Refreshing, quick, nutritious, and delicious.
The smoothie has exploded in popularity in the past decade with no sign of this fuel-packed delight going anywhere anytime soon. It is a great choice for health-conscious, busy people. It’s also a great choice for those who don’t like “health food” because you can easily hide all kinds of nutrients in your blended treasure.
Smoothies help us pack in the nutrients that God gave us to thrive. If you want to taste them or mask them, it's up to you. Making a low-sugar smoothie is as easy as substituting a few ingredients.
“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.’” – Genesis 1:29
Although you can purchase smoothies in many places, the health content when purchasing can be questionable. I would like to encourage you to try incorporating smoothies into your home routine.
Here are a few tips to make this process easy and rewarding:
1. Design delicious smoothie recipes.
Understanding the basic structure of a smoothie is important. Our health coaches put this chart together and I find the visual helpful.
The most important thing to remember is that you need liquid to blend your smoothie. I do this first so I have an accurate measure. I always add greens to my smoothies. If you do not like the taste of greens, start with less. You will see that you can gradually add more without realizing it. Greens are loaded with nutrients and can go unnoticed if you prefer. Then add fruit or avocado and any added nutrients like nut butter, spices, or supplements.
Anything popular will also get scrutinized. Smoothies are no different. It's been widely criticized for its sugar content. If you’re not careful it can be packed with lots of sugar. This is especially true when you buy a smoothie. The good news is thatwhen you make a smoothie yourself, you can control what goes in it.
Here are a few suggestions to lower the sugar content of your smoothie:
Start by evaluating your base liquid. To be honest, water is the best for most smoothies. If you are going for a fruity flavored smoothie, get that flavor from the fruit as opposed to fruit juice. Fruit juice can have added sugars and the fiber is greatly decreased. Sugar-free milk alternatives like coconut milk or almond milk can also be used.
Then you should consider what sugar you are adding in. Use lower-sugar fruits like berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. How about considering a savory over a sweet smoothie? Consider removing or drastically cutting down the fruit content and instead add lemon, avocado, herbs, and spices. You have full control when you make it yourself.
2. Master your blending technique.
First thing’s first: Having a good blender will make your job easier and your smoothie smoother. Plain and simple. Yet, if you don’t have the funds to rush out and purchase the top-of-the-line smoothie blender, don’t let that stop you. These blending tricks will help you get the texture, taste, and look you want.
Blend in sections for the smoothest of smoothies. Jason Vale in his book Super Blend Me!, recommends blending your ice first as a key first step to make sure your smoothie ingredients are chilled. I agree that the right temperature smoothie matters, but I don’t always blend my ice first. If I want to make a smoothie that will sustain me longer, I add chia seeds. In this case, I add my liquid and just let the seeds soak right there in the blender for about 20 mins. This softens them prior to adding the other ingredients and ice.
Here’s a trick to blending greens: blend them a lot! If I am blending kale, I first remove the center stem which is dense and bitter. I blend the kale leaves in my liquid first because they take longer to break down into tiny pieces. If you skip this step, you may end up chewing your not-so-smooth smoothie. Baby kale and spinach are easier to blend and may be a good choice if you are just starting.
There is one more trick to making a smoothie taste great: make it look great! Beware of mixing colors that will turn your smoothie brown. If you want a vibrant green smoothie mix only green ingredients like mixed greens and kiwi. For a true orange drink mix turmeric and carrots. Let’s face it, our brain will send a message to our taste buds if it does not look good. Beautiful, vibrate colors will tell our brain, YES PLEASE!
3. Stay satisfied by switching it up.
There are two trains of thought. One, have a tried and true smoothie recipe you can mass produce quickly without thinking about it. You know what to buy in the store and could blend it up without thinking. I tend to follow this idea most often. Once I find a recipe I like, I stick with it for quite a while. But, I know many of my friends like variety so they don’t get bored. Here are some ways to mix it up.
The first obvious thing to do is try new smoothie recipes. The possibilities are truly endless.
America’s favorite smoothie flavor is banana. I’m guessing it’s not the flavor of banana that is so popular in smoothies, but the texture. A banana gives a great smooth and heavier texture to a smoothie, making it feel more like a meal than a drink. Following are some other tips to give your smoothie a bump and help it feel more like a meal than a beverage.
Make it a meal by adding nut butter, chia seeds, oats, shredded coconut, plant-based protein powder, or Greek or dairy-free yogurt. You can even make it with less liquid to make a smoothie bowl like an acai bowl, but add any flavor you want.
Add in some extra nutrients and flavor with ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon, cayenne pepper, or cacao. Then, garnish it with a stem of rosemary or a strawberry and enjoy!
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Your body will feel great and your energy will soar with all the nutrient-dense goodness you are giving it.
Debbie Ryan is a Public Relations Specialist with Medi-Share. In addition to being a wife and mom, Debbie is passionate about health and wellness, and encourages others in healthy living every chance she gets.