It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like a good smoothie. What’s not to like? Smoothies tend to be on the healthy side, sometimes to insane degrees, with added powders and shots of nutrient boosters. Still, somehow, they also tend to be amazingly delicious, melding our favorite flavors into all sorts of complimentary combinations. They work nicely on the go. They help us meet those daily fruit and veg requirements and even manage to do so with the heightened benefits of raw food. Requiring only a blender, anyone can make them. Seriously, what’s not to like?
We’ll now assume, having made it into the second paragraph, you are duly convinced and want to get to the art of making a well-balanced smoothie, a beverage thick with vitamins and minerals, protein and quality carbs, anti-oxidants and medicinal powers. Hopefully, when all is said and done, we’ll be ready to invent some tasty new blends and healthy pairings. Blenders at the ready!
Generally, the crux of a smoothie is the fruit and/or veggies that provide the bulk. Even better, we can get these ever-important foods in their undamaged, raw form, with the nutrients still intact. A good idea for building balanced bulk is to include both veg and fruit when possible, such as in this strawberry-kale smoothie. The tendency is to throw strawberries and bananas together and call it day, but this provides more sugary spike than health benefit. Adding in those greens makes a big difference. Using whole fruits and veggies as opposed to store-bought juices, which are basically sugar, is also very important. Other bulk possibilities are good grains, like oatmeal or cooked barley, which can provide some slow-release energy, dietary fiber and protein to the mix.
Check out this guide on How to Make a Basic Beginner Green Smoothie That Rocks and The Ultimate Green Smoothie Cheat Sheet for a good rundown of viable bulk ingredients.
Smoothies are the perfect opportunity to supplement our diets with protein, calcium, B12, Omega-3 or whatever particular vitamins and minerals we fear might be inadequate in our day-to-day diet. Natural, nutrient-rich protein powders are quick way to do this, as are organic plant-based milks and nut butters. These components are perfect for supercharging a mix with nutrients in demand, as well as utilizing unique flavor components. In some cases, like the Pumpkin Protein Smoothie, the bulk can give way to the power to focus on a specific nutrient rather than overall healthiness.
There are loads of medicinal herbs and spices out there, not to mention leaves, flowers and weeds, and smoothies are a perfect way for including them in our diets more often. Take advantage of cinnamon, cacao, ginger, turmeric, even garlic—all of them have massive and varied medicinal benefits when consumed regularly, so don’t leave them in the spice cabinet or fridge waiting for the next time a recipe calls for a sprinkle, teaspoon or embellishment. They can add to the immediate potency, nutrition, and flavor of a good smoothie.
The medicinal components of food are often overlooked as being glorified folklore, but new studies are proving that food often outperforms prescription medicine. And, prevention is always better than treatment.
Of course, smoothies can just be lovely, healthful snacks without the pressure of fitting all the requirements of a balanced meal into a cup, but when going the smoothie route for breakfast or lunch, it’s worthwhile — and important — to get a full spectrum of vitamins, minerals and nutrients into your diet. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to see what delicious, nutritious concoctions we can come up with when mixing and matching for a well-balanced smoothie.
Check out our assortment of delicious smoothies to make today!
Image Source: Conqul The Chef/Flickr