Smoothie making is no rocket science and there are so many benefits you get from drinking it, such as improved digestion, hydration, eating more fruits and vegetables, easier weight loss, more energy and many others. 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? If you do not know which recipe to use, search the Internet where you will find a plethora of different ones that will suit your every need.
Secondly, 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 a smoothie is not a milkshake and therefore not a sugary dessert but, when done right, actually a meal replacement. The base of a milkshake is dairy, usually ice cream or milk with added flavor. They can be topped with whipped cream and candy. We definitely do not want that in our 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 fruit juice 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 hazelnut, a frozen banana or some 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 a 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 a slow speed and then gradually increase the speed.
CAN A SMOOTHIE BE UNHEALTHY?
Incorporating smoothies into your diet not only gives your body all the vitamins, minerals and fiber it needs, but it also helps your digestion, as the foods are blended and therefore easier for your body to process. Additionally, blending a smoothie means that you use the whole fruit or vegetable and can therefore keep all the important nutrients it offers you.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that all smoothies deserve to be tagged as “healthy”. Do not believe the marketing hype and keep in mind that just because something is called “a smoothie”, it does not necessarily mean that it is good for you and your body.
But what exactly makes a smoothie unhealthy? Why should you be cautious and read the ingredients before buying a smoothie, or even better, stick with homemade smoothies, made under your supervision.
For starts, most of the smoothies you can buy in a supermarket are loaded with sugar, fat, calories and other unhealthy ingredients that you just do not want to put in your body! But this does not mean that you cannot make unhealthy mistakes while making a smoothie at home. What are some unhealthy ingredient choices you could make when blending?
Firstly, do not add any sugar laden fruit juices into your smoothie. They are usually just flavored sugar water and will not do you any good. Why add a store-bought fruit juice to your fruits anyway?
Which brings us to our second big no-no – sugar. And the question stays the same: Why add additional sugar to your fruits, loaded with natural sugars, anyway?
You should also think before adding store bought milk, which usually comes from mistreated cows, filled with hormones or antibiotics. Rather stick with non-dairy milks, such as oat, almond, coconut, hazelnut… The possibilities are endless.
Additionally, at least if you are opting for a healthy smoothie choice, never add other dairy products, such as ice cream, whip cream or fruit yogurts. Needless to say, they are filled with sugar and additives you do not need.
You should also reconsider adding chocolate syrups or non-organic peanut butter to your smoothies. Again, a sugar overdose you will not benefit from.
If you drink a smoothie after your workout, you should also keep in mind that you do not want any cheap protein powders in your body, as they are usually full of artificial aromas and other additives. Stick to natural protein powders, such as hemp, peas or soy.
Another suggestion that you should also consider is, at which time of the day you should drink your smoothie. The most recommended choice would be in the morning, as drinking a smoothie in the evening could cause gas and/or bloating. Additionally, as fruits are still packed with sugars, they might not be the best thing to eat before going to bed. But even if you decide to drink a smoothie for dinner, this could still not be considered as an unhealthy choice.
WHY A SMOOTHIE IS PERFECT FOR YOUR BREAKFAST
We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But there are still more than 31 million Americans who skip it every single day. Why? Most of them say they are just too busy to make something to eat. But eating (or drinking) your breakfast can be super simple and it can only take you 5 minutes. How? Simple. With smoothies. Let us take a look why a smoothie can be your perfect breakfast choice.
Firstly, if you combine the ingredients in the right way, a smoothie can be a powerful nutritional bomb. Make sure you add enough protein and good fat and it will provide you with satiety and enough energy for the next few hours. Great protein and healthy fat sources to include in your recipe are:
- coconut oil or milk,
- natural yogurt, cottage cheese,
- natural nut butters (not store-bought!),
- natural protein powders (hemp, peas).
Also, make sure you measure all the ingredients. Many people forget about this and throw everything they can find in the blender. Remember, it does not matter that you drink a smoothie – calories are still calories, so make sure they come from the right source. Do not add sugar, pop drinks and processed foods to your mixture – you will ruin your smoothie and fill your body with extra calories it does not need.
If you do not feel full after your smoothie or you are just worried you will get hungry really fast, try this little trick: add some rolled oats to your blender. The result will be a thicker smoothie because starch from oatmeal absorbs some of the liquid. Satiety guaranteed!
Secondly, a morning smoothie is a great way to add liquid to your body. Do you often wake up very tired and not rested at all? Sometimes the reason for this is because your body is dehydrated. Over the night, your body can lose for as much as one liter of sweat and you have to replace it somehow. So make sure you add quality liquid to your smoothie. You can use:
- cold water,
- freshly squeezed fruit juices,
- coconut, almond or soy milk,
- nonfat Greek yogurt
Make sure you do not add store-bought juices as they are usually filled with extra sugar and additives you do not need.
Moreover, your breakfast smoothie can be a great way to add greens to your daily diet. Adding greens, such as spinach, kale, parsley or cucumbers will add nutritional value to your smoothie and make sure you get your daily dose of minerals and vitamins. Just one warning – if you are new to the smoothie world, make sure you gradually add greens to the smoothie. Kale, for example, can be bitter and adding it too much too quick will ruin your flavor. So make sure you take one step at a time.
If you still believe you do not have enough time to make your morning smoothie, give it a try. You will see that it is super easy. All you need is a good blender, the right quality ingredients and a few minutes of your morning time.