Is Your Smoothie Balanced?
Smoothies are a great way to add in some extra whole foods and you can absolutely make it a healthy option. You’re able to add in wholesome ingredients and keep the nutrients from your produce (unlike juicing where you lose the fiber). A healthy balanced smoothie can be a meal if you know how to do it!
1.) Pick a Liquid
- I would suggest an unsweetened liquid to avoid added sugar or unwanted ingredients like milk, plain soy, almond milk, nut milks, coconut milk, water, brewed tea or coffee even! You’ll get enough sweetness and carbohydrate from fruit. Make sure to read those labels! For example your nut milk may be contributing more fat or your coconut milk may have added sugar, it can be tricky.
2.) Pick a Vegetable
- Leafy greens, squash, zucchini, jicama, beets, tomato, cucumber, broccoli, celery! Try some new veggies and change it up from the ol’ spinach and kale.
3.) Pick a Fruit
- The choices are endless. I suggest keeping to 1-2 servings of fruit per smoothie. Refer to the RDRx Meal Planning Guide on fruit serving sizes (1 banana = 2 servings)
4.) Pick a Protein
- Milk or plain greek yogurt (soy or regular), cottage cheese, protein powder (unflavored preferably, limited ingredients),
- If vegetarian or vegan: nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa, and tofu can all be a source of protein but will often contribute to your carb or fat count.
- You typically do not need more than 25-30 grams of protein.
5.) Pick a Healthy Fat
- Avocado, nuts, seeds, nut/seed butters, tsp olive oil, chia, and flax are all easy to blend in, to get those extra heart healthy fats. Watch your portion size! Fat can add up quickly in calories.
A Few More Tips:
- Make your smoothie bags for the week and freeze them. Saves time in the morning.
- Don’t overdo it on the fruit or other carb sources. Try to get a balanced variety of macronutrients to keep you full and satisfied.
- Change it up! Use leftover veggies, a tropical frozen fruit or a different nut butter to keep things exciting.
- Add some antioxidant flavors like cinnamon, nutmeg, turmeric, ginger, mint, vanilla
- Get yourself a travel cup and bring it to work
- I invested in a high quality blender and am so glad I did! Not only for smoothies but soups, nut butters, hummus, purees, etc. Vitamix all the way!