By: SWEAT Trainer Kelly Synder
To achieve an optimal healthy lifestyle, you need to have a balanced and nutrient dense diet. Not only do you need to meet your required daily intake of fruits, veggies, whole grains, proteins and fats (macronutrients), you need a varied diet to consume all the necessary vitamin and minerals (micronutrients). How do you get all the necessary nutrients in throughout the day without taking a bunch of supplements? The answer is smoothies!
Benefits of Smoothies:
Quick and Easy to make (Tip: make a batch at the beginning of the week, place in up to 3 mason jars and use a blender ball to shake them up before drinking)
Can be used as a meal or a snack
Can be made to specifically meet your nutrient needs/goals
Gives you energy, can help with recovery and helps to promote optimal health
Obviously, some sort of blender is needed to create a smoothie. I recently invested in a high-powered blender that I am in love with. It is truly magical! It is easy to use and allows for seamless clean up. But it is not necessary to go out and invest a bunch of money into a fancy blender. I started off with a $30 hand blender. Once smoothies are a part of your regular routine, you can consider a bigger investment into your smoothie game. There is an abundance of smoothie shops that allow for convenience, but can have a negative hit on your wallet with smoothies costing up to $10. Make one at home and save significantly. Tip: if you have a favorite smoothie that you buy at a store, look up the ingredients and recreate at home.
Here are 3 of my favorite go to smoothies:
Classic Green Smoothie:
8 ounces coconut water
2 celery stalks
1 small green apple
½ small avocado
4-5 ice cubes
Smoothies are great for a post-workout snack. Protein should be consumed within 60 minutes of a workout. Here is a protein packed smoothie:
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Protein Smoothie:
8 ounces almond milk (or milk of your choice)
½ frozen banana
1 scoop chocolate protein
1 tablespoon of peanut butter
4-5 ice cubes
If you would rather spoon then slurp, you can tweak any smoothie recipe to convert it to a bowl. A common smoothie bowl includes the Acai Berry. The Acai (pronounced: ä-ˌsä-ˈē ) Berry is considered a superfood because they are rich in antioxidants, fiber, protein and have high levels of heart healthy fat.
Classic Acai Bowl:
1 packet frozen acai berry blend
1 frozen banana
1/4 cup non-dairy milk or yogurt
Toppings: Fresh berries, coconut flakes, granola, honey
Design your own Smoothie:
One of my favorite parts about creating smoothies is being able to experiment. I have to admit some of my combinations have been fails. But the beauty of smoothies are the endless combinations. Mix and match the ingredients you have on hand to find your new favorite smoothie recipe.
Tip: When you combine blue fruits with greens, the resulting color is typically brown. Be conscious of how much blue fruit you use to retain an appetizing color.
1. Choose a base: 1 cup of liquid (almond milk, coconut water, cashew milk, coconut milk, water)
2. Choose 1-2 Frozen Fruits: 1/2 frozen banana, pre- sliced + up to 1 1/2 cups of frozen fruit (Ex. raspberries, mango, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, acai (half packet))
3. Choose Greens + Veggies: As many as you like! Usually about 1 cup (Ex. Spinach, kale, parsley, cucumber, celery, carrot)
4. Choose a Nut Butter: Optional, for healthy fats and a little extra protein (ex. 1 Tbsp of almond or Peanut Butter)
5. Choose Optional flavoring/Superfood Boosters: For an extra boost, and one of the following: (ex. 1-2 tsp diced fresh ginger, 1-2 tsp diced fresh turmeric, 1-2 drops extracts (mint, vanilla, almond, peppermint, lemon), 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1-2 tsp of chia seeds or flax seeds, 1 tsp of matcha)
Toppings: Choose 1-2 toppings (Ex. 1 Tbsp Cacao nibs, 1 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1/4 cup fruit, 1 tsp honey)
The bottom line, the best way to get nutrition is from food, and consuming a healthful smoothie every day gives you most of your nutrition in one proven, delicious dosage. Cheers!