Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Tips For Making Healthy Smoothies (And TWO Recipes!)

I love a good smoothie and there are a thousand reasons of why I think they're ahhhhh-mazing. As the temperature keeps rising and we move towards summer, they're showing up all the more in my daily routine and essential in cooling me off while staying hydrated.

While I try to not drink my calories, smoothies are definitely the exception. Depending on how you make one, it can be jammed packed with vital nutrients-vitamins & minerals- that keep my body healthy. They're a great way to prevent fruit from going to waste, to up your fruit/vegetable and fiber intake or to get in some quick calories post-workout to jumpstart recovery. They are easy to customize, travel well and perfect for the busy on-the-go professional or athlete. And because they're in liquid form, smoothies are more easily digestible, making them ideal post-workout as a recovery meal or snack.

Last week I gave my monthly Food for Fuel Series talk, Spring Smoothies, to our independent living residents and this topic was a hit! Here's a quick summary of what we talked about, plus two of my more recent favorite smoothies:

The base of a smoothie is typically a fluid or yogurt. While I prefer soy milk or almond milk, some people like to utilize coconut water, green tea, fruit juice or cow's milk. Making smoothies with Greek Yogurt as a base is an easy way to boost protein.

Pairing fruit together for a smoothie is the perfect way to customize it for your individual taste buds. Just remember that different fruits contain different vitamins and minerals, so variety is the key to success! I love a combination of berries, banana w/ chocolate or PB, tropical fruit, strawberry-banana-kiwi or oranges/clementines. 

Smoothies are the perfect platform to consume certain functional foods you may not typically eat alone. Just throw them into the blender and watch them disappear into the colorful abyss. Potential additives include: mixed greens, maca, ginger, protein powders, unsweetened cocoa, avocado, flaxseed mill or chia seeds, nut butters or nuts and greek yogurt. Be careful, however, to keep portion size and overall calories in mind when it comes to all those extras!

The following recipe is a bit of a makeover of another smoothie I posted last year, my simple tart cherry recovery smoothie. Check out the link to read more on the benefits of tart cherries for recovery and fighting muscle soreness. Berries in general are a great source of antioxidants which help fight inflammation and prevent chronic disease.

While I love my original cherry smoothie, this one is bursting even more in terms of antioxidant/ nutrient value through the addition of chia seeds and an extra serving of berries, plus incorporates my favorite protein powder right now (Trader Joe's Chocolate Hemp Protein). I chose to stick with red fruits (cherries and raspberries), but you can substitute whatever you have on hand or desire. It makes for a great post-workout antioxidant blast that provides easily digestible carbs and quality protein for optimal recovery after hard efforts!

Cherry Berry Chocolate Chia Smoothie

8oz vanilla soy milk (or choice of 'milk')
2 tbsp tart cherry concentrate or 4oz cherry juice
3-4 frozen cherries
1/4 c. frozen raspberries (or other berry)
1/2 banana
1-2 tbsp chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp chia seeds

Mix until smooth. Enjoy within 30-45 minutes of harder effort workouts for optimal recovery.
Or for breakfast... that works too!

This is my favorite "dessert" smoothie, which I enjoy from time to time. A little splurge for breakfast, why not? The bananas contribute to providing this with a smooth, creamy texture, so be sure to keep some frozen bananas on hand!

The Chocolate & PB Lover's Smoothie

8oz vanilla soy milk (or choice of 'milk')
1 serving chocolate protein powder
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 frozen banana
1/4 c. uncooked oats
1 tbsp PB
A dash of cinnamon
A drizzle of honey or agave nectar

Blend & enjoy!


Want more information on making healthy smoothies? Check out the Prezi presentation that I created to go along with the talk I gave. I also found the following blog posts/resources to be a huge help:

1 comment:

  1. Chocolate PB with banana is my favorite post-workout smoothie. I should try adding oats, too, to add some carbs and fiber


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