Some smoothies from smoothie shops (or pre-made mixes) can pack more than a day’s worth of sugar into one little drink. Not to mention the calorie load. But smoothies are all the rage – I know I’m a huge fan! I have at least one green smoothie a day. It’s my typical breakfast. But how do you make a good one that’s actually healthy and not a sugar-bomb-in-a-glass? Here are 3 secrets to keep in mind:
- Go easy on fruit. The majority of your smoothie should be vegetables, not fruits. Think leafy greens, celery and cucumber for example. You can add some low-glycemic frozen berries or the occasional 1/2 banana, but if you load up with too much fruit, you will end up taking down your allotted sugars for the day in one glass. **I will often add a medjool date to smoothies for my kids. With all the nutrition I pack into a glass, I’m okay with them having a little sweeter smoothie, but my kids don’t eat other sugary treats often. It’s all about balance!
- Add protein. To be satiated, I like to add a protein source to my smoothies. Vegan, non-soy protein powder (I like Sun Warrior), a tablespoon of nut butter, or 2-3 tablespoons of hemp seeds are all good options. **Watch ingredients closely when buying protein powders. There are many on the market with GMO soy protein, cheap fillers, artificial ingredients and sugar. Avoid those, you are better off using real nuts or seeds instead!
- Think healthy fats. Add chia seeds, flax seeds (or flax meal), a touch of coconut butter, or even 1/2 of an avocado. The healthy fat will keep you full longer.
You can always add superfoods like raw cacao or greens powders, but they aren’t necessary for a delicious, healthy, portable meal. However, I will admit, your ability to use leafy greens successfully in a smoothie may depend on your blender. I use a Vitamix so I have no problem pulverizing kale and celery, but if you have a less-powerful blender, there are some high-quality greens powders on the market without junky additives.
Too busy? If making a smoothie in the morning is not going to happen in your busy life, you can make them the night before, or even days ahead and freeze them! Just store in air-tight containers like mason jars. (Be sure not to fill to the top if freezing.) There’s no excuse to stop at that smoothie shop when you can make your own healthy version so easily!
My smoothie this morning was Blueberry Cinnamon deliciousness!
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of choice)
- 2 handfuls leafy greens
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 banana
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 medjool date (pit removed)
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (or peanut butter)
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- Pinch of sea salt
- Add milk, greens, banana, blueberry, date and almond butter to a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
- Transfer smoothie to a bowl and add flour, baking powder and salt.
- Beat until smooth.
- Cook on griddle over medium heat.
- For a sweeter pancake, add an additional date or 1 tablespoon maple syrup.