Smoothies are a quick and easy way to get more fresh produce in your diet. Let’s face it, they are delicious too and make the perfect meal or snack when you’re in a rush. And if you are fussy like me and don’t manage to eat some foods, they are a perfect solution. Since they are so versatile, it’s easy to find smoothie recipes that you love and can enjoy every single day. Let’s look at three different types of smoothies and how you can use them to incorporate more fresh and healthy food by getting smoothies in your diet.
The best place to start is with fruit smoothies. Mix up one or two of your favourite types of fruit with some ice and a little milk or yoghurt. It makes a refreshing and sweet drink which has a milkshake-like consistency but is much healthier. Fruit and yoghurt smoothies also make a great breakfast on the go options.
These smoothies work well with both fresh and frozen fruit, making them a great year-round option- you don’t need to wait for certain fruits to be available. Frozen options are also less liable to go to waste because they don’t go off (or that’s what I’ve found). Mix and match the fruit you use or grab a bag of frozen ingredients. For a boost of protein and for a smoothie that will fill you up for longer, try adding some Greek yoghurt, peanut butter, even a scoop of a protein powder.
Power ingredient – Banana
Banana is the basis for a lot of smoothie recipes and this is for two reasons – they taste great and they are very high in nutrients. For example, they are a great source of potassium and vitamin B6 as well as fibre and carbohydrates. They do have more sugar than some fruits so consider this when you choose what to mix them with.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
- 1 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- 1 banana
- 6 frozen strawberries
- ½ cup of orange juice
Add everything to your blender and blend until smooth. This makes one serving to replace a meal like breakfast. Two small servings make a delicious snack.
Green smoothies have become very popular in recent times. They are a wonderful way to get more leafy greens and raw veggies in your diet, without having to eat “another bowl of salad”. You can add in quite a lot of greens alongside other ingredients that add fibre and extra nutrients by simply adding a green smoothie to your diet on a regular basis.
Green smoothies make a great lunch. Blend it in the morning, store it in the fridge and just shake it up and enjoy a healthy lunch. It provides you with lots of nutrients without leaving you feeling bloated and lacking in energy. For best results mix and match your greens and veggies so you don’t eat too much of any one thing – sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t as good for you as it can be. Kale is a classic example of this.
Power ingredient – Spinach
Spinach is known for its ability to restore energy – hence Popeye eating so much of it! It also improves the quality of the blood because it is rich in iron and this boosts overall health. Red blood cells transport iron around the body and are used in DNA synthesis. It also supplies vitamin A, K, C and folate as well as some manganese, magnesium, iron and vitamin B2.
Simple Green Smoothie
- 1 banana, sliced and frozen
- 1/2 cup pineapple (chunks are ideal, and you can use frozen)
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt
- A little milk (you can also use other types of milk like soy or almond milk)
- 3/4 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 – 1 ½ cups spinach
Add all ingredients to your blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy.
Most smoothies will be sweet because the fruit is added to them, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can also enjoy savoury smoothies that taste more like cold vegetable soup. For example, you can mix up greens, tomato, and cucumber, bell pepper along with a little water, onion, and vinegar to make a smoothie that’s inspired by Gazpacho – the Spanish cold soup. Play around with different veggies, seasonings and also try different liquids like tomato or carrot juice or even vegetable soup.
Power ingredient – Asparagus
Asparagus is a great source of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps eyes, skin and the immune system, helping us to fend off colds, viruses and other bacteria. Vitamin C helps with collagen formation for healthy skin while Vitamin K is used in blood clotting and bone formation – it has been shown to help reduce the risk of diabetes in some studies.
Avocado Asparagus Smoothie
- 1 cup mixed greens
- 2 cups asparagus (tough ends removed)
- ½ avocado (peeled and pitted)
- 1 celery stalk (include the leaves if you like)
- 1 small apple
- ½ the juice of a lime
- 2 cups cooled green tea
- Pinch of salt
Add everything to the blender and mix until smooth – you may need to add water if it is a little thick. Or eat it as a smoothie bowl if you like it that way!
Smoothies in your diet
Give smoothies a try. Start with a few different recipes and then start to tweak and change things around until you come up with your own personal collection of smoothies that you love and that fulfil your nutritional needs.
Grab your 3 ingredient smoothie cheat sheet
Never struggle to think what to put in a smoothie again!