Smoothies are a great way to get a hit of nutrients, pre-broken down to aid efficient absorption. But is your smoothie nourishing you or giving you a big sugary hit? And are you putting so many ingredients in that the taste is hard to swallow?!
These are the two most common mistakes people make so I am going to give you the perfect formula for a nutritious and delicious smoothie every time.
1. Choose your fruit:
Berries, orange, mango and pineapple are my smoothie favourites. The rule is to use just 1 whole piece of fruit (or handful of berries) and then maybe a small chunk of banana or a date to sweeten it if necessary. Too much fruit = fructose overload and it also can muddy the taste. Give your smoothie a fruit theme and stick to that ie orange, or berry – this keeps the flavour sharper. Tip: keep banana chunks in your freezer (2 inch chunks) to add to your smoothies to sweeten and make it cool. You can also chop up other fruit and keep in the freezer for your smoothies for a quick assembley in the morning!
2. Add protein:
This is important as protein will slow down the absorption of sugar and keep you full up.
- 8 almonds, brazil nuts or walnuts
- 2 tbsp of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and/or sunflower seeds.
- 1 tbsp of tahini which is sesame paste and high in calcium
- 1 tbsp nut butter
- Hemp powder or hemp seeds are a great protein source – add 1 tbsp.
- Protein powder – there are a number of pre mixed/sweetened protein powders on the market, I’m yet to find one that tastes nice. Whey protein is nice if you can tolerate dairy, but make sure its made from organic milk from grassfed cows. Sunwarrior have a selection of vegan protein powders and myprotein.com also have a good selection. Personally I prefer hemp, its cheap, unsweetened and does the job.
3. Add fat:
- Avocado (3 tbsp or more)
- coconut oil (1 tbsp)
- nuts / seeds
- nut milk
- coconut milk
- 1 tbsp flax oil
are a few of the options.
4. Add liquid:
Either your choice of plant milk or coconut water is a good option, alternatively filtered water or even better water kefir (recipe here). Avoid fruit juice as its adding more sugar into the smoothie.
5. Add another flavour:
To complement the main fruit flavour of the smoothie if you wish.
- Vanilla – either straight from the bean (i use the whole pod), vanilla powder or a good quality vanilla essence.
- Cinammon – great for blood sugar balance.
- Raw cacao – this will take over the taste somewhat but complements berries and oranges really well by increasing their antioxidant power.
- Tahini – gives a malty taste and is a good source of calcium
- Black strap molasses – full of minerals including iron, adds a touch of sweet but mainly a malty taste and goes well with cacao but also very sweet fruit like orange.
- Lemon or lime juice – just a squeeze can help to sweeten the smoothie or just lift the taste if it needs something more.
- Himalyan salt – just a pinch, adds essential minerals and also an extra depth to the flavour. Works particularly well with mango and also cacao.
4. Add a superfood boost:
There are loads of different superfood powders to boost your smoothie, here a few of my favourites ones:
- Maca powder is good for stress and gives an energy boost, add 1 tbsp.
- Moringa powder provides a multi vitamin & mineral boost, add 2 tsp.
- Matcha powder is green tea extract and full of antioxidants plus it gives an energy boost, i use about 1/2 tsp.
- Chia seeds are high in protein and contain essential fatty acids but they tend to thicken up your smoothie so make sure you drink it straight away.
- Sprirulina – high in protein and anti inflammatory. This has a strong taste and can overide all the other tasty things in your smoothie, but its amazingly good for you. I recommend using this in a smoothie ‘shot’ – which is a small glass of coconut water blended with spirulina and parsley. A small and poweful punch of nutrients to start your day!
So now you have the formula for a perfect smoothie every time, get creative! Please share your creations with me by tagging me on instagram @catherine_arnold_nutrition. For more smoothie inspiration check out my recipes here.
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