Smoothies are still the popular drink of choice, whether it’s as a post workout pick-me-up or a nutritious breakfast for those on the go in the mornings. There are so many different recipes out there for smoothies that it can get confusing.
And with many including ingredients like ice cream and lots of fruit it can be easy to create a calorific dessert when you are trying to develop a healthier option – so we have compiled some of the do’s and don’ts of smoothie making and how to keep them healthy.
Smoothie Making – The Do’s
- Choose your ingredients carefully
The main reason people choose to make their own smoothies at home is to create a quick and healthy drink, possibly as a meal replacement to lose weight, so it’s important to choose your ingredients carefully.
You should avoid sugar, and artificial ingredients such as sweeteners and food colouring etc.… you should also avoid using fruit juices or whole dairy produce if you are trying to be healthy, simply because of the sugar and fat content.
Don’t use orange juice – use an orange instead – it’s easy to make tasty and healthy smoothies without too much extra effort. Replace milk with coconut or almond milk to avoid the calories and your smoothie will be just as tasty but far more healthy.
- Include some protein
If you want your smoothie to be a meal replacement and provide you with enough energy to keep going for a few hours, then you need to make sure you include some protein in there. This is because it takes your body much longer to digest protein than say, carbs.
Having a smoothie packed with healthy protein will keep you going and help to support your metabolism at the same time. There are many different options for protein such as stirring in some protein powder. This one from Focus Performance is a good choice as it’s from grass fed cattle and sugar free. Other options include adding nuts or seeds to your drink, stirring in some nut butter or slicing up an avocado into your smoothie.
- Include some healthy fats
It might go against your idea of healthy but good fats are an essential part of our diet – they help us to feel full for longer and give us energy. Healthy fats also help to reduce inflammation and tell your brain you have had enough to eat, so they should also be a vital ingredient for any healthy smoothie.
You can easily add healthy fats to your daily smoothie by including ingredients like coconut oil, avocado, flax seeds, hemp seeds or almond butter.
Smoothie Making – The Don’ts
- Don’t buy ready-made smoothies
It might be tempting to buy ready-made smoothie drinks, or ready-made smoothie mixes which just require milk or water to be added to them but if you really want to be healthy and get the most benefits from a smoothie then you should avoid these.
There really is no substitute for fresh ingredients. Those stored on the shelves must contain preservatives to make them last and what you really want are fresh ingredients made by your own hands – that way you know exactly what you are drinking.
- Don’t forget the vegetables
Many people think of smoothies as fruit-based but actually, if you want to create a healthy balanced smoothie you should be using fewer fruits and adding in more vegetables, particularly those which are full of fibre.
Veggies like spinach leaves, celery, broccoli, herbs, avocado and tomato can all make great and tasty additions to your smoothies so avoid making smoothies that are completely fruit-based – they will be far too sugary.
- Don’t use ice cream
Another reason not to buy the supermarket smoothies is that many are made with ice cream or frozen yoghurt and these are going to be full of extra sugar that you just don’t need. Avoid dairy ingredients in your smoothies generally – almond or coconut milks work perfectly well and won’t add to the sugar and fat levels in the same way as a dollop of vanilla ice cream would.
If you want your smoothie to be colder, just add ice cubes to it, or use frozen fruit or vegetables to make it with.
- Don’t use fruit juices
Don’t buy shop smoothies made with fruit as if you check the labels you will many are made from concentrate or from fruit juices, all of which contains a lot of sugar. Don’t use fruit juice to make your own smoothie for the same reason – it’s always better to use real whole fruit and add water to taste – far less sugar.
Making smoothies is a fun way to get your five a day, with endless possibilities of flavour combinations and ingredients to try from. Gone are the days of fruit-based, ice-cream filled drinks. Now you are more likely to find spinach in a smoothie than dairy which has to be a good thing.