Not all smoothies are Healthy Smoothies.
Many of the popular smoothies at retail outlets like Smoothie King or McDonald’s are very tasty, but not so healthy. That doesn’t mean they’re bad for you. It just means they aren’t as good for you as they could be.
What Makes Healthy Smoothies Healthy?
Healthy Smoothies can be defined by both what you add to your smoothie, and what you don’t add. In with the good stuff. Out with the bad.
Don’t add sweeteners, even the healthy alternatives such as honey, if you don’t have to. Use low-fat or no-fat alternatives when adding milk or yogurt. Keep portion sizes down, too.
One healthy ingredient to add to smoothies is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help tie up free radicals, which are felt to cause cancers and other diseases. Some great antioxidant-rich fruits that can be used in making healthy smoothies are:
- Red Grapes
Antioxidant-Rich Vegetables for Healthy Smoothies
Healthy smoothies can be made with fruit, but also with vegetables. Vegetable smoothies are normally called Green Smoothies, mainly due to the coloration that the vegetables add to the smoothie. Here are some antioxidant-rich vegetables you can use in your smoothies:
- Alfalfa Sprouts
It Isn’t Just the Antioxidants
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are also an important part of your nutritional needs. One of the best ways to add them to a smoothie is to include some flaxseed, flaxseed oil, or avocado. Dark-leaved veggies, such as kale, spinach and broccoli also are rich in Omega-3.
Adding most nuts or seeds to your smoothies will help to make them healthy smoothies. Seeds and nuts contain healthy oils, proteins, and fiber. You can also introduce some of them in the form of oils (such as flaxseed oil) or milks (such as coconut or almond milks).
Nuts not only add healthy nutritional value to your smoothie. They can also add a unique flavor. Coconut, for example, has an unmistakable taste. It can be a great addition to a tropical smoothie.
It is normally considered best practice to use nuts and seeds in raw form, rather than salted, dried, roasted, etc. Many nuts and seeds lose some of their nutritional value when cooked.
Also, a word of caution here. Nuts and seeds, due to their high oil content, are high in calories. Use a minimal amount of them in your smoothies to prevent weight gain.
Here are some links to recipes and videos for making Healthy Smoothies:
- Calcium Rich Green Smoothie
- Vegetable and Fruit Smoothie
- Healthy Smoothie Basics
- Green Kale and Berry Smoothie
By following the tips and recipes above, you can be enjoying healthy smoothies for the rest of your life!