Ah, there’s nothing like the first sip of a really great, green smoothie. Green smoothies are nothing new these days, but some have more filling properties than others. If you’re making a fruit and green smoothie for a meal, you’ll want to add some specific filling, nutritious properties to make it even more satisfying. Green smoothie recipes vary from light to heavy and while some may low amounts of calories, many have enough to equal a well-sized meal. A light smoothie can be a helpful way to add in some extra nutrition into your day, while a larger, more calorie-dense smoothie is helpful for consuming on-the-go or as a meal alternative at home.
Before you fill your blender with a ton of ingredients and make your smoothie complex and creative, hold that blending thought for just a minute! You’ll want to be careful what you toss into your blender, since many ingredients aren’t so optimal or won’t keep you full a long time.
Try out some of the following suggestions when you head into the kitchen to make your next amazing green smoothie. These tips will make your smoothies full-bodied and delicious, while also keeping them healthy and satisfying.
Filling Ingredients for Your Green Smoothies:
Leafy greens are packed with nutrition and belong in every green smoothie you make. For a nutritional dense smoothie, opt for kale, spinach, and romaine. Also be sure you rotate your greens so your body gets a variety of nutrients in each smoothie you make. Pack one to three cups, depending on how large you’d like your smoothie. Always go for fresh or frozen organic greens whenever possible so you can keep your smoothie free from chemicals and pesticides. Here are 5 Reasons Organic Food is Really Worth Your Money, if you’re on the fence about going organic or not.
Berries are rich in fiber so they’ll help keep you fuller longer than fruits lower in sugar. Berries are also low on the glycemic index and incredibly friendly to your blood sugar. Best of all, they’re some of the most nutritionally dense fruits you can eat and packed with antioxidants. Use raspberries and blackberries for the highest fiber content, and try some blueberries, goji berries, and acai berry puree for an awesome antioxidant boost.
Chia, hemp, and flax seeds are extremely high in fiber, bursting with omega 3 fatty acids, and packed with energizing B vitamins and magnesium. They are also a great source of potassium and protein. Chia and hemp seeds are also great sources of iron and contain all essential amino acids, making them a complete protein. Use two-three tablespoons of hemp seeds, a couple tablespoons of chia, or one tablespoon of flax seeds in your next smoothie recipe. You can also try pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds as another nutrient-rich option. This Pumpkin Protein Smoothie is a great idea to try for the fall season.
Raw Nut Butter
Raw nut butter is a good source of healthy fats to keep your metabolism and brain fueled all day long. Raw varieties will be free from salt and oil that roasted and salted nut butters contain, which makes them a bit of a better choice for your smoothies and will satisfy you just as well. Nut butters are high in calories, so if you’re using seeds, keep your nut butter to a couple tablespoons per smoothie. A little bit of almond butter, cashew, coconut, walnut, or pecan butter will go a long way towards satisfying you and keeping you full. Not into nut butter or all out? Just use a couple tablespoons of raw nuts instead!
Don’t get too scared here, now – veggies actually make an awesome (and very filling) smoothie ingredient to use. Sneak a couple of frozen broccoli florets, some frozen or fresh carrot pieces, a couple tablespoon of pumpkin (which is great in the fall), and even some zucchini squash in your smoothie. Veggies will provide an even greater source of fiber to keep you full, and you can pat yourself on the back for getting in an extra serving of veggies in just one meal!
There are also some other optional choices you can use which make amazing green smoothie ingredients. Feel free to use them all, or select which ones you enjoy.
Superfoods are a fantastic way to pack in tons of nutrient-dense benefits in a single serving recipe. They’ll also add amazing flavor to your smoothies and provide your body with a host of benefits. Choose between cacao, maca, superfood fruit powders such as acai and camu camu, mulberries, raw coconut shreds, spirulina, and cholerella. You can also use a greens powder if you like. It’s a good idea to buy your superfoods raw and organic so you get the best benefits. Not sure which one is right for you? Check out The Ultimate Superfood Guide to decide which ones you might like.
Plant-Based Protein Powders
Clean plant-based protein powders also make great choices to add to smoothies, especially if you’re not using nut butter and seeds. Plant-based proteins can be included in a smoothie with nuts and seeds, of course, though some people prefer one or the other. Be sure to select a plant-based protein free of sugar and genetically modified ingredients. You can also make your own DIY vegan protein powder right in your very own home. Though plant-based proteins aren’t necessary to consume on a vegan diet, you may possibly gain extra stamina and satiety when using plant-based protein in your smoothies.
Your Choice Fresh Fruit
If you’d like more fruit and sweetness than berries, go for bananas, apples, kiwis, and pears. Avoid adding too many fruits, however, so you can maintain healthy blood sugar levels. A good ratio to remember is three cups of greens to one cup of fruit.
Now, let’s talk about what NOT to use in your green smoothies…..
What to Skip In Your Green Smoothie Recipes:
Liquid “natural” sugars such as brown rice syrup, agave, coconut nectar, honey, maple syrup, and molasses may come with some nutritional benefits over refined sugars, however it’s not the best idea to add liquid sugar to a concentrated recipe like a smoothie. Aim to get your sugars from fruit and if you need a natural sweetener that’s free of sugar, go for stevia instead.
Coconut oil, hemp seed oil, flax oil, and other plant-based oils do come with nutritional benefits. Healthy fats are also an important part of a healthy diet. However, like liquid sugars, it’s not the best idea to drink your oils in the form of a smoothie. Those calories can add up quickly and oils are not whole food sources of fats like nuts, seeds, coconut, and avocados are. Whole food sources of fat retain all their fiber, vitamins and minerals, and make a better choice for a smoothie. Try a couple slices of avocado for a creamy touch, a tablespoon of raw coconut butter (which is life-changing), or add a couple of the raw nuts and seeds suggested above in your smoothie.
It’s also a good idea to avoid any protein powders or other smoothie ingredients that contain artificial sweeteners. These sweeteners have been linked to health issues like sugar cravings, weight gain, headaches, and even ADHD and ADD. Remember to choose whole sources of fruit or pure stevia as a more natural option.
Sugary Beverages Such as Fruit Juice and Dairy
Sugary beverages like sweetened non-dairy milk, regular dairy milk, and even fruit juice should also be avoided when making your smoothie. With the delicious goodness of fruit or sweetness from stevia, you won’t miss sugary beverages in the least little bit! Milk contains lactose, a sugar found in dairy that may upset your stomach even if you’re not allergic. Remember some plant-based milks may contain sources of sugar such as evaporated cane juice or syrup, so choose unsweetened varieties whenever you can.
Excessive Dried Fruit
Dried fruit isn’t all evil, though it is very controversial due to the high dosage of fructose it contains. Still, it’s much better to opt for fresh fruit, leafy greens, and veggies in your smoothies since they’re more filling and lower in sugar than dried fruit. One small date won’t be too filling, but will lend you at least 16 grams of sugar. Compare this to one small chopped apple, which is only 13 grams of sugar. Whole, fresh fruit provides much more fiber and water which allows it to digest much more slowly than fresh fruit.
- Now you can choose which ingredients you’d like to use and all you’ll need to do is add some liquid of your choice. Great options include unsweetened plant-based milks like almond, coconut, flax, cashew, hemp, and rice milk. Check to make sure they’re free of carrageenan and made from companies that are certified non-GMO. Filtered water is always a great choice to use in your smoothies and will help to keep you hydrated.
- Are your smoothies a liquid mess no matter what you try? Find out why and use The Best Order of Ingredients to Make a Superfood Smoothie so you can experience pure blender bliss every time!
- Looking for some great recipes to get you started? Check out our amazing collection of green smoothies. We’ve got something here for everyone!
Image Source: 11 Awesome Green Monster Smoothies
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Hingrit Avendaño Cruz