Nothing beats smoothies. If you’re looking forward to creating beverages that’ll help you take better care of your health, these tricks to know which ingredients you should include when preparing a healthy smoothie.
Many people believe that any smoothie is healthy, but beware! This is not always the case. The main goal is to create a drink full of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants. The secret is to choose fresh and natural fruits and veggies, without falling into the temptation to add sugar and highly caloric ingredients.
What is a healthy smoothie?
It is generally recommended that a smoothie should be 60% fruits and 40% vegetables, preferably green leaves.
Use fresh fruits and vegetables mixed with water or non-dairy milk. Avoid synthetic juices because they contain too many calories and sugar.
We must not use too much sugar, juices, powdered chocolate, or syrups. Smoothies are digested very quickly in our stomachs, so they don't keep us full for a long time, which is why we must control the portion of fruits and vegetables we add.
Benefits of smoothies
It helps stay hydrated: About 70 percent of your body is water, smoothies are a great way to replenish the loss of water.
Green smoothies that contain a lot of green leafy vegetables add essential vitamins and minerals and the fiber supplied by these drinks multiplies the benefits.
They contain antioxidants: make your smoothies rich in antioxidants -include matcha, green tea, berries and leafy greens for a daily dose of antioxidants.
5 tips to prepare a healthy smoothie
Preparing a smoothie at home instead of buying one means that you can control the ingredients that are added. When you purchase a smoothie, you’ll notice that it usually contains large amounts of sugar, saturated fat, and excessive calories. Avoid it and try some homemade healthier alternatives: just pay attention to the following tips and start experimenting!
1- Add these vegetables!
Vegetables are a good source of fiber, minerals, and calcium, three ingredients that can make your smoothie very healthy. For example, beets are rich in fiber, iron, and calcium -mostly their green tops! A few broccoli florets will also boost your smoothie’s iron, potassium, calcium, and fiber levels while keeping its bitter taste at bay.
When it comes to veggies, how you incorporate them into the blend plays a big role. If their taste is mild, you're free to add them raw. However, if they're stronger tasting, you can prevent them from overpowering the smoothie by cooking them beforehand. A little lemon juice will also neutralize the taste if you don't like vegetables that much. Starchy vegetables, on the other hand, get a better and stronger taste when cooked. Keep in mind that some hard vegetables should be grated or cooked for the blender to handle them properly!
2- Seeds are essential!
Try adding chia, pumpkin, hemp, or flax seeds to your smoothie! Not only will they top its final flavor, but they'll also boost its protein, omega 3, iron, and fiber contents. As seeds are usually very rich in nutrients, they provide incredible amounts of benefits per serving and aren't hard to include in your smoothies.
Before adding them to the mixture, however, you should activate them to benefit from their full potential. Chia seeds, for example, should be left soaking in water or almond milk for 20 minutes before they’re taken to the blender, using a ratio of one cup of liquid for every quarter cup of seeds. Other seeds that should be soaked are pumpkin seeds, which should be left at room temperature for a day before using them. Whole flax seeds can be ground or soaked, and hemp seeds don't even need to be left in water.
3- Get these fruits in your blender
Blueberries have large amounts of vitamin C and antioxidants that will help control your blood sugar. Another excellent fruit to add to your smoothie is bananas because it will provide creaminess and a good dose of potassium for your muscles. In case these two options are not to your liking, strawberries can work too. They have delicious taste and promote heart health.
4- Remember to include spices!
Not many people realize that spices can give an extra and super healthy flavor to your smoothies. With just a couple of table- and sometimes teaspoons, you can provide your body with several benefits. The best part is, there are hundreds of options to choose from! Learn their taste and properties, and get the ones that fit you the best.
You can opt for turmeric, a slightly peppery spice that reduces intestinal inflammation and works as a natural painkiller. You may also prefer ginger, which can be frozen and helps the digestive system. If you're looking for a fresher touch for your smoothie, add mint or coriander instead. The latter has a nutty, sweet, and slightly acid taste that can give your blend the final taste you were looking for.
5- Don't forget the protein!
Your smoothie should also include some protein source to be complete. For this reason, add some tofu, nut butter, or even avocado, all ingredients that’ll also boost its texture and taste. If you usually consume protein powder, you can put some in the blend as well, but always remember to consult a professional before consuming such supplements.