The concept of a smoothie is simple – throw fruits and vegetables into a blender, add liquid and blend with ice. Sounds healthy, right? Not always. What started as a cold concoction for health food connoisseurs has now become a mainstream meal replacement option with endless ingredients, many of which can add unnecessary calories to your diet. Here’s what you need to know about smoothies, including what to include to make them healthy and what ingredients to omit.
What is a smoothie?
A smoothie is a thick, blended drink with fruits and vegetables. Although it closely resembles a milkshake, the use of fruits and vegetables (versus ice cream or milk) is what sets a smoothie apart from the popular dessert.
The smoothie’s place in American culinary history coincided with the invention of the blender in the 1930s. Back then, the list of ingredients was simple: fruit, juice, and ice.
It wasn’t until the 1970s that smoothies came to market with the opening of Smoothie King, a private smoothie company that blended yogurt, protein powder, fruit and vitamins. In the 1980s and 1990s, the concept of smoothies was heavily commercialized, appearing on grocery store shelves and in local coffee shops.
What to put in a smoothie?
There are three main components in a smoothie:
- A liquid (usually juice, milk, or water)
- Fruits or vegetables
From there, you can get creative with making your smoothie. Here is an overview of some of the most common ingredients to use.
- Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Citrus (Oranges, lemons, limes)
- Stone fruits (apricots, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, plums)
- Tropical fruits (guavas, kiwis, passion fruit, papayas, pineapple)
- protein powder
- Cocoa powder without sugar
- Peanut butter powder
- Fruit juice (limited to ½ cup)
- coconut water
- Non-dairy milk (almond, oat, pea, soy)
Non-dairy protein alternatives
Milk (8 grams of protein per cup) and Greek yogurt (16 grams of protein per ¾ cup) contain protein needed to build tissue and serve as an energy source. But whether it’s lactose intolerance or a milk allergy, not everyone can consume these popular smoothie ingredients.
As an alternative, here are three options that contain fat, fiber and protein that will give you energy and help you feel full:
- Nut butters (almond, cashew, hazelnut, pistachio, pecan, walnut)
- Chia seeds
How to make healthy smoothies
Liquids, such as smoothies, can also be a sneaky source of calories, as they don’t quite fill you up like solid foods and can easily be consumed in larger quantities.
Try to keep your smoothie around 300-400 calories – portion size is the key to the difference between a healthy smoothie and an ice-cold drink that will boost your waistline.
When making your smoothie, put your liquid and fruits and vegetables first. Ice goes last to avoid taking up too much space in the blender.
Here are some tips for keeping your smoothies healthy:
Limit fruit to 1 cup: Although fruit is good for your health, it still contains calories and natural sugars that can overwhelm you. Beware of overloading your blender with too much fruit, especially if you’re using multiple kinds.
Add a handful of green vegetables: Kale and spinach contain dietary fiber that may help you feel full longer.
Low-fat liquids are your friend: Skim milk, coconut water, and unsweetened almond or soy milk are great options that don’t add too many calories.
Use Greek yogurt to add protein: Greek yogurt is a good source of protein, although you should limit the serving size to no more than one cup. If you skip the yogurt, add unsweetened protein powder.
Enhance flavors with spices: Ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, and vanilla extract all add flavor without the extra calories. Avoid sweeteners, especially those that may seem healthy (maple syrup, honey, agave, coconut sugar, etc.)
Make it a complete meal with fat: Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins and have antioxidant properties, but a smoothie that lacks protein or fat may not satisfy you for long. Add ¼ of an avocado, a tablespoon of your favorite nut butter, or a tablespoon of flaxseeds or chia seeds to get your money’s worth.
Healthy Smoothie Recipes
Blackberry Lime Smoothie
Whether it’s strawberries and lemons or blueberries and lemons, berries and citrus tend to go well together. For this smoothie, blackberries combine with limes to form a tasty tandem. The addition of Greek yogurt for protein and frozen banana as a thickening agent completes this smoothie.
Don’t be put off by the green color of this smoothie. Yes, the greens help fill you up, but the spinach is mild enough to let the tropical flavors shine through (mango and coconut). Add a squeeze of lime and this smoothie will remind you of the beach without the guilt.
Creamy Orange Mango Smoothie
Creamsicles are a quintessential summertime treat, combining the lemony flavor of orange with the soft, creamy texture of vanilla ice cream. But there’s a reason they taste so good: They’re loaded with saturated fats and added sugars. This healthier version of the smoothie features Cara Cara oranges, which are naturally sweetened, plus vanilla from sugar-free protein powder.
Creamy avocado smoothie
Known as the star of guacamole, avocados are actually an ideal ingredient for smoothies. For starters, they’re full of good fats, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Plus, they help create a smooth, velvety texture. Adding bananas, pineapple and apples provides natural sweetness, while baby greens (spinach or kale) add even more vitamins (vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K).
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
This recipe turns a fattening dessert (chocolate peanut butter shake) into a healthier, less guilt-inducing drink. Although it’s hard to imitate the real thing, unsweetened cocoa powder, vanilla almond milk and frozen banana help form a chocolaty mixture, while peanut butter adds fat and flair. the taste. For even more peanut butter punch, you can also add a scoop of peanut butter powder.
Answer common questions about smoothies
If you’re new to the smoothie scene, we’ve compiled several common questions about making and storing smoothies.
How long do smoothies last in the fridge?
When making a large batch of smoothies, you can store them in the refrigerator for up to two days. You can also freeze them for several months.
Why is my smoothie so frothy?
After blending your smoothie, you may notice foaming on the top layer of your drink. This foam comes from insoluble fiber found in many fruits and vegetables. These fibers do not dissolve in water and remain separated. There’s nothing wrong with this foam, though. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool to help it pass through your intestines.
Can you make smoothies in a food processor?
Just because you don’t have a blender doesn’t mean you can’t make a smoothie. A food processor will work great for blending your ingredients.
How to make a smoothie thicker
There are many ways to create a thicker smoothie. The easiest way is to freeze your fruit or buy it prepackaged from the frozen food section of your local grocery store. Fruits high in soluble fiber, such as bananas, mangoes, peaches and avocados, act as natural thickeners. When broken down, soluble fiber mixes with water to form a gel-like consistency.
You can also add grains (oats) or seeds (flaxseeds/chia seeds) to add texture. These ingredients are also full of soluble fiber. For flaxseeds and chia seeds, soak them in water beforehand to help activate the starches.
For more healthy lifestyle tips and information on wellness trends, visit INTEGRIS Health For you Blog.