Healthy Summer Fruit Smoothie Recipe B
I confess – I am a smoothie-aholic. I don't know why. Maybe because most of my days are filled with activity and it's difficult to digest a full meal on the go. Truth be told, more often than not, I'm not totally satiated with a smoothie for lunch, and know I should sit down and enjoy a relaxing meal. But let's be real. Our crazy lifestyles don't always make that possible. Therefore, I try to pack as many nutrients in my little drinkable lunch as possible.
If you can, it's best to blend your own concoction. Don't believe the healthy hype of joints such as Jamba Juice (consider yourself outed!). Commercial smoothies are little more than a sugar bomb of fruit juice, high sugar fruits and processed fillers (like fro-yo), creating huge spikes in glucose levels and leaving you craving more. Luckily, many major cities have local chains committed to using better quality ingredients than big McDonalds-variety juice shops.
Even so, keep a watchful eye on what they toss into that blender. Sometimes it's hard to tell what's what when it's all whipped up in a cup.
Yes, I'm that annoying customer that requests the "build your own" smoothie with 10 substitutions and 20 swap outs. If I'm paying $13 for a liquid meal, I most certainly will "have it my way." Thanks, Burger King.
As I mentioned above, best case scenario – make your own.
Here are some of my favorite ways to enhance the nutrient value of your smoothie and reduce sugar content.
- Use coconut or plain water as a base. If you like to use a milk base, especially the non-dairy varieties, make sure it's unsweetened.
- Limit the following fruit ingredients – banana, mango, pineapple, papaya. While some of these have great post workout benefits (potassium in bananas, pineapple has anti-inflammatory properties, papaya is a great digestive), the sugar swap isn't always worth it. If you smoothie more than twice a week, stick with low sugar berries.
- Up the protein. Again, check the sugar content of your favorite protein powder. As someone who limits dairy, I choose Plant Fusion Vanilla flavor. There is a little bit of sugar, but just enough so it doesn't taste like dirt. Stevia is used as an additional sweetener.
- Throw in some greens. Seriously. You'll never even know they're in there! Kale and spinach obviously reign king and queen, fairly undetectable once masked in other flavors. Or use concentrated powdered greens such as those from Amazing Grass, Greens+, or other varieties, easily found in most major health food stores or even chain grocery stores.
- Cacao nibs are a great way to add some "crunch" to your smoothie if you like to feel like you are chewing something. A typical blender won't pulverize these until they're completely smooth. Nibs or real cacao powder is a great energy boost and light source of caffeine perfect for a mid-day pick-me-up.
- Maca is a highly praised yet seldom heard of superfood that provides energy, stamina and may also increase libido (hubba hubba!) and balance hormones.
- If you incorporate herbs into your lifestyle, smoothies are a great place to hide less-than-desirable flavors. Ahswagandha and Rhodiola are great general adaptogens that provide adrenal and immune support and are well masked by peanut or almond butter.
- Give your smoothie an extra kick with some spices. My favorites are cinnamon and cayenne!
- Don't forget fish oil or other high quality source of Omega-3s! If you're like most people, the thought of throwing back a straight shot of fish oil is enough to make you gag. Again, with a little creativity, you'll never taste what's fishy. NutraSea by Ascenta is the best tasting, not to mention highest quality product I've found, tolerable even on its own. They even have a crisp apple flavor and a vegan variety! Flax or chia seeds are other great vegan sources of healthy fats.
- Finally, sweeten things up a bit with natural sweeteners such as Stevia, maple syrup or honey. Remember, fruit already provides natural sweetness, so a little of these goes a long way! You can also experiment with additional flavors such as vanilla or mint.
Here's my favorite base recipe that you can boost up with any or all of the above:
- 6 oz. liquid
- ¾ cup berries
- ¼ cup banana
- 1-2 ice cubes
- 2 tablespoon PB2 or 1 tablespoon almond or peanut butter
Grab a blender and power up!
You can find other great smoothie recipes and other treats at livWhole.com!