How to make a healthy smoothie
Learn how to make a healthy smoothie without sacrificing taste or your health with too much sugar.
Photo credit: Benny Ottosson/Maskot/Getty Images
By now, you may have had a smoothie for breakfast or know someone who loves to start their day with a green smoothie.
When smoothies first came on the scene, Jamba Juice was the place to go. I remember having a few; the raspberry flavor was my favorite. I felt like I was having a healthier afternoon treat; they were delicious, but about an hour later I would have no energy, a headache and would be starving. I now know that what I was experiencing was a sugar crash.
Since smoothies are now more mainstream, we tend to think of them as being healthy despite what we are putting in them. I’ll help you learn how to make a healthy smoothie without sacrificing taste or your health with too much sugar with my five-step "build your smoothie" technique.
Start with greens
When you are building your smoothie, greens should be the base. Try to fill your blender more than halfway with greens. Spinach is the most neutral green and tastes like whatever else you put in the smoothie, so if you are a smoothie newbie, start with spinach. I like to put baby spinach, baby kale and baby Swiss chard into my green smoothies.
Greens are so important to add because most of us are not getting enough greens in our daily diet, and they are vital to our health. Greens give us energy, are full of calcium and other important nutrients and vitamins and they help cleanse our body of toxins. Adding greens to your smoothies is one of the best ways to get more greens into your diet. If you are a parent, this is also a good way to introduce more greens into your children’s diets.
Don’t worry; eating healthy fat is not going to cause you to gain weight. We need fat in order to feel satisfied for a longer period of time, plus it helps our brain focus so that we can have a productive day at work. Some of my favorite smoothie fats are avocados, almond or peanut butter, unsweetened shredded coconut, coconut oil or coconut butter. These healthy fats will give your smoothie more taste and texture, but you will also feel more nourished and satisfied and won’t be looking for more food.
Add in superfoods
Yes, spinach, kale and all greens are all superfoods but I love to add even more into my smoothies to get that extra boost of nutrients. A few of my favorites: maca powder, which helps balance our moods and our hormones; camu powder, which is one of the purest forms of Vitamin C so it's perfect to build up your immune system and cacao powder or cacao nibs, which are real chocolate. Cacao is full of iron and magnesium and so it is important to add in the week before your period to help keep your mood stable and PMS at bay. You can also add in chia and flax seeds for extra protein and omega-3s.
Be careful with too much fruit.
Many of us go a little overboard with fruit and tend to put more fruit than greens into our smoothie, which makes it more of a dessert rather than a healthy meal. Try to only use a little bit of fruit, so maybe a few berries instead of a cup. My favorite way to add a little sweetness into my smoothies is by using dates. One to two is usually enough to make it a little sweeter.
Spice up your smoothie
Spices are an easy way to add in more flavor to your smoothie. Cinnamon is a great spice to add to a smoothie, especially in the winter, since it helps warm up the body and is good for circulation. I like to put a dash of cinnamon into my smoothies. I also use fresh ginger and turmeric which help decrease inflammation in the body.
Be careful about sugar. Try to use water or ice instead of store-bought almond, rice, milk and coconut waters. Many of them have tons of extra sugar plus a lot of artificial flavors and processed ingredients that make them potentially harmful. If you don’t have time to make homemade almond or coconut milk, be sure to look for the unsweetened versions.
There you have it, how to create a healthy smoothie. Now it’s your time to create your healthy smoothie at home. Please share pictures and recipes once you’ve found your favorite concoction.