Loaded with fruits, vegetables and all manner of healthy-looking foods, smoothies just seem like the perfect option for a fast, convenient meal. The problem is that store-bought smoothies can be loaded with excess calories from added sugar and a number of not-so-great additives. A much better option is to take the few extra minutes to make your own smoothies at home. To get you started, here are five tips for making a healthy smoothie – that also happens to be delicious.
- Use Plenty of Ice – It makes logical sense, and science agrees, that a thicker smoothie will leave you feeling fuller for longer. Ice is a perfect way to thicken your smoothie without adding any extra calories. Of course, you could also use frozen fruit instead, but we are aware of the amount of sugar and extra calories this option will add. Frozen berries, which are packed with micronutrients and have relatively low glycemic indexes, are easy to have in the house and can give you some great options when it comes to flavor.
- Throw In An Avocado – The typical go-to fruit for smoothies is the sweet, smooth banana. Not only does this fruit help improve the texture of the smoothie, but it helps add some natural sugar. Unfortunately, it adds lots of natural sugar. Instead, use half an avocado. This low-sugar fruit will add that same delicious texture with an overall better nutritional profile. Plus, avocados have plenty of healthy fats, helping to balance out the nutritional content of your smoothie.
- Add Some Protein – This macronutrient is key to a huge amount of biological functions and has been shown to make you feel fuller for longer. Unfortunately, it’s sorely lacking from many smoothies. You could add some protein powder or use another low-fat, protein-rich food like Greek yogurt.
- Avoid Added Sweeteners – We’ve mentioned the importance of being mindful when it came to the sugar content of your ingredients but you should also fight the temptation to add things like honey or agave. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of sweetener, just don’t let it get out of hand. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners – even if they have no calories – have been shown to increase the risk of obesity and cause other health problems.
- Don’t Be Afraid Of Greens – The idea of tossing some leafy greens in the blender can be a little frightening, but chosen wisely. This addition can really help to round out your smoothie. For one thing, most greens have pretty subtle flavors and are easily hidden by fruit and other ingredients. But, more importantly, greens add tons of vitamins and minerals, in addition to some adding fiber without a ton of extra calories.
To help get your smoothies off to a good start, begin with a quality meal replacer like Gnarly Feast or Gnarly Vegan Feast. You can also go with protein powder like Gnarly Whey or a filling weight loss aid like Gnarly Slim.