Smoothies! I think it is safe to say that most of us have had some experience with smoothies, whether good or bad, but I'd like to think the experiences for most of us were good. I have no idea when I had my first smoothie or how, but when you start embarking on a journey of being conscious of the food you put in your body, smoothies always find a way to surface as either a breakfast replacement or snack.
Smoothies look very simple to make, and I guess they are, but the point of this blog is to show you how to make healthy smoothies cause trust me, not all smoothies are healthy and nutritiously dense
Benefits of smoothies
smoothies are an excellent way for you to:
- Pack as much nutrition into one meal as possible
- Increase your fiber intake & help with bowel movement (aka constipation)
- Reduce your calorie intake as it can be used as a meal replacement if made correctly (weightloss)
And the list goes on, but most importantly, they are also straightforward and quick to make; my go-to, especially when I am lazy to cook. Now that we are on the same page let us get to the tips & tricks.
Frozen vs. fresh fruits
Does it matter which you use? The answer is no; it doesn't. It depends on what you like. I love my smoothies cold, winter or summer. So, I always prefer frozen fruits for smoothies vs. fresh fruit, but I have my reason. For starters, frozen fruits are friendlier on the budget than fresh fruits. Fresh fruits are more expensive and don't last long in the fridge. Yes, you can freeze them yourself, but I prefer not to go through all that drama to buy the frozen fruits. So, I always look for a local business that sells frozen fruit. I currently get my stock from Berrylady.
A disadvantage of using frozen fruits comes to play when you have a budget blender. Those usually can't blend frozen fruits smoothly (incomplete blending). This applies to any ingredient that is a bit hard, including nuts, so for best results, Mix frozen and fresh fruits but if your blender struggles to blend anything frozen, use fresh fruit with a few ice cubes.
Add nut butter
Depending on which nut butter you use for your smoothie, it could help add creaminess, flavor, or nutrition such as healthy fats & protein, especially if you don't prefer protein powders. Some of my favorite nut butter's to use in smoothies are as follow:
- Peanut butter: I love the taste (especially for peanut butter bomb smoothies)
- Almond nut butter: I use it when I want nuts in the smoothie, but at the same time don't want the nut butter to overpower the taste in the smoothie.
- Cashew nut butter: I love it because it adds creaminess to the smoothie.
Seeds are packed with fiber, protein, and vitamins. I add them cause I find that they act as fillers and help me stay fuller for longer. The bonus benefit for me, though, is that seeds don't have a taste. This means you can experiment with as many without the fear of ruining the taste of your smoothie. If you have a good blender, you can use whole seeds to make your smoothies but if you don't, buy grounded seeds to use in smoothies for the best results. Here is a few examples of the seeds I usually use:
- Chia seeds
- hemp seeds
- flax seeds
- poppy seeds
- pumpkin seeds
- sunflower seeds
Add a blending liquid.
A blending liquid is any liquid you add that will help blend the solid ingredients—for example, water. Blending liquids also help with the runniness of the smoothie. Your smoothie will be very runny if you add too much, but you can fix this by adding thickeners. If you add too little, it's no longer a smoothie but a smoothie bowl. I would also advise you to make sure that the liquids you add are either unsweetened or have not added sugar. Most of the time, your smoothie would already have a sweetener in it. Adding sweetened beverages will increase the total sugar content of your smoothie and potentially also increase the calories. Here is a list of blending liquids I use when I make my smoothies:
- Coconut water
- Milk (plant-based)
- cold press juices
Don't get too excited; the only sweetener in a healthy smoothie is fruits. Never add sugar or honey. Although I see many people add honey to their smoothies, I would only ever use honey if it is raw and straight from the source cause then it has medicinal properties and contains good bacteria. Other than that, you are just adding sugar. So here are my top 3 sweeteners to use:
- Ripe bananas
- Other fruits
Blend in stages
Blend in stages or layer your ingredients correctly if you want a smoother smoothie outcome. If you start by adding frozen fruits to your blending first, it might take forever for you to finish making your smoothie, especially if the blades are struggling to blend it. I always start adding the water first into the blender instead of all ingredients. If you add your ingredients before water, the bottom of the blender (where the blade is) might be void of liquids, especially if you have powders in your smoothie. I then add softer ingredients such as leafy greens or non-frozen fruits. That way, the blades can get through these quickly and create or allow more liquids to reach the blade. All frozen or hard fruits I keep towards the top. You can also blend soft and hard ingredients separately and combine once blended.
I could go on and on, but ill leave you with these last few tips:
- Add oats to your smoothies for fiber. It is also a superb thickener.
- Frozen cauliflower is a great ice replacement; it has added benefits.
- Add avocado or plain yogurt to make your smoothie creamy.
- Invest in a good blender, so you don't have to replace your blender every other year.
- Avoid making fruit-only smoothies. Add veggies such as leafy greens.
- Use high water content fruits & veg in your smoothies.
I have a lot of smoothie recipes on my blog. Make sure to try them out.