As we enter Summer, smoothies become more popular in our household. They are fresh, filling, and versatile as breakfast, light lunch, a snack after summer school or before swimming, or even at bedtime when we stay up a little longer than winter. They are also a great treat if your child is like mine and constantly asking for ice cream in summer! However not all smoothies are nutritious so I have created this guide for those of you who are still starting off in this field. You can also watch my YouTube video here
Why do you want to make a smoothie?
Some are under the impression that a smoothie is a “diet drink” or way to lose weight, whereas in reality a smoothie still has a considerable amount of calories inside it. So losing weight will still depend on what else you consume throughout the day. Smoothies are also high in sugars, because when you blend a fruit, the natural sugars are released from the cell walls and become free sugars. It is important to balance this out with some protein or healthy fat.
A smoothie has a low satiety factor: if you eat the individual fruit and vegetables in their original form, they will fill you up more and for a longer time. Digesting whole foods begins with chewing, and when you blend food, you are skipping this step and taking food directly into the stomach. In fact, you can feel bloated after a smoothie.
So when is a smoothie a good idea?
- If you don’t have time for breakfast and the alternative would be e.g. a packaged cereal which is high in sugar.
- If you or your child are not getting enough fruit and vegetables in your diet or there are particular foods that you wouldn’t eat whole
- To cut down on junk food / ice cream / sweets and take a smoothie as a treat
- As a protein shake after a workout
What makes a nutritious smoothie?
The key is to strike the right balance of fruit, veg, protein and fat. And you can do this by following these 4 simple steps:
- Step 1 – Choose a base
This is the liquid. Try and avoid sugary liquids like juice. Here are some ideas:
- Step 2 – Add your fruit and vegetables
Ideally you would add at least 2. These can be fresh or frozen. Freeze your bananas when they are turning too ripe to have them ready for your smoothie
- Step 3 – Thicken it up
If you are including a frozen banana you might not need to thicken it, however this component can add some protein and healthy fat to balance out the sugars
- Step 4 – Flavour it
- Optional Step 5 - additions
You could give a boost to your smoothie by adding these nutritious super-foods:
All you have to do is put your chosen ingredients into a high-power blender in the order shown above, and blend until smooth.
Links to some ideas
Some other combinations:
- Banana, orange, Greek yoghurt, vanilla, milk, maple syrup
- My daughter’s favourite: banana, cocoa powder, peanut butter, vanilla, almond milk.
- 2 banana, pineapple, coconut milk, honey/maple syrup
- 2 kiwi, baby spinach, canned pears, frozen strawberries, nut milk, optional Greek yoghurt or chia seeds or protein powder
- Frozen peaches, raw almonds, medjool dates, water, vanilla
Tag us or let us know if you try any of them out! :)