Many people grab smoothies on the go. Not only are they pricey, but many are unfortunately made with sugary syrup rather than high-quality or nutritional ingredients. Here are six incredible tips to making a good-for-you smoothie at home. A DIY smoothie guarantees great flavors and that you are using the best ingredients available for your health.
Smoothies are popular beverages made by pureeing ingredients in a blender. They are often promoted as healthy drinks, but not all are worthy of that claim. The creamy liquid base of smoothies commonly consists of some type of milk, yogurt, or ice cream base. Water, ice, juice, or other liquid substitutes may also be used. For flavor and nutrition, a variety of ingredients get blended together, such as frozen or fresh fruits or vegetables, nutritional supplements, and more. Enjoy these six top tips:
- Skip the ice cream base. Instead, opt for protein-rich creamy Greek yogurt. This healthy yogurt contains nutrients such as vitamin B12, calcium, and selenium. Pay particular attention to the brand you use as they are not all equal. Things like fat and sugar content and nutrients may vary. Thus, consumers are urged to read nutritional labels.
- Avoid using fruit juice. Most fruit juices contain soaring amounts of sugar. This amount can rise even higher with the addition of more fruit. This translates into an unhealthy smoothie and higher caloric intake that can result in weight gain.
- Add an abundance of fresh green vegetables. Smoothies containing about 50% green vegetables are called green smoothies. This bright green drink is generally made with a variety of raw greens to include broccoli, celery, chard, collard greens, kale, parsley, spinach and more. Adding some sweet ingredients such as fresh pineapple can help reduce bitterness.
- Make a protein-rich smoothie. Protein is an important part of a healthy diet. It helps to increase muscle mass and strength and it’s good for bones. It’s also known to help with weight loss. Adding protein to the diet is beneficial for people who lack adequate intake. When adding a source of protein to a smoothie, experts explain that it slows the absorption of fruit sugar and lessens the rise in blood sugar. This may be beneficial for people with prediabetes or diabetes. However, consuming too much protein carries risks, so it’s all about balance.
- Customize your fruit smoothie with other healthy additions. Blueberries, strawberries, bananas, mangoes, pineapples, and other blend-worthy fruits are ideal for smoothies. Fruit smoothies are delicious, but they may also be paired with healthy veggies such as avocado, carrots, cucumbers, or leafy greens. If you wish to increase the sweetness of a smoothie, skip the table sugar. Consider using coconut milk or adding small amounts of all-natural honey or maple syrup. One may also add-in chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, and nut butter to up the power of smoothies.
- Spice it up! Basil, cinnamon, ginger, mint, parsley, and turmeric are just a few herbs and spices that can add tremendous flavor to a smoothie. Experiment by simply adding one to your regular smoothie or go full steam ahead using your favorite combo. Herbs and spices not only add flavor, color, and aroma, but many possess antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and other unique medicinal powers.
Smoothies are healthy drinks that are fun and easy to make at home. And, when healthfully balanced, may even be used as an occasional meal substitute. When preparing smoothies, some people insist on using frozen fruits and vegetables over fresh to gain a frothier texture. Additionally, the use of frozen fruits and veggies affords opportunities to enjoy flavors from out-of-season or hard-to-obtain produce. Though smoothies are often described as health drinks, they may or may not be. It all depends on what’s in it. The bottom line, not all smoothies are healthy. The best way to control what you’re consuming is to ask questions and understand what’s in it or prepare your own using healthy ingredients. As always, read labels, understand the nutritional value of your ingredients, and use safe amounts to maximize health benefits and minimize side effects. Regularly converse with your doctor or nutritionist about your diet, as what you eat directly affects your health and well-being.
This article is for general information only and is not intended as a medical resource or as a substitute for professional health advice.