Tips for making healthy smoothies

Smoothies are awesome because you can really pack a nutritious meal into one little cup. Given that you use the proper ingredients, smoothies can deliver sustainable energy for 4 hours or more!!
That is, if you make it right. 

So here are few tips to make healthy smoothies that will fill you up, deliver the most nutrients possible, and satisfy your taste buds:

Tip #1: NO JUICE!

Juice is totally unnecessary when it comes to smoothies (if it's not a fresh pressed vegetable/fruit juice). The juice that you buy at the store in those Tetra Paks is pure glucose and fructose.. a.k.a SUGAR! All of the nutrients in it have depleted, and it's providing you with nothing but tons of sugar.

So when the bottle says that it has 100% of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, it's lying to you. That percentage was taken when it was fresh and first bottled, and hasn't taken into account that many vitamins, minerals, and natural enzymes deplete over time. Do YOU know when that juice was fresh and bottled? Because I sure don't!

Instead of adding juice, add fresh fruit that is juicy such as oranges, mangos, pineapples, or fresh squeezed lemon juice. You will also need to add a bit of liquid so I like to add pure water, or UNSWEETENED nut milk. Notice how I capitalized the unsweetened? Make sure that its unsweetened, or else you're simply adding unnecessary sugar into your smoothie.


Tip #2: Add fibre, protein and fat!

By adding fibre, protein, and fat to your smoothie concoction, it slows down the rate at which the sugar is digested. This means, it will reduce the chance of your blood sugar spiking that will lead to a crash an hour or 2 later. Even though smoothies are generally healthy, they are a high source of sugar depending on what ingredients you use (especially first thing in the morning if it's your breaky).

Here's what to do:

• Before you start putting all of your ingredients for the smoothie in the blender, put 1-2 tbsps of flax or chia seeds in and and grind into a powder. This will break through the protective barrier of the seed which will make the delicate oils available, while still getting the fibre. I always suggest grinding your own flax and chia seeds instead of buying them ground, to ensure that the oils are not rancid.

• Keep ripe avocados on hand! I like to use at least half an avocado in each smoothie I make. It doesn't add much of a flavour, but makes a HUGE difference texture-wise. It gives the smoothie a very cream-like texture which is quite lovely! I also like adding plain coconut yogurt to my smoothies as it has everything in it: healthy fats, protein, and fibre.

• Try adding some raw nuts to your smoothie. I like adding brazil nuts because they are very rich in Selenium (a mineral and antioxidant). You can also use nut butter such as almond or peanut butter!

** If you're using nuts, try to make sure that they are soaked so that they are easily digested.

• I like having a good quality protein supplement on hand. Make sure that whatever brand you use, it's free from artificial flavours, sweeteners, colours, and anything "modified". Some of the common additives in proteins are (but are not limited to): Aspartame, Acesulfame Potassium, Sucralose, and artificial red, blue, and yellow dyes. Soy is also a very common filler which is probably GMO unless otherwise stated. I've even seen corn starch in protein supplements... Avoid these things as they are completely unnecessary. Good brands that I like to use are: Progressive, Vega, PVL, InterActive Nutrition, and Manitoba Harvest.

**If using whey protein, make sure that the cows are free of hormones and antibiotics (New Zealand whey is the best quality).


Tip #3: Add vegetables.

Yup. I said it... Add vegetables!

Sneak raw leafy greens into your diet anyway you can. They're very detoxifying and health promoting! If your having a smoothie, why not hide a salad in there too?

I like using greens like spinach, kale (if your blender is good enough to really break it down), romaine lettuce, parsley, and/or collard greens. If you have a juicer, I also like to use fresh pressed juices in my smoothie to make it REALLY nutrient dense!


Tip #4: Add spices 

Adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger is a great way to add some more nutrients and enhance flavour. You'd be surprised at how better a smoothie (or anything for that matter) tastes when you add some simple spices.


Tip #5: Chew your smoothies

I know this sounds weird..

I told my boyfriend this and he said to me "There's nothing to chew. Thats why it's called a SMOOTHie.". Well then.... tough guy.

When you chew your food, it activates salivary amylase in the mouth which is the first stage of digestion. The amylase starts to breakdown the carbohydrates in the mouth, and sends a signal to the stomach saying "Hey dude! Prepare for food!". So when you chew your smoothie, you are being very polite to your digestion system.

Your digestive system loves you.. love it back!

 Chew your food. Even if it's a SMOOTHie.

_____________

So now that you've read some of my tips to create your own healthy smoothie, here are just a few smoothie recipes that I've decided to share with you!

Keep in mind that smoothies are different every time, and feel free to adjust some of the ingredients to adjust to your liking.

Orange Greensicle
Greena Colada
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go









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