Fruit smoothies are often advertised as a great healthy way to lose weight, or to supplement your diet with a nutritious drink. However, if you're not on the lookout for smoothie sabotage, these fruity drinks can do more harm than good. Fortunately, if you learn the right way to blend with this article, smoothies can remain an easy, tasty, AND healthy option for any meal of the day.
Smoothie mistake #1
The blender is NOT a calorie eliminator:
The biggest mistake people make with smoothies is forgetting about how many calories they can have. Just because the ingredients are a drinkable puree, doesn't mean that all the calories of the original fruits aren't still there. Would you eat a watermelon wedge, one and one half bananas, an orange, and a handful of strawberries in one sitting? Probably not...but with a smoothie many people eat that much, and more. (And then wonder why their calorie count is off for the day)
Let's solve it
Often, people drink a smoothie, and have something else such as a bagel half, a sandwich, or some type of snack because the smoothie alone won't satisfy hunger. Others drink a smoothie, and eat something soon after. Being liquid, it doesn't remain in the stomach as long as a solid food might. To solve the issue, you need protein and fiber. Both of these healthy items contribute a lot to the feeling of 'satisfaction'. However, you need to be sure you're getting fruit peels (apple, pear, peach, etc) for fiber, but not that many fruits have protein.
It's all wrapped up in some tiny seeds. Chia seeds don't add a flavor to the smoothie (they taste like nothing) but they DO add complete protein (like that found in meat) and 2 kinds of fiber (soluble & insoluble) to help you feel full much longer. The more you add, the greater their effect, so you can stay satisfied until lunch. The fiber in chia isn't broken down by the body. It doesn't add calories, but it helps move food smoothly through the digestive system AND feeds beneficial (probiotic) bacteria.
Smoothie mistake #2
Too much sugar:
When looking over smoothie recipes, or a smoothie menu, first check to see if there's any added sugar or sweet ingredients. Things like high fructose corn syrup, cane juice, and even sweetened yogurts can sabotage your plans for health with a sugar overload. Fruits contain natural sugars too (which is fine) but you've got to balance them out with a veggie or two, so you can avoid a 'sugar slump' afterward. Sugars and sweet fruits may be fat free, but they add calories that don't do a whole lot for your health.
Let's solve it
First, always turn down a smoothie with any kind of added sugars. You don't need those for great taste, if you know what fruits to mix & match. Next, add some vegetables. Don't be afraid to throw a handful of spinach into a fruit smoothie. Its flavor is easy to eliminate with a sweet fruit (like a banana) and a strong fruit (like a strawberry, pineapple, kiwi, or raspberry) By mixing "sweet" and "strong" you can choose a vegetable and then eliminate its flavor so that all you get is that great fruit taste you love. Cucumber is good as well, since it is mild. When it is combined with fruits, usually you only taste the 'cool' component. If you use a powerful fruit like pineapple, you can also toss in some kale, and let the fruit do it's taste-fighting job.
Use fiber to slow the digestion of the sugars. Since fiber can't be digested, it gets in the way and slows down the conversion of carbohydrates into sugars. This is great, because it helps keep insulin from spiking (this causes the 'sugar slump') and helps the body digest the smoothie at an even pace that's more likely to keep you feeling full longer. Spinach, kale & chia seeds are easy ways to add lots of fiber to any smoothie.
Smoothie mistake #3
Budget busting smoothies:
Enjoying a healthy treat shouldn't break the bank. Store bought smoothies can get expensive, and, if you've discovered some of them have additives you don't want, it's time to look for a way to blend for less.
Let's solve it
Making your own smoothies at home is incredibly quick and easy when you use these tips--plus, you'll save money too. First, frozen fruit is always in season. Unlike canning, freezing preserves fruit without heat, so those healthy compounds and enzymes aren't broken in the flash freeze. Bags of frozen fruit like mango, melon, raspberries and more are almost always less than their fresh counterpart. Enjoy out of season fruits all year long by going to the freezer aisle. Take the next step by freezing your own fruit while it's in season, such as buying bags of cranberries (only available in fall) kiwis (a summer treat that's not in the freezer aisle often) or your favorite seasonal- only grape. You can also peel bananas, wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze for a creamy smoothie without worrying about those pesky spots.
For a morning smoothie in a flash, fill the blender jar with a hand full of veggies, your favorite fruits, and a splash of non-dairy milk. Then, put it in the fridge. In the morning, just blend & go, you're ready to drink in under 30 seconds. That removes every excuse for skipping breakfast.
Pre-cut frozen fruit, pre-filled blender jars, easy spoonfuls of chia, and simple bags of greens means drinking healthy has never been faster and easier. Mixing at home means you're not paying a premium for someone to prepare something you could make in minutes. If you need a sweeter smoothie, you can sprinkle in some stevia powder before you blend. This sweet herb is much sweeter than sugar (to taste) but does nothing to insulin levels. Unlike artificial-chemical sweeteners, stevia won't make you feel hungrier. Customize the sweetness level with inexpensive stevia so that even kids with a sweet tooth can enjoy fruits and veggies every day.
Smoothie mistake #4
It's time to dump (unfermented) dairy. Keep dairy milk out of your smoothies. Alkaline foods fight inflammation, and dairy milk is an acid-forming food. Aren't oranges and lemons acids too? They start out as acidic, but as they're digested, they become alkaline. Dairy has no such advantage. Plant calcium (like in spinach, chia and kale) is also easier for the body to absorb. If you're going for the protein, you can use probiotic infused greek yogurt or fermented unsweetened kefir. (or even a scoop of vegetarian protein powder)
Let's solve it
Use milk-alternatives like rice milk, almond milk, cashew, or soy. (men should skip soy milk, as it has plant estrogens) If you want a creamy taste, add banana, or frozen banana. Greek yogurt with probiotics as well as kefir can also be used. If you want calcium, it's important to have other minerals with it, such as magnesium & the trace mineral boron. Consuming these minerals together greatly increases their absorption ability. Fortunately, the chia seed brings all 3 together in 1 tiny package. It's also got the omega-3 oils you need to absorb the fat soluble vitamin A in spinach or kale.
With these smoothie solutions, you can add great taste and great nutrition to your menu.
The flavor combinations are endless, and by using the prep-time tips there's no excuse to skip your fruits and vegetables. Think about how much better you could feel if you eat a whole salad worth of greens...before anyone else has even touched a veggie. Stay feeling full for hours with the fiber of the chia seed, and know that you'll never fall victim to smoothie sabotage with this great information.
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