Spring brings a new batch of produce that is ripe and ready for fresh smoothie options. Each fruit and vegetable offers unique benefits essential for your body. Smoothies are a great way to hydrate yourself as the weather becomes warmer and more humid. It can also provide relief of ailments like dehydration, migraines, and digestion issues.
Whether you are making or buying a smoothie, keep in mind the amount of calories and sugar it contains. For those battling diabetes and metabolic conditions some smoothies can contain high amounts of sugar and be less beneficial than other food options. In this case, green smoothies are a great option as it is veggie-forward, containing less calories and grams of sugar but is packed with nutrients.
Here is a 5-step way to make a delicious and healthy smoothie:
1: Pick a base (typically 8 ounces)
- Water (such as filtered water or coconut water).
- Milk or a milk-milk-based alternative such as almond or coconut milk.
- Juice, but to minimize the sugar and calories content, simply substitute with water.
2: Pick your ingredients
- Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, tropical fruits and citrus fruits are all great choices. Feel free to mix and match.
- Vegetables: spinach, avocados, celery, kale, beets, and cucumbers all pair well with any fruit smoothie or alone as a green juice.
3: Add an extra boost
- Protein powder – a great way to increase your daily protein intake without eating a lot of volume and helps you feel full. Protein can come in a variety of flavors, vegan options, and no flavor.
- Chia seeds – 1.5 tablespoons a day can help stabilize blood sugar, is a great source of fiber, which helps you feel full, and has been found to reduce cholesterol levels.
- Turmeric – ~⅙ if a teaspoon has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cacao nibs – 3 tablespoons contain heart-healthy compounds and properties to boost your mood.
- Yogurt – Greek yogurt usually contains more protein than other types of yogurt. Caution in choosing flavored yogurts as they have more added sugar.
- Nut butter – peanut, almond, pistachio, and cashew to name a few. Nuts contain healthy fats and pack a lot of nutrients like vitamin E, phosphorus, and selenium.
4: Add ice or use frozen fruits and vegetables. During the hot days of summer, having a nice cold drink will be refreshing and hydrating by blending ice or pre-freezing your smoothie ingredients before making your smoothie.
5: Taste as you go. Sometimes adding a touch of honey or agave for sweetness, lemon juice for acidity, or more liquid can help balance out the flavors. Straining the pulp from the juice can give your smoothie a better texture.
Need some ideas? Here is a simple smoothie recipe our team made:
Banana chocolate smoothie
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 handful of spinach
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (about ⅓ of a cup)
- 8 ounces of almond milk
- ½ cup of ice
Blend for 20-30 seconds until smooth. Add 3 tablespoons of cacao nibs on top for an extra chocolatey flavor.
Enjoy! Send us your favorite smoothie ideas to our social media so we can share with our IIH community.