Smoothies are no doubt one of my favorite refreshing sips to make in the summer. Most days of the week, I will whip up a healthy smoothie for breakfast, or mix one up in the afternoon to tide me over before diner. But it’s important to know that not all smoothies are created equal. Even if you make them in your own kitchen, many smoothies can be full of tons of hidden processed sugars, pesticides, and extra calories, making each sip a little less healthy than you might think it is.
Creating your own smoothies is the best way to ensure that they have fresh ingredients. And today, I’m going to share a few of my skinny smoothie secrets that will make your recipes healthier than ever. If you’re a smoothie junkie like me, get ready for a whole new outlook on your favorite summer sips…
1. Skip the sweet stuff.
So you’re walking through the grocery isles picking up ingredients for your morning smoothies, and you grab a carton of generic orange juice. Orange juice is a healthy liquid base for your smoothie, right? Wrong. Many fruit juices found in grocery stores nowadays are pasteurized, which means they are heated up to specific temperatures to kill bad bacteria. But along with killing bad bacteria, this heating process also reduces the amount of vitamins and phytonutrients found in fresh squeezed fruit juice. Some pasteurized fruit juices are so void in nutrients that they have basically become flavored fructose (fruit sugar) water—not quite the healthy liquid you want to be gulping down each morning. They will spike your insulin just like processed sugar, which will have you feeling tired and hungry by noon. Instead, opt for a cold pressed juice, coconut water, unsweetened almond milk, or even water to use as your liquid. Water is obviously the lowest calorie option, but cold pressed juice, almond milk, and coconut water all have great benefit that will add vitamins and nutrients to your smoothie.
2. Use ice as a base.
I used to use frozen fruit as the base of my smoothies to make them cold and slushy. But, I’ve recently found that using ice to go along with your fresh fruits and veggies is an easy way to cut calories. While there’s nothing wrong with blending frozen fruit into the mix, I prefer to use fresh, organic produce because my smoothies simply taste better. Sub ice for your frozen fruit to slash off up to 100 calories per glass.
3. Add your veggies.
The best smoothies aren’t made of just fruit and ice—they have veggies in them too! Smoothies with fruit are of course healthy and refreshing, but adding a variety of vegetables into the mix packs way more vitamins into the punch. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I made a smoothie without throwing at least one leafy green into my blender. If you’re not a veggie person, or you think it’s weird to add them to a smoothie, rest assured that a lot of the time you can’t even taste them. Start by trying spinach, avocado or carrots. Spinach has a mild leafy taste that you won’t even notice after the first time of adding it; avocado gives smoothies a nice buttery consistency; and carrots are great because they’re sweet enough to taste like a fruit but they also add a little crunch. When you start to grow accustomed to the taste of veggies in your smoothies, you can experiment with adding kale, cucumbers, parsley or any other greens to mix things up. You skin will begin to glow, and you will be sipping a nice serving of veggies before you can say “lunchtime.”
4. Powerful powders.
Fruit and veggie smoothies are a great way to sip up tons of nutrients, but they aren’t exactly powerhouses when it comes to protein…that is, until you add protein powder. I always add protein powder to my breakfast smoothies or post-workout smoothies. Sometimes, if I’ve already eaten a protein-rich meal and I’m just sipping on a smoothie for a snack, I don’t always feel like I need the extra protein. But it does give me energy post-sweat sesh and makes me feel fuller longer. I also add goji berry powder and flax powder to make my smoothies equate to more of a complete meal. There are so many add-ons and extras you can include in a smoothie, so do a little research and see which powders will fuel you the best.
I hope these secrets change the way you blend your favorite smoothies for the better. They sure have for me! Now, I know that you all have some of your own secrets to share, so…
What do you add to your smoothies to make them healthy? Do you have a favorite recipe?