7 Healthy Smoothie Recipes You Need to Try
Smoothies can be healthy or unhealthy depending on how you make them and what ingredients you use. Do you know how to make your smoothie recipes nutritious? If not, you are in the right place! What can you gain from consuming smoothies? Are there healthy smoothie recipes you can try? If so, what are the ingredients you should use? More importantly, is there a way to make your smoothies cost-effective? At this point, I am just as curious. So, it’s time to dive in!
What Are the Benefits of Drinking Smoothies?
When your smoothie is rich in vegetables and fruits, it can perform various functions that benefit your health. For example, vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of antioxidants, which are substances that prevent cell damage by free radicals, unstable molecules that can build up, leading to cancer or other diseases. In other words, consuming smoothies rich in fruits and vegetables can prevent damage to your cells and even repair them.
In addition to the antioxidant-related function, smoothies are primarily liquids, and drinking them is a faster and more efficient way of absorbing nutrients. This is because your body digests liquids more efficiently than solids.
It takes your body around 30 to 40 minutes to digest raw vegetables. On the other hand, your body digests fruit or vegetable juice within 15 to 20 minutes. So, when you mash or blend the ingredients and drink them, your body will receive the nutrients in no time and use them as required.
Finally, consuming nutrient-rich smoothies enriches your cells and removes toxins from your body; doing so also improves the health of your hair and skin. For instance, fiber promotes waste removal through your digestive and lymphatic systems instead of your skin. Consequently, you can have clear and soft skin and smooth hair. Research also shows that dietary fiber can improve gut health and prevent cardiovascular disease.
If you intend to make a healthy or nutrient-rich smoothie, you should start from the foundation—the ingredients. So, what vital nutrient-dense ingredients should you add to your smoothie?
5 Nutrient-Dense Foundational Ingredients
What are healthy smoothies without fruit? Honestly, I do not know. Fruits contain various minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, making them beneficial to the body. You can add some fruits to your smoothie: pineapple, grapes, pears, bananas, kiwis, and oranges. Citrus fruits are a great source of vitamin C, while bananas and cantaloup provide potassium. However, there is something “extraordinary” about berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries).
Besides their tart flavor, research shows that berries contain antioxidants that may possess the ability to fight cancer! In addition, berries score below 40 on the glycemic index (GI), a scale that uses carbs present in food to indicate how it will make a person’s blood sugar rise. Hence, the fruits will not boost your blood sugar as fast as others.
Since the goal is to have a healthy smoothie, you should consider reducing its sugar content, and adding veggies is a step in the right direction! They are another nutrient-dense ingredient for healthy smoothies because they contain few calories and plenty of minerals and vitamins. Avocados and dark leafy greens provide vitamin E, broccoli and bell peppers are high in vitamin C, and black beans and peas provide magnesium.
In addition, veggies help fight inflammation, prevent obesity, lower blood pressure, and regulate digestion. Several smoothie-friendly veggies exist; a few include kale, spinach, red beets, cauliflower, and zucchini.
Protein-rich smoothies offer several health benefits. For example, when taken for breakfast, they can reduce ghrelin, a hormone that makes you feel hungry. Consequently, you feel satisfied for longer periods.
In addition, drinking smoothies rich in protein can help you lose weight, keep your blood sugar stable, and repair your muscles, particularly after a workout. Protein sources you can add to your smoothies include nuts, nut butter, tofu (silken or soft), chia seeds, and plain Greek yogurt.
Adding sugar will make your smoothie less healthy, but there are great alternatives to add flavor. Sweeteners such as honey are natural but contain calories, and artificial sweeteners are shown to increase health problems. Ways to flavor your smoothie without using high calorie or artificial sweeteners include adding spices, powders, or extracts such as nutmeg, vanilla extract, cayenne, fresh ginger (grated), plain cocoa powder, or cinnamon.
Adding liquids is not mandatory, but if you desire it, try to avoid juices since they don’t contain the beneficial fiber from fruit itself, leaving you with mostly sugar and water. Nevertheless, if you insist on juice, you can add four ounces of a calcium-based juice. Either way, do not use juice with sugar added. Meanwhile, you can add healthy liquid sources such as water, green tea, or plain almond milk. Now, how about some healthy and delectable smoothie recipes?
7 Healthy and Delicious Smoothie Recipes
1. Banana-Kale Wake-Up Smoothie
One tablespoon of honey, two ripe bananas (chopped), ½ cup of kale leaves (chopped), ½ cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt, ½ cup of ice cubes, ¼ cup of orange juice (freshly squeezed), and a small pinch of cloves (ground) are required for a banana-kale wake-up smoothie.
To prepare the smoothie, you should blend the bananas, kale, yogurt, orange juice, ice, and honey, pureeing them until they become smooth. Then, transfer the mixture to a glass and add the ground cloves; serve immediately!
2. Cool Tropical Smoothie
This smoothie would be perfect for the beach! First, you need one cup of a mixture of strawberries and frozen mango, three cups of baby spinach, ¾ cup of plain coconut almond milk, and lime juice (just a squeeze). Then, add the ingredients to a blender or food processor to smooth them before serving!
3. Green Pineapple Coconut Smoothie
Taking this smoothie would be a perfect way to start your day. So, you need one tablespoon of lime juice, one banana (sliced and frozen), one cup of light coconut milk, one teaspoon of lime zest (grated), two cups of baby spinach, and one cup of frozen pineapple chunks. Then, put the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth before serving.
4. Peach Blueberry Smoothie
Combine ½ cup of fresh or frozen peaches, ¼ tablespoon of ground cinnamon, ¼ cup of blueberries, one cup of chilled almond milk, and one cup of kale for this delectable beverage. Blend them until they are smooth, then serve.
5. Keto Smoothie
If you are on a keto diet, you may love this. For a keto smoothie, get one cup of frozen blackberries, one cup of baby spinach, plain coconut (shaved), two cups of coconut milk, and a total of 1½ cups of frozen strawberries and raspberries. Then, blend all the ingredients except the coconut, which you can use as a garnish before serving.
6. Piña Colada Protein Smoothie
Before preparing this smoothie, you should get one banana, one can of coconut milk, ⅓ cup of frozen mango, ⅔ cup of frozen pineapple, a pineapple wedge (garnish), and one scoop of protein powder. Blend all ingredients to smooth, then garnish with pineapple wedge before serving!
7. Avocado Smoothie
Undoubtedly, avocados provide vitamins to the body. For the avocado smoothie, you should use one tablespoon of chia seeds, one cup of ice, two tablespoons of maple syrup, 1½ cups of plain almond milk, and ½ of an avocado. Then, blend all the ingredients until smooth.
Now, how can you make your smoothies affordable?
How to Make Your Smoothies Affordable
When it comes to making your smoothie recipes cost-efficient, it boils down to your shopping habits. How do you shop for ingredients? First, when vegetables and fruits are in season, they usually cost less than the original price. So, it would help to find the fruits and vegetables in season to purchase.
Another way to make smoothies affordable is by picking your own fruits, which several farms in America will let you do for a small fee. But, of course, it usually takes time since you have to source for good ones.
When shopping for fruits, you can buy loose ones instead of pre-packaged ones. This is because loose ones are more affordable! Finally, preparing smoothies ahead can save you the stress of eating out, which can be expensive!