Have you ever experimented with smoothie making? There’s really no wrong way to blend a smoothie. Whether you're just transitioning to a healthier way of eating, or if you're already on a good track with your diet and just need some fresh ideas, smoothies are one of the fastest, easiest and most delicious ways to get a whole lot of nutrients without even realizing it.
So, how do you get started? The first thing you’ll need is a blender. You don’t need powerhouse blenders like Vitamix or Blendtec, though they will definitely make things a whole lot easier. More economical blenders such as Ninja and Nutribullet will do the trick as well, so find the blender that works for you and your budget.
While there are endless smoothie combinations, there is a simple formula you can follow for optimal success. The first step is to remember my usual "meal math equation" below when you consider how you're putting ingredients together to make sure they are all included. By following this rule of thumb, you'll avoid the common blood sugar spikes and crashes that can occur when you eat smoothies that may appear healthy, but when you consider the nutritional profile, really aren't any better than a candy bar.
Protein + Fat + Carbohydrates (veggies first then fruits) = Balanced Blood Sugar
Then, blend the perfect balance by using these 5 factors to a fantastic smoothie below and download my detailed How to Build the Perfect Smoothie Guide to expand your horizons!
Greens & Veggies (1-2 cups)
Greens are key when creating the perfect healthy smoothie. When picking leafy greens, go dark. The darker leaves usually indicate more nutrition. You can always start with baby greens for a milder taste and easier blending. Or, like the recipe I have for a Vanilla "Milkshake", you can even add veggies like riced cauliflower, zucchini, sweet potato, pumpkin or squash and this not only adds bulk but loads of antioxidents, fiber and micronutrients too!
Fruits (optional - 1 cup)
This is how you naturally sweeten up your blend. Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that are typically underconsumed in the US diet, including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid). You can even add dried fruit like dried figs, dates or gogi berries for naturally added sweetness (just keep these portions low because dried fruit is much higher in sugar than fresh.) Frozen fruit - especially bananas - add pleasing creaminess and bulk to the average smoothie. Even though fruit is healthy, remember you don't need a lot of fruit for sweetness if you're keeping your carbohydrates and sugars low. Worried about sugar? There are lower sugar fruit options like berries, or my favorite fruit of all - AVOCADO!
Liquids (1-2 cups)
Liquids are essential for making your veggie and fruit mix drinkable. Stick with 1 to 2 cups of water, unsweetened nut milks, coconut water, or even freshly brewed tea or iced coffee. Stay away from juices from concentrate as they have a lot of added sugars.
Healthy Fat and Creaminess (1-2 Tbsp. or 2-4 oz.)
Take your smoothie from a slushy to a creamy treat with these key ingredients. Don't fear fat - it's necessary to balance your blood sugar and to keep you satiated. Avocados, coconut oil, MCT oil, coconut meat, raw cacao butter, raw nuts like raw cashews, butters like almond butter, coconut butter, tahini, and shelled raw seeds like hemp seed hearts will all add a little extra creamy texture with healthy fat to your smoothies.
Boosters (to taste)
This is where we separate the basic smoothies from the nutrient-packed superfood smoothies. Typically, you need about a tablespoon or two of these boosters. Start basic: Chia seeds, flaxseeds, and unsweetened flaked coconut are great gateway boosters. Feeling adventurous? Sprinkle in some maqui, raw cacao, or matcha powder in with your next blend.
One of the most confusing components of a smoothie is protein since there are so many options for protein powders and some are good and some are not-so-good. Generally speaking, it's best to avoid soy protein powders because in this processed form they are from GMO crops and soy is a widely controversial food that can be beneficial in fermented forms but problematic for people with certain health conditions. Even for those with a dairy intolerance, 100% grass-fed whey protein powder can be a good option, but my preferred #1 protein supplement is Collagen Peptides for their versatility and additional nutritional benefits for joints, hair, skin, nails and gut health. That's why I've partnered with two companies - Vital Proteins and Further Food - to give you options to make Collagen Peptides a part of your daily diet.
Finally, what about added sugars and artificial sweeteners? I tend to avoid consuming too many artificial sweeteners for various reasons that I talk about in my 21-Day Sugar Detox Program, but they can trigger sweet cravings, so I personally prefer to not add any sugar (even natural sugars like honey or maple syrup) to my smoothie blends and instead get my sweetness from veggies and a little fruit. Try it and see how you like it...your tastebuds might be surprised!
If this seems overwhelming, don't sweat it. I've partnered with Green Blender, a really cool company who can give you all the ingredients to make perfectly balanced smoothies delivered right to your doorstep. All you have to do is blend. Sign up today and save $20 with the MyHealthyTransitions Gift Coupon Code: HEALTHYES
Tag me on social media at MyHealthyTransitions Health Coaching on Facebook or myhealthytransitions on Instagram when you're blending your next smoothie with the ideas in my FREE HOW TO BUILD A PERFECT SMOOTHIE GUIDE! DOWNLOAD IT HERE!