Smoothies can be an incredibly delicious way to get a hit of nutrients, with the convenience of being quick and easy. They can actually mimic all the components of a balanced plant-based meal which includes carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, and grains for energy and antioxidants, protein for muscle repair, and healthy fats for satiety and absorption of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K.
It seems like the possibility of flavor combinations are endless when it comes to smoothies, but have you ever wondered how to make a healthy smoothie? Let’s look into it!
5 Tips on How to Make a Healthy Smoothie:
1. Choose fruit instead of fruit juice
Let’s be honest, what would a smoothie be without fruit? Fruit adds natural sweetness to smoothies, while providing energy and antioxidants. However, try to choose whole fruit rather than fruit juice as often as possible. Whole fruit provides all of the nutrients and fiber, which keeps us fuller for longer. Store bought fruit juice may sometimes contain added sugars, however, it contains natural sugars without beneficial fiber and nutrients from whole fruit. In other words, it won’t have the same beneficial effects as a whole fruit. Fruits such as strawberries and blueberries are a source of antioxidants and delicious additives to smoothies!
2. Add a source of healthy fats!
Healthy fats are essential for proper brain, heart and immune function. Some food sources of healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, are also good sources of fiber and protein. Including just 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed or chia seeds or ¼ cup of hemp seeds provides enough omega-3 fats for the average man and more than enough for the average woman per day (source 3).
3. Add a protein punch!
Adding a source of protein to smoothies will help you to stay fuller for longer and contribute towards your daily protein needs. Try adding a spoonful of nut butter or ¼ cup edamame beans for 3-5 grams of protein, or ¼ cup hemp seeds or ¼ block of silken tofu for around 10 grams of protein.
4. Make it a green smoothie
Incorporating greens into a smoothie is an easy way to get an extra kick of calcium, vitamin A and vitamin C. If you’re not a fan of leafy greens, make sure to add fruit to your smoothie as it typically masks the taste, giving you all the benefits of the greens without the flavor!
If you’re apprehensive, start with a small amount of a tender leafy green like spinach and work your way up to a heartier green like kale! Try adding a handful of frozen or fresh spinach into your smoothie with dark berries and you’ll be surprised to find that you don’t quite taste or see the greens.
5. Add a source of calcium to the smoothie
Calcium is an essential nutrient and one that can sometimes be overlooked when following a plant-based diet. Calcium strengthens our bones and teeth as well as plays an important role in blood clotting, muscle contraction (think heart!), and blood flow (3).
Many types of plant-based milks such as almond, coconut, etc. are fortified with calcium, making them an excellent choice for smoothies! Fortified soy milk acts as a double whammy, giving you 45% of daily calcium (450 mg calcium) and 8 grams of protein. Check the nutrition facts label to ensure the plant-based milk has been fortified.
So there you have it, 5 tips on how to make a healthy smoothie! Incorporating these tips into your regular routine will help you make a balanced smoothie for your next meal or snack!
What’s your favorite smoothie combination? Let us know in the comments down below!
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- Davis B, Melina V. Becoming Vegan. Book Pub. Co.; 2000.