You can put just about anything you want in a smoothie – but what are the secrets to making them the most tasty, nutritious treats possible rather than just a healthy sludge?
1) Fat is Good
Fat no longer has the bad rap it used to. In fact, it is an essential part of our diets and for a smoothie it’s no different. Certain essential nutrients such as Vitamins A, K, E and D, are fat-soluble and you need fat in order to absorb them. Adding healthy natural, unprocessed fats to your smoothie will not only help you feel fuller for longer, but ups the nutritional availability of your smoothie.
06 Aug, 2013, By AshI bought this initially to add to my porridge and use as a substitute for butter, but after reading all the other reviews, I decided to try it out as suggested as a hair treatment/body oil/lip balm/cooking oil and wow wow wow. This is an amazingly versatile product. My tip for all you great organic nuts is to add it to smoothie mixes – delicious to the max and you all know how healthy it is too!
You can either add fats in the form of oils such as flax seed oil, hempseed oil, or virgin coconut oil, or foods that contain essential fatty acids such as hemp seeds, avocado, chia seeds or flax seeds.
Or add raw nut butters for divine creaminess, nutty taste and that bit of fat, or their milk versions for that milky touch. A dose of omega oil blend is also a great option.
2) Freeze for Freshness & Texture
Freezing your smoothie ingredients has a few benefits. It means you can have fresh fruit and veggies on hand when you want to make your smoothie, and also adds great texture and thickness. This way you can have a variety of wholesome ingredients such as veggies, berries and fruits without worrying they will go off before you use them.
You can freeze just about anything – berries work really well, as well as bananas, mangos and pineapple, and then even veggies such as cauliflower, broccoli, peas and carrots. Cut larger foods such as bananas up into smaller pieces before you freeze so they’ll be easier to blend.
It’s also a great idea to freeze bases such as coconut water or milks such coconut milk or almond milk to create wonderful creamy, frozen texture and base flavour. Simply pour them into an ice tray, freeze, and pop them out when you need them.
3) Eat Your Veggies
Smoothies are a great way to get in your raw veggies easily and with minimal preparation. Avos make for a divine creamy texture and spinach is mild enough to pass undetected.
As you adapt to the greens in your smoothie you can start adding things like kale or mustard and dandelion greens, leafy superfoods deluxe. Carrots are great too, as are cucumbers – not too overpowering and really refreshing. Peas are high in protein. Freezing your veggies will also make the more bitter ones more palatable.
You can even go savoury, skipping the fruit and using tomato or carrot juice and a touch of tamari, chilli sauce and sea salt, along with some healthy herbs and spices such as basil or turmeric and some olive oil (Sea salt is actually great for bringing out flavour in any smoothie, sweet or savoury). Savoury smoothies can work really well with leafy greens and are like a souped-up raw smoothie soup.
Another secret is to throw a handful of fresh sprouts or microgreens into your smoothie – super fresh nutrition with a subtle sweet flavor that won’t be too overpowering.
4) Sweeten Up
A little sweetness helps to mask the bitter or pungent flavours of some smoothie ingredients such as spirulina or camu camu and there are so many low glycemic sweeteners available now. You can use natural sweeteners such as raw honey, xylitol, erythritol or stevia, or rather up the sweetness with fruits such as bananas, apples or dates. The more you wean yourself off excess sugar, the more your taste buds and body chemistry will adapt and change so you will have less cravings and need less sweetness.
Be careful of using store bought juices that have been pasturised as a lot of their nutrients have been destroyed and they can be very high in sugar.
5) Mask & Mix
Superfoods and smoothies go hand in glove, but don’t randomly throw every superfood you can get your hands on into one smoothie. A superfood is a superfood because it contains so much nutrition itself.
Combine your superfoods wisely so that the flavours don’t create an awful clash – again the more pungent and bitter smoothie ingredients such as spirulina, camu camu or kale can be softened by adding some of the yummy superfoods such as cacao, maca powder, mesquite, acai and goji’s that go with just about anything.
Throwing in a frozen banana or two with some cacao does the trick every time. You can also use flavoured protein powders as an easy way to up the tastiness too and mask undesirable flavours.
And smoothies don’t all have to be a murky green colour, you can use bright, antioxidant rich colourful fruits and veggies like berries, mangos, pineapples, mangos and carrots mixed with some creamy nut butters or frozen nut or dairy milks.
6) Top Up the Taste
You can add some amazing flavor that will up your smoothie to gourmet status by using natural extracts such as vanilla, peppermint, lemon, orange and almond. Vanilla of course is a well-known favourite and can be added to practically any sweet smoothie to great effect, but give the others a bash. Peppermint or orange extract work great with cacao and almond extract with berries and almonds. Try it when you are making a dessert-type smoothie and want to add that special yumminess, or else want to mask bitter flavours.
7 Herbs & Spices
When you use herbs and spices that are fresh or non-irradiated, you benefit from their wonderful antioxidant and healing properties as well as their delicious flavours. Choose whether you are going sweet or savoury and choose appropriate options out of things like vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, anise, mint, basil, or cilantro.
8) Fibre & Probiotics
Nurture your tummy with some fibre in your smoothie, such as flax, chia or pysillium. Fibre is necessary for your gut health and digestion which in turn promotes proper nutrient absorption. It will also make sure you feel fuller for longer and stabilise your blood sugar levels, so your super nutritious smoothie will keep you going on full steam until your next meal. You can also keep your digestion happy by using dairy or nut yoghurt, or kefir as a base for your smoothie, for some creamy and tangy probiotic support.
9)Chew Your Food
Because your smoothie is solid food that has been liquidized, you still need to allow your saliva to do its job beginning the digestion process, secreting enzymes to start digestion and sending signals to your tummy about what to expect. Chew on your smoothie a bit before you swallow to make sure you digest it properly. You can even pour your smoothie into a bowel, sprinkle it with yum toppings or a spot of superfood powder and eat it with a spoon.
A little protein with every meal will ensure you feel full for longer and keep your body well- nourished with what it needs to do its building and repair work and sustain your energy. You can use high protein superfoods such as hempseeds, chia seeds or spirulina, or whey if you’re not vegan, or else opt for one of the many natural quality protein powders available.
Smoothies are one of those foods you can just keep experimenting with and are so convenient and nourishing they can replace anything from breakfast to dessert.
Get blending for a convenient, quick way to keep yourself nourished with meals of endless variety and taste.