6 simple tricks to make your smoothies even better
The topic of smoothies has been coming up A LOT n my nutrition clinic so I thought it would be useful to share 6 simple ways you can make your smoothies healthier…without breaking the bank and forking out a load of money on ‘superfoods’.
Are smoothies good? Are they not? Should you just have whole food meals instead, rather than blended up fruits and veggies?
If you know me one bit, you’ll know I’m a HUGE fan of smoothies – they’re part of my breakfast 5 days out of 7 and I’ll often have a juice or a smoothie mid-afternoon as well as a pick-me-up if I’ve had a very go go go day!
I recommend them to many of my nutritional clients as well, for the reasons I’ll delve into now…
They’re quick to make and such a delicious and simple way to squeeze in a lot of nutrients when time is of the essence.
You can keep the majority of ingredients in the freezer or cupboard so it doesn’t require you to have fresh ingredients to create them, which let’s face, sometimes our fridges can look rather bare, especially if you’re nearing the end of the week and you’re not due a food shop for a day or two or you’re back from late-night meetings and you don’t have the energy to swing by a supermarket en route home.
In summary – it means you always have a meal you can whizz together, no matter the time or fridge situation.
However, not all smoothies are created equal.
Smoothies, especially ones you pick up at a supermarket or have made for you at a juice bar or restaurant are often loaded with ingredients abundant in sugar (albeit natural sugar), in order for them to “taste good” and for us to come back for more.
Today’s email is going to arm you with ideas so that next time you’re ordering a smoothie or making your own you can keep these simple tips in mind.
Before we delve in, let me clarify one point…
Sugar and carbohydrates from whole foods aren’t “bad”. My view is that there’s room for everything as long as it’s enjoyed in moderation but the danger with smoothies and juices is it can be SO ridiculously easy to overdose on sugar if you’re unaware of the sources (which are often a surprise to many).
The sugar content regardless of whether it’s from fruit or not can easily climb up to 50 g of sugar in some smoothies. If you’re an active person and you exercise, walk to work etc. then that’s not an issue, however most people drink a (sugar-filled) juice or smoothie thinking they’re choosing a “healthy option” and then spend a lot of time sat down which after weeks or months of enjoying that habit, is likely going to play havoc with their waistline and body composition.
The goal is to combine fruits with protein, fibre, vegetables (especially greens) and healthy fats so you have a balanced meal.
Here are some simple tips and tricks to down-level the sugar content of your smoothies effortlessly, whilst still keeping them tasting great.
Adding courgettes into smoothies is the most genius and creative way to get more veg into your body. They add fibre, potassium, manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A as well as a creamy texture to your smoothies.
They also have a very neutral taste so if you’re worried about them taking over your smoothie flavour-wise, panic not.
They are really easy to prep, chop them into chunks and put them in a freezer bag and then you can just throw in a couple of frozen courgette chunks into your blender, along with your other ingredients – this shaves off valuable time in the morning and means you don’t need a constant stock of fresh courgettes in your fridge – win-win.
This is my favourite fruit to add to smoothies, for its healthy fats, fibre and creaminess. They also contain vitamin E, K, potassium and folate.
Like I suggested with the courgettes, you can keep a stash of frozen avocados in your freezer; simply cut the avocado in two using a sharp knife, remove the stone and then scoop out the flesh from the skin using a large spoon.
Chop the flesh into 2-3 chunks for each half and store the avocado in a freezer bag. That way you don’t have to wait for the narrow perfect avocado window all the time!
3). SWITCH THE BASE TO WATER OR TEA
If you’re currently using a fruit juice as the base to your smoothie, switch this to filtered water, unsweetened almond or coconut milk or if you haven’t already tried it, try unsweetened green tea!
Green tea pairs really well with smoothies and you’ll also benefit from the antioxidants and bioflavonoids that are present in the tea! Brew a cup of tea and leave it in your fridge overnight so you can add it to your smoothie in the morning.
4). FROZEN PEAS
This is my husband’s favourite ingredient in his smoothie, whenever he makes them for me I know they’re in there somewhere!
Again, they’re flavourless but they’re an ingredient that is often in peoples freezers and they’ll add protein, vitamin K, manganese, dietary fibre, vitamin B1, copper, vitamin C, phosphorus and folate.
The addition of cucumbers is an amazing way to increase the water content of your smoothies since they’re such a high-liquid vegetable.
They also contain a good amount of fibre, polyphenols, vitamin C and antioxidants.
Top tip: choose organic when possible.
Beets are naturally sweet and they lend such an incredible ruby-red colour to the smoothie. They’re also high in vitamin C, folate, and manganese.
Top tip: chop up your raw beets into bite-sized chunks and freeze them. If you want to steam them for 15 minutes before freezing them then you can do, but I often just chop them up and put them straight in the freezer in my smoothie-devoted drawer.
I hope this inspiration helps, even if just one of the six tips above resonated with you then email me back and let me know which one. I love hearing from you and read every single reply that comes into my inbox!
Have a great rest of the week.