Smoothies 101

Hi everyone, I’m incredibly thrilled to be one of the contributors here on The Body Book blog a.k.a. OUR Body Book! My name is McKel– some of you may know me from Nutrition Stripped, my food blog with nourishing recipes and nutrition services.

I’m a Registered Dietitian, Health & Wellness Coach and food blogger who absolutely loves smoothies especially green ones. Today I’m going to share with you all some of my tips and tricks on how to make the perfect smoothie for a complete meal, snack or even dessert.

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So what’s all the buzz with smoothies?

Here are my TOP 10 reasons why smoothies can be an amazing addition to your diet:

  1. Easy to digest! Because these fruits and greens have been blended, the cell walls where nutrients are encased are then “broken” making the nutrients more readily available for use by the body. Think of it as being “pre-digested”
    • In some cases, this can be helpful for individuals who have compromised digestion or have a hard time “sneaking” in fruits and greens into their diet.
  2. Nutrient dense. Packed full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants, polyphenols, fiber, water, and oh did I mention fiber? Fiber is incredibly important to our digestive health and is one way our wonderful bodies detoxify, drinking smoothies may be one way to help support this natural detoxification process.
  3. Perfect first thing in the morning before your usual breakfast, as your breakfast, as a snack, or a dessert. You can simply increase the serving size to take place of a meal (up to 32 oz. or until you’re satisfied of course).
  4. Quick and easy. If you’re someone who is always on the go, this is a perfect way to ensure you’re getting a substantial amount of nutrient dense greens into your diet (which are so important!).
  5. Greens for the non-green lover. If you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy eating green leafy vegetables, this is a perfect way to “sneak” them into your diet.
  6. Parent approved. Smoothies are incredibly kid friendly!
    • Think of “naming” your child’s smoothie a special name that they can related to- for example “the Hulk”, “Ariel (Little Mermaid)”, “Spiderman”, etc. The point is if you show your kids that you’re having fun with it, they will to.
  7. Versatile. You can always add/remove ingredients to your liking. That’s why this is so easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.
    • For example, watching your sugar intake? Use lower sugar fruits like green apples and berries. Want to increase your protein? Include protein rich foods, protein powders, or nuts/seeds. Lower calorie? Use half the amount of fruits or fats. Higher calorie? Increase the amount of fruits and fats, etc.
  8. Filling. When making these as a meal, they’re incredibly filling; when making these for a snack, they’re perfect for holding your hunger over until your next meal.
  9. Energizing. Because these smoothies contain a large amount of greens, vegetables, and fruits into a small volume, it leaves your body nourished on a cellular level = energy to do what you love to do.
  10. And of course DELICIOUS!

Now that we’ve covered what all the buzz is about with smoothies, let’s move onto what makes the perfect smoothie. Smoothies can vary from person to person especially with your individual goals and taste preferences, keep in mind to add in what you love and keep out what you don’t!

How to Create a Custom Smoothie:

  • Greens // kale (purple, regular, dino), spinach, romaine, celery, swiss chard, rainbow chard, mustard greens, dandelion greens, wheatgrass, herbs such as mint, cilantro, parsley, and basil, etc.
  • Other veggies // cucumber, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, bell peppers, etc.
  • Fruits // bananas, apples, green apples, pears, kiwi, pineapple, peaches, mango, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, papaya, lemons, limes, grapefruit, orange, blood orange, figs, dates, plums, acai, etc.
    • Lower sugar fruits // berries, lemons, limes, cranberries, acai, goji berries, and green apples
  • Other carbohydrates // sprouted buckwheat groats, rolled oats, etc.
  • Proteins // plant-based protein powders (brown rice, pea, Sunwarrior, Vega, Garden of Life, etc.), hemp seeds, chia seeds, spirulina, nut butters, grass-fed whey protein powders, goats milk protein powders, etc.
  • Healthy fats // chia seeds, avocados, coconut oil, hemp seeds, nuts/seeds, young coconut meat, unsweetened coconut shreds
  • Sweets // honey, maple syrup, stevia, coconut nectar
  • Nutrient dense add-ons // bee pollen, maca powder, cocoa nibs, spirulina, chlorella, cinnamon, cayenne, coconut water, matcha tea powder, nut milks
  • Must haves: lemons! Lemons are a great way to hide any “green” taste in the smoothie, using ripe fruit also helps tremendously. If your smoothie still isn’t the right sweetness try adding natural stevia.

Smoothies for a meal or a snack, here’s how to build your own:

  • Meal = 2-3 cups of greens + 1 healthy fat + 1 carbohydrate (either fruits or others) + 1 protein
  • Snack = 1-2 cups of greens + 1/2 fruit + 1 protein OR 1 healthy fat

*this is a general guideline some of us may need more calories than others, but it’s a great way to start out!

Be sure to stay tuned for next week where I share an exclusive smoothie recipe just the Our Body Book community!

I hope you all enjoy these ideas, comment below and share your “recipe” for the perfect smoothie!

Eat well, live well, be well,

McKel

McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN

[Nutritionstripped.com]

Photos: Smoothie photo via Linda Wagner, other photos McKel Hill

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