Blend This, Not That!
Have you ever had a smoothie and found yourself rummaging through the fridge shortly after? You’re not alone. Some studies suggest that eating your calories rather than sipping on them can keep your hunger at bay. How? Solid foods spend more time in the oral processing phase (i.e. in your mouth before being swallowed). The increased contact time with your taste buds can provide flavour satisfaction and may promote the feeling of fullness. Solid foods can also require more digestion and emptying time from the stomach into the small intestine, which can impact hunger levels. If you’re thinking “great, why bother sipping on a smoothie then?” The answer is that not all smoothies are created equally. In fact, if made with the right ingredients, a smoothie can make for a perfect on-the-go breakfast, snack, post-workout or dessert option. The best smoothie is one that uses whole fruits and vegetables, contains healthy fats, fibre, protein and minimal added sugars. To help blend-up an ultimate smoothie, choose a serving from each category below. Depending on your nutritional goal (e.g. weight loss, increase vegetable intake) and/or food allergies, the inclusion and/or portion sizes of each category can vary.
Choose your Base
The base can vary from water, low fat cow’s milk, unsweetened and fortified soy, almond, hemp, and/or coconut milk. Typically, smoothies will contain 4-8oz of liquid per serving. The more liquid used, the thinner the smoothie’s consistency will be.
Get your Fruit On Fruit (fresh or frozen) can not only change the texture and sweetness of the smoothie, but provides fibre. The most common fruits used include apples, bananas, oranges, pineapples, mangoes, berries, cherries and avocados. Aim to include ½-1cup of fruit per serving.
Choose a Veggie(s) Adding vegetables to smoothies is another way to increase your fibre intake to help promote satiety. Common vegetables used include dark leafy greens (i.e. kale, spinach, Swiss chard), beets, cucumber, celery, pumpkin and/or sweet potato. Aim to include at least ½-1cup of vegetables per serving.
Choose a Healthy Fat Similar to fibre and protein, healthy fats will help to promote fullness. Whether you choose unsalted nuts (e.g. walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashew), all natural nut butters or seeds (e.g. flax, chia, hemp), aim to include minimally 1 tablespoon or 1-2 thumb sized portion of healthy fats. Many of these healthy fats are also a source of protein.
Pick Your Protein Powder (optional) Depending on what ingredients you choose, your energy needs and personal preference, you may not need to add protein powder. I typically recommend inclusion of dietary sources of protein (e.g. low fat milk, Greek yogurt) unless otherwise specified. Protein powders that could be included vary from whey, casein, rice, pea, hemp or other protein/protein blends.
Add a Booster (optional) There are many ingredients that can be added to smoothies for extra flavour (e.g. cinnamon, vanilla, dark chocolate, turmeric), texture or consistency modifications, and/or increasing carbohydrates (e.g. oats) and protein (e.g. Greek yogurt) intake. A little boost can go a long way!
There are many different ingredient combinations to make a delicious smoothie. One of my favourite smoothies that I make is called “Sipping Spinach.” Try it out and let me know what you think!
Sipping Spinach Makes two servings.
8-12oz water (8oz for a thicker consistency)
1 apple, medium and cored
1 banana, small and peeled
2 mandarin oranges, peeled
1 tbsp chia seeds
1-2 ice cubes (optional)
In a blender combine the water, apple, banana, mandarin oranges, spinach and chia seeds. Once blended, add the ice cubes and serve immediately. Alternatively, you could blend the ice cubes with the rest of the ingredients; however, it will thin out the consistency of the smoothie.
Nutrition Facts (per serving):
Energy: 160kcal Protein: 4g Fat: 2.5g (no saturated fat) Carbohydrates: 36g Fibre: 9g