too many calories, carbs, and too much natural sugar into your body.
If you need help to get started, check out this basic green smoothie recipe.
· 1 to 2 cups of liquid
· 2 tablespoons of binder
· 1 or 2 handfuls of frozen fruit
· 4 to 6 ice cubes
· 2 – 4 tablespoons of protein powder
· 1 soft fruit
· Green vegetables like kale, spinach, celery, arugula, collard greens and cabbage, bok choy and beet greens, chard and dandelion greens, to name a few.
· Healthy sweeteners and oils are optional.
Expect 2 to 3 smoothies of 16 ounces each with the above basic recipe.
Now imagine how supercharged your health and vitality is when you combine that leafy green with other healthy vitamins and fruits commonly used to make a green smoothie. You can literally handpick your smoothie ingredients to provide any type of health boost you need, from stronger, shinier hair and younger looking skin, to improved memory, no joint pain and total heart health.
In concluding there a many ways to make a great smoothie. To make a great smoothie you have to use good healthy (preferably organic) ingredients; use good smoothie blending practices, experiments are good learning experiences; if weight loss is your goal incorporate weight loss boosting ingredients; embrace the many benefits of green smoothies. Enjoy your health journey!