Have you ever had a smoothie in the morning and felt great for one or two hours, and then are suddenly starving and it’s not even halfway through the morning?
This is because although smoothies are healthy and filling in the short-term, they often don’t contain enough protein or fat to balance the carbohydrates found in the fruits. The trick to the perfect smoothie is the right balance of fruits and veggies, good fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Fruit is the base of any smoothie, adding flavour and sweetness. Common fruits are banana and fresh or frozen berries. If you prefer less sweet, try grapefruit or raspberries or tart cherries. If smoothies are your treat, that's ok, fill it with fruit. But when it comes
to making a smoothie as a meal replacement, make sure to always add lots of protein and fat!
Protein is extremely important, especially in the morning when the body needs lots of energy to get going. To add some extra protein to your smoothie you can add
2 Tablespoons of nut butter or a quality protein powder to help offset the carbohydrates. Raw rice protein is a great option, particularly if your not consuming dairy. One scoop contains 20 g of protein compared to 4 g of protein in 2 Tablespoons of almond butter. If you opt for the protein powder, you can still use nut butter as an additional fat source and not as a main protein source.
Fat is an often overlooked but extremely important part of a healthy breakfast. Contrary to popular belief fat does not actually make us fat, and we need lots of healthy fats in our diet to maintain a healthy blood sugar balance and appetite throughout the day. Good sources of fat are 1/2-1 full avocado or 1/2 a can of coconut milk. The avocado blends well and gives it a nice silky texture. Adding coconut milk can give your smoothie a more tropical taste as well as a creaminess you can’t get from only fruit. You can also try adding 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil, although it hardens when it’s cold so it won’t blend as well as coconut milk or avocado will. You can also toss in some chia seeds for healthy fat and extra fibre.
Veggies are a great way to bulk up your smoothie without adding a ton of
carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are not bad, but when it comes to
smoothies it’s easy to throw in tons of fruit without realizing that if it's not balanced with fat and protein our blood sugar is going to spike and then come
crashing back down, leaving us hungry and grumpy. Spinach and kale are a great way to add some healthy greens into your day.
Try out different combinations of all of the above to keep it delicious and varied.