Let’s face it, not everyone is a fan of the smoothie. I know that every now and then when I recommend my patients trial a smoothie for their breakfast in order to get a little extra nutrients in their day I’m met with a bit of resistance. I’ve got to tell you, I was the same a few years back until I worked out how to make a good quality smoothie that would satisfy my hunger of a morning.
Smoothies come in handy on the mornings when we are literally racing out the door bound to leave something important behind. That important thing is all too often breakfast and we’re left STARVING by mid-morning and reaching for a sweet biscuit and strong coffee just to keep us going until lunch.
I’m going to let you in on a few secrets on how to make the perfect smoothie. Here are my seven keys to making the perfect smoothie so that you might be able to enjoy them every now and then for breakfast or a quick on the go snack.
1. Make it fruity
High fibre, full or nutrients and the perfect way to sweeten your smoothie without adding any refined sugar. Bananas are normally first on my list to be added into a smoothie, frozen or fresh it doesn’t really matter. But if you’re not a fan of banana or you’re not feeling the banana vibe today, then reach for berries, pears, apples, mango (especially frozen), the skies the limit. I would recommend 1 – 1 ½ servings of fruit in your smoothie to make way for some veggie power. This looks like 1 banana and ¼ cup berries or half an apple.
2. Vegetables are your friend
Here’s where I give you permission to go a little nuts. But don’t go too much, because you’ll end up with some extra green tasting liquid that you’re not likely to enjoy or finish. Vegetables that incorporate really well into smoothies are the ones that don’t hold a lot of flavour and therefore don’t overpower the smoothie all together. My favourites include cauliflower (strange but will give you an incredibly creamy texture), frozen zucchini, leafy greens like spinach, kale and iceberg lettuce, avocado and cucumber (yes I know they are fruits, but we’re talking savoury at the moment). Aim for 1 cup – 1.5 cups worth of veg if you can fit it in!
3. Milk or water?
Ok, this comes down to personal choice and how hungry you are. Milk (preferably milk alternatives) will give you some bonus nutrients and a bit more for your money. This is a good option if your smoothie is for breakfast. Water on the other hand, is a great option if you’re making your smoothie as a snack because it won’t be as heavy milk will be. You’ll need about ¾ cup – 1 depending on how many vegetables you managed to pack in.
4. What’s with protein?
Protein is going to help this smoothie fill you up and keep you satisfied. If you’re having this after a workout, it’s the perfect opportunity to get some muscle repairing protein into your day. But you don’t have to rush out and grab the latest and greatest protein powder here. Protein is found in nuts, seeds and grains – so start with this first. A handful of nuts or a tablespoon of nut butter, a teaspoon of seeds and a ¼ – ½ cup of grains like oats or buckwheat groats is a great start. If you are looking at adding in some protein – check out the label first. If you can read and understand the ingredients on the label, then you’ve found a decent one. You can also grab some simple powders off the shelve like hemp powder and pea protein that won’t mess with the flavour of your delicious smoothie.
5. You’re sweet enough
If you’ve chosen banana and your banana is super ripe, then it’s likely your smoothie won’t need any further sweetening. Likewise with pear or sweetened nut milks. But if you love things in life a little bit sweeter, then adding a teaspoon of honey, maple syrup or a medjool date will suffice.
6. Your equipment matters
You seriously don’t have to go out and buy yourself a blender will all the bells and whistles. But making a good smoothie does depend on a decent blender. I currently use a NutriBullet and I find this the best for smoothie because everything I put in there is blended to an inch of its life. This is really important when adding raw vegetables. There’s nothing worse than a chunky smoothie in my opinion! But if you haven’t got that, don’t fret! There are some other great options available. A decent blender or stick blender will do the trick.
7. Time saving tips
Something I think people forget is that sometimes a smoothie can actually take more time to put together than you realise. Yes, they’re great when you’re racing out the door, but you’ve still got to prepare it! Wash, chop, measure, blend…it’s a process! If you know you’ve got a few busy days ahead, then prepare. Chop your fruit and veg and pop it in the freezer in a zip lock bag. Measure out you dry ingredients and pop it aside in an airtight container until the morning. Then once you’re ready to prepare it…everything is ready to go. All you have left to do is place everything in the blender along with some milk or water and blend away. Done!
Take what you will from these tips and make it your own.
Here is a little smoothie recipe that I really enjoy for breakfast or a snack when I’m really hungry. It’s extremely thick and creamy. It’s bound to satisfy even the fussiest of smoothie drinkers.
CHOC PB SMOOTHIE.
You will need:
- 1 banana
- 1 large floret cauliflower, chopped
- ½ cup shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ piece of avocado
- ¼ cup oats
- 1 teaspoon cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or water (add little bit extra if required)
Blend until smooth!
You can even store this in the fridge overnight and enjoy it first thing in the morning.