It’s that time again… Smoothie Season.
I’m not going to lie to you, each year when the smoothie recipes hit food blogs in full force, I cringe a little. I’ve told you before how I feel about smoothies and even backed that with science.
It’s not that I’m opposed to blending up a smooth sipper (clearly, I do it on occasion). It’s more the trendy nature of smoothies that frosts me.
Food trends and fad diets disturb me. They tend to be misleading, provide false hope to folks who really do need help and they don’t typically work for the long-term (that’s why they are trends and fads).
I stay true to what works for the long haul – the stuff that’ll get us down the path to optimal health and keep us there.
Now, some of you blend smoothies and juice year round. You do so sincerely, supporting your health, following no trend. In fact, I know at least one reader who transformed her health through green smoothies after a cancer diagnosis. I support that wholeheartedly. I say, keep blending!
Before you send me a nasty note telling me how wonderful smoothies are and how wrong you think I am, I encourage you to read the article linked above, “The Art of Chewing is Dead”.
Now that we’ve established we aren’t being trendy and we haven’t abandoned mastication, I have a few tips to help us blend a better smoothie the next time we need a quick snack, a meal replacement on the go, or when we just want to kick back and sip something refreshing and nutritious.
6 (Healthy) Smoothie Strategies You’ll Love!
1. Power up with Protein – Rely on nuts, seeds, nut or seed butter, or protein powder to enhance the protein content of your smoothie.
Protein combined with a complex carbohydrate (from fresh fruits and veggies) and healthy fat (from the nuts or seeds, or even avocado!) will make your smoothie a healthy meal replacement, not just another “sweet sipper”.
If you’re allergic to peanut butter or other nut butters like me, try making your own homemade Sunbutter (it’s simple and contains ONLY roasted sunflower seed kernels so we avoid excess sugar and added fat – both are totally unnecessary for making sunbutter at home) or give organic, no sweetener added Sunbutter a try!
When it comes to choosing a protein powder, many are free from dairy/whey/casein, soy-free, low-sugar, vegan, raw, etc. I share my pick in the “Notes” section for my Protein-Packed Mango Smoothie recipe.
Find a protein powder that works for you and your food allergies.
2. Fill up on Fiber – Flaxseed meal, chia seeds or coconut flour are great plant-based sources of fiber. Fiber keeps us feeling full longer and aids digestive health.
3. Banish Bananas – For those who are allergic to bananas (or those who simply do not care for them), use alternative ingredients to thicken up your smoothie. Depending on your specific tastes and dietary restrictions, try certified organic gluten-free oats, a bit of ripe avocado, frozen fruit (berries, melon, mango, etc.), yogurt (dairy- or plant-based) or even a bit of cooked cooled sweet potato or pumpkin to give your smoothie a bit of body.
4. Go Green – Avocados are a great option for smoothies because they lend silky texture, mild flavor and healthy fat. Try combos like avocado-banana or cocoa-avocado.
5. Veg Out – Don’t overlook veggies when looking for nutritious and tasty smoothie add-ins. For example, carrots add sweetness (try them with oranges, mango and ginger!) and kale adds a mild earthy flavor and bright green color (combine kale with pear, lime and banana).
6. Sow Your Oats – For a whole grain option, if you’re able to tolerate certified gluten-free oats, consider adding them to the blender along with fruit, veggies and liquid of choice. If you prefer, you can purchase pure certified gluten-free oat flour or gluten-free oat bran to bulk up your bevy.
Remember, keep your smoothies balanced and nutritious with these tips! The possibilities really are endless. What is YOUR favorite smoothie combo? Share it in the comments below so that others can give it a try!