The perfect smoothie. It’s easy, it’s healthy and it tastes amazing!
Smoothies are an excellent way of meeting the recommended daily allowances for important nutrients like iron, calcium, amino acids and omega 3s. Another beautiful thing about smoothies is that they are incredibly easy to make, yet have a wide range of health benefits.
Health Benefits of Smoothies
- Natural Weight Loss: Smoothies can help with weight loss because they are cleansing, energizing, and keep your body healthy by providing everything needed to function properly. Some smoothie ingredients can also help boost your metabolism.
- Packed with Nutrients: Depending on how you make your smoothie, it can provide antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals like calcium and iron, and many other nutrients. Because the fruits and veggies in the smoothie are broken down by blending, it is also easier for the body to absorb these nutrients.
- Makes It Easy to Eat Your Greens: If you don’t like eating vegetables, then you can add them to a smoothie. Over a cup of greens (like spinach) can easily go into a smoothie without overpowering the taste.
- Improved Energy: Because smoothies are so nutrient dense, they help keep your energy levels high. Consider having a smoothie instead of your morning coffee!
- Antioxidant Boost: Smoothies usually contain fruits which are packed with antioxidants, such as blueberries or raspberries. Antioxidants help keep your immune system strong, fight cancer, and reduce inflammation.
How to Make the Perfect Smoothie
If you want to get health benefits from smoothies, then you need to make them with the right combination of ingredients. This does NOT, however, mean that you must follow a prescribed recipe for a smoothie. You simply need the simple, essential components on hand that go into a perfect smoothie, and you can customize to your taste and goals.
1. Liquid Base
For starters, you need to have a liquid base for your smoothie. The most common choices are milks (including dairy, soy, or nut milks) or a juice. If you use store-bought juice for your smoothie base, just make sure that it is 100% juice with no sugar added. Along with milk and juices, you can also get creative with bases like coconut water, yogurt, or tea.
2. Thick Base Fruit
Part of what makes smoothies so good and satisfying is their creaminess. To get that great smoothie texture, you want to use a thick, creamy fruit as part of the base. Bananas are a common choice because they are cheap and available year round. For more exciting smoothies, consider fruits like avocados, melons, apples, pears, or coconut meat.
Yes, adding greens to your smoothies may sound gross. However, the other ingredients hide the bitterness of the greens so the smoothie still tastes delicious. Spinach is particularly good in smoothies because it blends down so well. With tougher greens like kale or beet tops, you may need to cut them up into pieces first if your blender isn’t very powerful. Spirulina is also a good choice for green smoothies and is available in powder form.
Protein is not only good for your muscles and cells, but it also helps you feel full longer. You can easily add proteins like nut butters (almond butter is great) to a smoothie. There are also many protein powders which blend up well in smoothies. (We recommend these Herbalife shake recipes.)
5. Frozen Fruit
The sweetness of fruit is what makes a smoothie such a tasty treat, and the fruit is also what provides a mega dose of fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, and other nutrients. Choose fruits that are packed with flavor, such as berries, mangos, or kiwi. Tip: Using frozen fruits in your smoothie makes it nice and cold without being too icy-cold.
Optional Smoothie Additions
Once you get the five core ingredients of a perfect smoothie down pat, you can start experimenting with add-ons. Spices like cardamom and cinnamon go great in smoothies, as do ingredients like maca root and cacao powder. For a dose of Omega 3 fatty acids, add some flax seed powder or flax oil to the smoothie. Or for a little shot in the arm, adding chili powder gives your smoothie a kick and can help weight loss by boosting metabolism.
Have a favorite smoothie recipe? Share it!