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Smoothies are such a great, simple, way to add extra fruits and vegetables to your diet. I love them as a quick, warm weather breakfast, an on the go snack or even a meal replacement when you’d rather lie on the beach than cook. The key to making a healthy smoothie is to start with the right mixes of ingredients to provide essential vitamins and lasting energy.
1. Pick your liquid.
First choose between a “juicy” smoothie and a rich, creamy smoothie. A mixture of coconut water and Aloe Vera juice is my favorite base for a light, tropical smoothie. Avoid using juice as a base since it will add un-necessary sweetness, calories and sugar. For a richer, creamier smoothie use your favorite milk, I prefer unsweetened almond, or plain whole yogurt with a little water to help it blend.
2. Decide on your fruit to veggie ratio.
Smoothies can be very rich in vegetables with just a few fruits tossed it to make them sweet or they can be fruit based with just a handful of veggies tossed in for nutrition. I always suggest that meal replacement smoothies be heavy of the veggies and contain some protein. Some great vegetables for smoothies are: spinach, kale, beets, cucumber, celery, romaine lettuce, parsley, beet tops and carrots. I haven’t met a fruit that doesn’t work well in a smoothie so be creative and switch them around with whatever’s in season.
3. Add some fat.
Many of the vitamins found in vegetables are fat-soluble. That means that you need to eat (or drink) them with some fat for your body to be able to absorb them. You can choose your favorite healthy fat depending on the flavor you want to create. Coconut oil and chia seeds go great in both light, tropical flavors as well as rich creamy flavors. Protein powders, flax seeds, and avocado are great in rich, creamy smoothies.
These are some of my very favorite smoothie combinations, play around with how much of each fruit/veggie you like and start with about 1 cup of liquid per serving.
1-cup coconut water
½ cup mango
¼ cup frozen strawberries
¼ cup carrots.
Veggie Meal Replacer
1 cup almond milk
½ cup water, 1 small beet
3 stalks kale (or a handful of spinach)
½ peeled cucumber
2 stalks celery
1 large carrot
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Chocolate Coconut Bliss
1 cup almond milk
½ scoop chocolate protein powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
some shaved coconut to sprinkle on top
The more you play around with your smoothies the easier it will become to dream up your favorite concoction. While I love smoothies in warm weather try keeping them to about once a day when you’re in cold temperatures since eating to many cold, cooling foods in cold weather can lower your immunity and make you more prone to catching a cold.
Jacqueline Banks, who grew up in Casa de Campo, is a certified holistic health counselor and busy mother.
Her focus is on helping other busy moms in all stages of motherhood keep themselves and families healthy and happy. She uses natural and organic solutions to solve individual health problems and promote clean living.
Check out her website at: www.jacquelinebanks.com