As we look to ensure we are eating a nutritiously dense diet to get all our vitamins and minerals, consider the smoothie as a great way to pack a whole lot of goodness into your diet.
Here is some great advice and tips from Gillian Bogden at GB Wellness:
Anatomy of a Smoothie
Smoothie’s get a bad rap. And yet the benefits go far beyond “they are good for me”. Think food waste management, financial savings, convenience and of course, health.
So before your eyes glaze over, at least look at the list of benefits below, which highlight how smoothies have much more depth than we give them credit for.
Reasons I love my smoothie
- Uses up vegetables and fruit that are “on the verge”
- Leftovers serve as an easy pre-made snack during the day
- Knocks off MANY of the 7-9 servings of vegetables and some fruits we should be having a day
- Provides essential vitamins and minerals our bodies desperately need, that we may not get otherwise (for example, did you know kale is good for our eyes, with its high lutein content?)
- Utilizes “food” I would be otherwise throwing in the organic bin, such as cilantro and parsley stems, and broccoli stalks
- Uses up vegetables and fruit that I have previously frozen as they were “on the verge” and I couldn’t use them up immediately
- There is NO recipe to follow!!! You can add whatever you want.
- It’s FAST to make in the morning,
- It’s portable! A road trip staple for me (as are my mason jars)
So what do I consider essential ingredients?
For me, personally, at it’s most basic (when the fridge appears empty), I always seem to have the following:
- Greens (could be frozen, as I will freeze greens that are about to go bad)
- A fat*. This is KEY: either half an avocado (my “go to”, as it acts as a thickener), or hemp seeds, chia seeds, or some other fat such as nuts, dairy or coconut oil
- Banana (frozen if I don’t have fresh) or frozen fruit/berries or an apple or pear or orange… just something to sweeten it a bit
*We always need a fat, as this ensures the maximum absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E,K) from the other vegetables and fruits.
If my fridge and cupboards are full, the smoothie could include many of the following:
- Variety of greens*
- Half an avocado
- Carrot + celery stalk
- Celery leaves
- Parsley and/or cilantro
- Stems of parsley or cilantro, or a broccoli stalk
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh turmeric (add freshly ground black pepper if using… this makes the turmeric nutrients bioavailable (as does the fat))
- Fresh herbs, such as rosemary (its good for your brain), mint or basil
- Hemp seeds and/or chia seeds
- Freshly ground flax
- Yogurt, kefir or a splash of nut milk (on occasion)
- Ice cubes if you want it cold (I don’t bother)
*Greens could include: swiss chard, kale, spinach, beet, turnip, dandelion, arugula or any type of lettuce.
I could get into all the minerals and vitamins and other benefits about the above ingredients, but I know how my eyes glaze over when I see too many lists (I’ve already given you three)… suffice to say you are getting lots of nutrients. If you would like specifics, reply to this email and I will be happy to provide 🙂
In the meantime, here is a detailed list you can download and print off for suggested ingredients (broken into categories).
The biggest challenge?
Finding enough protein. Feel free to add protein powder, but for me that ruins the taste and in my mind, life is too short to eat things that taste bad.
Hemp and chia both contain protein, but not even close to the 25g or so that we should be getting.
So if I’m not pairing the smoothie with an egg or other protein alongside, I will usually add a combination of hemp, chia, nuts/seeds (it kills me to do this though, as I’d rather just eat them), nut milk or plain greek yogurt. On that note, if you have any other protein ideas, please share.
Finally – it’s fast. I can whip one of these babies up in under five minutes. Seriously – what is NOT to like about them?! Ha! My mum will for sure respond to that question, but she is coming around 😉 Add more fruit if they seem too green for you.
At least try it… you might like it .