If you gravitate towards quick and easy meals that are also delicious and super satisfying, then this one’s for you. Let’s talk about smoothies! Made correctly, smoothies can have an optimal nutrient profile full of fiber, healthy fats, and protein that form highly satiating and satisfying meals. In this post, we hope to equip you with the knowledge to become the ultimate smoothie-making expert and avoid some of the pitfalls that often lead individuals to unintentionally undereating.
A Small Handful of the Many Benefits of Smoothies…
- Quick and easy to make
- Convenient for on-the-go
- Great way to meet the recommended 4-5 servings of fruit per day
- Great way to pack in tons of nutrients and increase fiber intake
- An abundant source of immune-boosting vitamins and minerals providing health-promoting benefits
- Great way to fuel and energize yourself
…and a Few Considerations
- Eating the solid equivalent may provide longer-lasting satiety
- Sip slowly rather than slurping down to avoid digestive issues
- If adding acidic fruits to your smoothie, drink through a straw to reduce tooth enamel erosion
- If you are having your smoothie as a meal, be sure it is well-rounded with sources of protein and fat to satisfy macronutrient needs
So How Exactly Do You Make the Ultimate Fruit Smoothie?
As mentioned earlier, it is important to put some thought into all that goes into your smoothie recipe to ensure it is not only appetizing but also meets the requirements of a full meal. If you are mixing in a couple of cups of frozen fruit with a liquid and calling it a day, then your meal is likely lacking substantial calories and the full range of macronutrients to keep you fueled and nourished. Let’s walk through the anatomy of the “perfect” smoothie.
- Select Your BASE
Think of this as the foundation for the entire recipe. You can use a liquid base such as fruit juice, coconut water, milk (dairy or non-dairy alternative), water, or even coffee for an added boost of energy! Yogurt can also be a great option for a base and will create a creamier smoothie. If you prefer thicker smoothies, it can also be a good idea to throw in some ice.
- Add In FRUIT
Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, pineapple, the list goes on and the world is your oyster! Don’t be afraid to use frozen rather than fresh fruit. Frozen options tend to be more cost-effective. Not only that, but because it is harvested at peak ripeness and frozen immediately, you will be consuming the fruit at its prime and really optimizing on nutrient intake.
- Get In Some FAT
People often stop at part 2, and that is where they are getting it wrong. In order to ensure your smoothie is satiating, you will want to pay close attention to these next two steps. Fat plays an essential role in a healthy, balanced diet. To work it into a smoothie, popular options include a tablespoon of nut butter, flaxseed meal, hemp seeds, avocado, or coconut. If you opted for yogurt as your base, this can also serve as an excellent source of healthy fats.
- Round It Out with PROTEIN
As mentioned in part 3, protein in addition to fat is critical for creating a balanced meal that will keep you feeling full for longer. The easiest way to incorporate this into your smoothies is by adding a scoop of your favorite protein powder. Some additional ingredients that will help pack in some protein include collagen, spirulina, beans, legumes, and nut butter.
- Feeling Fancy? Sprinkle in Some EXTRAS
Our favorite part about making smoothies is how creative you can get! Have fun with it by tuning in to your cravings and adjusting the flavor to help fully satisfy your hunger. Want to dial up the sweetness? Try some cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, agave, honey, syrup, or other sweeteners. Some prefer to add spices such as ginger or turmeric, or even herbs like mint or basil. Feeling extra hungry and need some extra carbs to fuel you? Add some oats. The possibilities really are endless!
- BONUS: Dress Your Smoothie Up Into a Smoothie Bowl
At Peachy Nutrition, we fully encourage tuning into your hunger and fullness as well as satisfaction levels during your meals. For some, drinking a traditional smoothie may do the trick, and that’s great! But if you’re not feeling fully satisfied or want to switch up your smoothie routine, converting it into a bowl can be a game-changer! If you go for this option, you’ll want to opt for a thicker recipe using more frozen ingredients. Pour into a bowl, and top as desired with granola, more fruit, nuts, seeds, nut butter, cacao nibs, shredded coconut… whatever your heart desires!
And Some Final Tips to Really Up Your Smoothie Game
- For a thicker and creamier consistency, opt for frozen fruits and/or ice (frozen bananas, in particular, are KEY to giving your smoothie a consistency similar to ice cream)
- To ease blending, be sure to cut larger fruits such as peaches, apples, and banana rather than adding it whole
- No need to toss fruit that is getting too ripe! Instead, stick it in the freezer to pop into a smoothie later!
- If adding protein powders, add liquids to the blender first to prevent powders from sticking to the blender
- For quick and easy meal prep, pre-portion dry ingredients/fruit into freezer-safe glass jars or bags to store in the freezer. When you are ready to eat, pour the ingredients into the blender, add liquid, set to blend, and voila!
- Opt for homemade whenever possible. Store-bought options often lack the nutrient profile that can be achieved at home with fresh ingredients and fewer artificial sweeteners and juices
- If you make multiple servings at once, you can freeze and then thaw them out in the fridge the night before
- What’s the most efficient way to clean a blender? Try this! Rinse → fill 1/3 full with hot water → add a drop of dish soap → blend for 30 seconds → rinse again and leave to air dry
Written by Peachy Nutrition’s intern, Sam Seigel, RD2Be