You may have tried a smoothie in the past. Maybe smoothies are a big part of your food intake. You may have experienced the texture, the variety of flavours, colours and even gone further and bought a blender to prepare these at home. Whether you enjoy these frequently or once in a while – let’s chat about smoothies – Should we have smoothies? How often? Why? And what should they be made of to maximize their benefits?
A smoothie is a blended drink that normally contains a combination of fruits, vegetables, a preferred liquid (such as milk, water, etc.) and sometimes other ingredients.
To clarify, in this blog I will be referring to the smoothies that are made of wholesome products, as opposed to smoothies made of ice cream, or the ones containing high amounts of processed sugars or even alcohol.
You may have found yourself on a hot summer day wanting a cold slushy beverage while nurturing your body with some good nutrients, so you proceed to the next smoothie establishment and in minutes you have a cold, creamy, satisfying drink in your hand that you can take along with you on your walk, errands or while waiting for your child to finish their sports event.
Fibre is a very important part of a healthy food intake. We need enough fibre daily for healthy bowel movement, nutrient absorption and to feel fuller and satisfied. While juicing has many great benefits, it removes the fibre content of the produce we are using. Smoothies keep the fibre intact and can help us reach our daily fibre intake goal.
Not everyone meets the minimum recommended number of fruits and veggies we should consume daily. Throw into your blender your favourite combo of fruits, veggies and greens, and you just got yourself closer to the daily quota.
Busy schedule? No time to sit down and have a proper meal? A smoothie to the rescue! A few pieces of frozen fruits, maybe a handful of greens, a scoop of protein powder and you basically have a meal in a cup.
Can you really compare a sweet & slushy, artificially coloured and full of chemicals drink from a fast food or convenience store to a homemade smoothie? And maybe there are times for the not-so-good-for-us option. However, depending on the ingredients, you can make your own smoothie that can satisfy any sweet tooth. Kids and adults alike can enjoy a cup full a slushy drink made entirely of fruits! Better? Absolutely.
Chocolate? Vanilla? Fruity? Peanut butter? What is your favourite flavour? Smoothies can be made to fit our craving while nourishing and feeding our growling belly.
Smoothies are so versatile, we can make them taste however we want, or have them serve a different purpose each time. Need extra protein for the day? Add a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie. Didn’t have enough healthy fats today? Throw into your smoothie ½ an avocado, maybe a couple of walnuts or a teaspoon of coconut oil. No time for greens today? Toss a handful of spinach into your banana-pineapple mix and you’re good to go. The choices are endless.
While fruit smoothies are great, I personally see smoothies as an opportunity to give our body extra nutrients and maybe even add in some extra veggies to our daily intake.
We can easily make a smoothie extra nutritious by decreasing the number of fruits and replacing part of them with vegetables or leafy greens. The reason behind it is to allow our taste buds a break from overly sweet stimulation and to provide our body with extra nutrients from other ingredients than fruit.
There are a few ways to introduce more veggies and/or leafy greens into your smoothie:
There is no need to add 2 big handfuls of spinach to your smoothie and never have it again because it did not taste good. We should allow enough time for our taste buds to adjust to the new flavours. After all, we want to maintain a positive experience when drinking a smoothie. Start with a few leafy greens, ½ a cucumber or 1 stalk of celery and slowly increase the quantity when you feel ready.
You may not be a fan of some veggies but when they are “hidden” in a smoothie, you may not know they are there. For example, you will not be able to tell the difference if you add 1-2 frozen florets of cauliflower to your smoothie.
Sometimes you can do everything right and you still do not like the taste. Give it a couple more times and see if you can tolerate the new flavours as you have that smoothie again and again.
by adding more veggies or leafy greens to your smoothies, you are adding tons of great benefits and nutrients too. Remember that as you sip.