Smoothies have revolutionized the holistic nutrition industry. With endless possibilities, everyone can find a smoothie that works for their health, lifestyle, and taste buds. I’ve been ‘smoothying’ religiously for the past four years. I jumped back on the bandwagon when I went back to school for Holistic Nutrition. But, let me tell you. OH BOY have the contents of my smoothies changed as the years have passed. Going from fruit based to green based smoothies, I’ve sampled almost every smoothie concoction you can imagine. In the process, I’ve come up with the perfect combination of ingredients to promote digestive and overall health.
So, what’s my secret?
A perfect smoothie really boils down to three simple things; making sure it includes a fat, protein and carbohydrate!
Why? It will keep your blood sugar stable, reduce cravings, and keep you feeling full. All while enhancing the texture and taste of your delicious drink.
Let’s Break it Down
A smoothie always needs a base. A liquid is needed to blend all contents to help make it smooth and slurpable (yes, that is now a word). There are a variety of options for a base, but I would recommend staying away from fruit juices from concentrate. Dose: Typically I use about 1 cup as a base, but sometimes dose up to 1.5 cups if I am slurping my smoothie for a meal.
- Option 1: filtered water or any version of it (i.e coconut water, maple water, lemon water). I find that the best bases for green or vegetable based smoothies are waters!
- Option 2: any milk alternative including almond, coconut, cashew, hazelnuts. Luckily, you have lots to choose from at the grocery store these days. However, you can also make your own milk alternative using nuts, water, and salt. If interested, check out Nora’s Nut Milk (made with brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts – mmmm)
As mentioned above, the crux of the smoothie must include a fat, protein, and carb to ensure it includes all appropriate macronutrients. This will help your body stay adequately satiated, as each micronutrient works with each other to slow down the influx of natural sugar into the blood while keeping you feeling full for longer.
*Please note all macronutrient examples are listed as ‘OR’ and not ‘AND,’ so ensure to just pick one from each.
- Fat: Do not fear fat! I repeat, do not fear fat! Fat is extremely important for the integrity of all cells in the body, while protecting our organs and keeping them strong (as I always say, fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes you fat).
- Dose: Typically I use about 1-3 tbsp of fat in each smoothie (amount depends on the source, below are some of my favourites).
- Healthy oils (1 tbsp) including coconut, hemp, avocado, walnut, etc;
- Ripe avocado (3 tbsp)
- Nut butters (1 heaping tbsp or sometimes 2 if I am consuming it as a meal)
- Carbohydrates: Carbs break down into sugar and typically give you the sweet taste most people enjoy from smoothies. Taking some time to think about how much carbs (sugar) you are adding to your smoothie is KEY.
- Dose: Typically, I include about 1/2 cup of carbs in each smoothie. Some options include (these can be frozen or fresh):
- Half banana with 1 pitted date
- Mixed berries
- Mango, pineapple, peaches
- Apple, pear
- Cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce
- Protein: Protein helps build and maintain muscles, in addition to hair, skin and nails.
- Dose: Typically, I include about 1/4 cup of protein in each smoothie. Some options include:
- Protein powders: You have two options when it comes to sources of protein powder, plant vs. animal (whey) based. I use and recommend plant based protein powders. I prefer the taste and find it less taxing on my digestive system.
- Hemp hearts are a great plant based protein that gives you a whopping 10g per 3 tablespoons.
- Nuts, chia seeds, and greens are other great smoothie components that contain protein.
→TAKE IT UP A NOTCH!
Add on extra added health benefits that might be difficult to consume on a regular basis by adding superfoods and anti-inflammatory ingredients to your smoothie! Take your health up a notch by adding the following ingredients.
Superfoods are extremely potent in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). They provide more than you would get from a macronutrient (fat, protein or carb).
- Dose: Typically, I include about 1 tsp – 1tbsp of superfoods. I use these as AND instead of OR. I love to load my superfoods in my smoothies, don’t hold back, have fun!
- Chia seeds: When chia seeds are mixed with any liquid they gelatinize (hence they are great for helping clean you from the inside out). Don’t be surprised if your smoothie turns a bit sludgy if you don’t consume it immediately.
- Maca powder: maca is known as an adaptogen and helps your body adapt to stress. Tip: stay away from mama in the evening as it will give you an extra boost of energy.
- Bee pollen: is high in protein and contains anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties that are easily digested by the human digestive system
- Cacao nibs: are full of fiber and magnesium to keep those bowels moving, while leaving little crunchy bits of goodness to make you feel like you’re eating a meal
Inflammation inside the body is more prominent than most of us would like to believe. Help your body fight inflammation with the following foods.
- Dose: Typically I include about 1 tsp – 1 tbsp (except for the greens, see below)
- Ginger root: I love using raw ginger root (about thumb size knob). Feel free to use it in powder form as well!
- Turmeric powder: Curcumin is the active component of turmeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Just be careful with your white counter and clothes, it stains!
- Greens: spinach, kale, collard greens (anywhere between 1-2 tightly packed cups)
Putting it all Together:
Here is an example of one of my favourite smoothies. I call this one the Liquid Gold Smoothie.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup of mixed chopped frozen pineapple and banana
- One pitted date
- 1 scoop vanilla plant based protein powder
- One heaping tbsp sunflower seed butter
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- Thumb size knob of organic ginger root
- 1 heaping tbsp cacao nibs
Blend all ingredients until smooth, enjoy immediately or store in a tightly sealed glass container for 24 hours!
The Benefits to Slurping Daily:
- Nutrient Density – Smoothies are a wonderful nutrient rich meal, as you can pack tons of superfoods, greens, veggies, and fruits into 1 single glass.
- Hydration – helps keep you hydrated not only from the base, but also from the water content in the fruits and vegetables.
- Sustained Energy – By adding proteins, fats, and carbohydrates into 1 meal, you stabilize your blood sugar and satiate your body, allowing you to tackle your day without energy surges and crashes that keep you on a blood sugar rollercoaster.
- Pre-digested – Blending the contents of a smoothie thoroughly before consuming assists the body in the digestion process. Digestion is aided as the smoothie contents are essentially “pre-digested” (already mechanically broken down).
- It’s Portable! Make smoothies at home and take them on the go if you don’t have much time to sit and eat breakfast or grab a mid-afternoon snack!
Are you looking for a smoothie guide to help get you started or perhaps shake up your regular smoothie regimen?
I’ve got just the resource for you. Check out my Smoothie with the Seasons e-book for 20 seasonal smoothie recipes that will keep you healthy and satisfied all year round.