Smoothies 101

Smoothies are my quick-fix meal for any time of the day – if I’m running out the door in the morning or on my way to an evening yoga class or event, making a solid smoothie that will satisfy your hunger and boost your energy only takes about 10 minutes. Plus, blended foods and drinks are easy on the digestive system.

SMOOTHIE BASICS:

Tip 1: Have ingredients on hand so that when you want to make a smoothie, it’s a breeze. I buy frozen fruit, or get discounted bruised fruit from the farmers’ market or grocery store to core, chop up and freeze in bags. Overripe brown bananas? Perfect.

Tip 2: “Chew” your smoothie, swirl it around your mouth. It’s important to give your mouth time to salivate and release important digestive enzymes. Chewing is the number one way to do this. Plus, studies have shown that the more we chew, the more satisfied our belly and body feels with the meal we’ve eaten.

Tip 3: Use frozen fruit instead of ice. This will keep your smoothie less watery and icy and more flavorful. Make it creamy with yogurt, coconut milk or avocado.

Tip 4: Use inexpensive juices or herbal teas as your liquid base instead of water. It’s important to have about a 1:1 ratio of liquids to solids for an easily drinkable, blend-able smoothie. Keep the flavors high with at least part juice or tea. Or, if using water, squeeze in the juice of a whole lemon or lime.

A lot of made-for-you smoothies and recipes focus exclusively on fruit. To me, this explains why we don’t often think of them as filling or satisfying. An all-fruit smoothie is extremely high-glycemic (meaning lots of sugar and carbs that will spike your blood sugar quickly, giving you a quick burst of fullness and energy, but that your body quickly digests, soon needing something more).

GET OUT YOUR BLENDER:

Choose 1-2 pieces of fruit: Apples, pears, peeled oranges/grapefruit or other citrus, berries, banana, peaches, mango, plums – I usually use a mix of frozen and fresh fruit, since I don’t like my smoothies super cold.

Choose a protein: Plain whole yogurt (no added sugar), nuts, seeds, chia, hemp, raw fresh organic egg, high-quality protein powder (beware of artificial additives and processing though!), plain tofu (all soy in moderation), milk/milk alternative

Adding fat for longer satiety: Coconut milk (since I usually only use a little bit at a time, I freeze the rest into cubes and store them in a freezer bag), nuts, yogurt, avocado

For extra nutrition, throw in something green or bulk it up with veggies: A handful of spinach, kale, collards, parsley, celery, fresh mint or basil (I loove adding herbs!).

Fun with flavors and super-foods: I love to add cinnamon and other sweet spices to my smoothies, as well as raw cacao powder for a chocolatey kick. There are all kinds of powdered super-foods out there that you can try adding to your smoothies: maca, acai, chlorella, green powders… see what you like and what works for your body.

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