Good mental health is rooted in the foods we consume. Smoothies can make a quick, easy and healthy breakfast or snack. If you’re short on time in the morning, but need to get an energy boost, make a smoothie. If white, refined pretzels and sugary granola bars aren’t what you want for a snack, try a smoothie. It can be difficult to get the 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables that is recommended, and chewing on raw broccoli and cauliflower all day is just not much fun. Blending them up is great way to get vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fiber … even some protein and healthy fats!
Here is a formula to create a great tasting, nutritionally balanced smoothie:
Pick a liquid:
You will need a liquid to add some fluidity and blendability to your smoothie. For a creamier smoothie, choose a milk/milk alternative base. For a lighter option, use water or coconut water. Avoid fruit juices, even 100% fruit juices, as they add a lot of sugar and unnecessary calories… don’t worry, you’ll get plenty of that vitamin C from fruit (plus fiber).
Some options: almond milk, rice or hemp milk, grass-fed organic cow’s milk, coconut water or water
Pick a protein:
Adding a protein item will not only help moderate the glycemic effect of the sugar in the fruit, it will also bring greater satiety and energy, and will give your body the amino acid building blocks it needs to build muscle rather that fat. Protein slows the digestion of carbs, so it keeps your blood sugar from spiking and keeps you feeling full longer.
Some options: whey protein powder, plant-based protein powder such as pea or sprouts protein, hemp seeds, almonds, almond butter, pumpkin seeds, Greek yogurt
Pick a veggie:
Vegetables are going to add a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber without adding very many calories or much sugar at all. The potent antioxidant phytonutrients in vegetables give them their rich colors which can scare people away, but don’t worry, a mild leafy green like spinach won’t change the flavor, just the color. Pair veggies with fruit and you can still have a good tasting, naturally sweet smoothie.
Some options: spinach, baby kale, cucumber, celery, beets, carrots, pumpkin
Pick a fruit:
Fruit is going to add natural sweetness, texture and nutrients to your smoothie. Fruit is about as basic as your liquid base. If you’re trying to cut back on sugar you could do an all veggie smoothie though. Berries are lower in sugar and packed full of potent antioxidants, pineapples, mango, grapes, apples oranges and bananas are sweeter if you want to mask the stronger flavors of beets, celery and kale. Frozen fruit will add a thicker, frostier texture. Bananas and mango add thicker, creamier texture, and freezing your bananas and using a small amount for liquid can make your smoothie almost like ice cream.
Some options: cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apple, pear, banana, pineapples, mango, nectarine, orange, grapes, blueberries, blackberries
Pick a healthy fat:
Throw in some nuts or seeds for some healthy fats, like omega-3s, that are good for your heart and brain and reduce inflammation in the body. An essential fatty acid deficiency could leave you with dry, flaky skin, and who wants that? These also add some of that valuable protein as well.
Some options: chia seeds, ground flaxseed, hemp seed, walnuts, almonds, cashews, nut butters, pumpkin seed, sesame seeds, coconut meat, avocado
Choose a topper:
A topper can add both visual appeal and extra nutrients to your smoothie. This is optional though.
Some options: coconut, raw cacao nibs or dark chocolate, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla
For thicker smoothie: less liquid;
For thinner smoothie: more liquid;
6-12 oz is a good starting point
1-2 scoops or 1-2 Tbsp or ½ cup yogurt
1 cup greens or ½ cup other veggies
½ cup to 1 cup frozen fruit or 1-2 pieces whole, fresh fruit
1-2 Tbsp or ¼ avocado
A Taste of Autumn Smoothie
- Approx. 1 cup almond or organic cow’s milk
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Top with a few pumpkin seeds or cinnamon
Green Tropical Breeze
- 1 cup coconut water or almond milk
- ½ cup Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup pineapple
- 1 T chia seeds
- Top with coconut flakes