The absolute best thing about healthy smoothie-making is that the options are pretty much limitless.
There are just so many variations of making a healthy smoothie – each with their own powerhouse of nutrients and benefits. Add to that the range of liquids you can use, the superfoods available to mix in, and the fact that these potent health concoctions can serve as an easy-to-make, ready-to-go meal replacement makes smoothies an essential part of an intelligent diet, if not the meals of the future.
But with all the smoothie-making variations out there, we wanted to make sure you are getting the absolute most out of your smoothies. Are they the healthiest, most nutritionally-balanced concoctions you can be giving your body?
Check out these 8 simple tips to see if you are, indeed, making the healthiest smoothies ever…and if not, how you can be 🙂
Smoothie Tip #1. Add More Greens
Greens are among the healthiest vegetables out there so if you want the healthiest smoothie possible, make these alkalizing greens the main feature of your smoothie recipes – around 60 to 80% of your overall smoothie content.
If you’re really not keen on the taste of greens yet – use sweet fruits like banana, berries, and melons to sweeten the pot as well as less-intimidating, neutral-tasting greens like lettuce, spinach, and bok choy. You’ll be hooked and moving on to the big players – kale, collards, watercress – in no time!
Check out this list of greens for some blending inspiration!
Smoothie Tip #2. Get Thee Some Herbs
Herbs should be a mainstay in every smoothie maker’s kitchen. Why? They are super rich in nutritional and health benefits while being very low in calories, non-existent in fat, and very, very delicious.
Not to mention they are incredibly, ridiculously easy to grow – right in the comfort of your own windowsill, giving you constant access to very yummy, very free herbs 🙂
Try vitamin-packed parsley for an energy lift, blend in a little weight-loss-inducing cayenne to kick your metabolism into gear, or turn to melatonin-packed purslane to help your body de-stress. And then check out our list of herbs to begin experimenting with all of them. We promise – you’ll never blend without herbs again.
Smoothie Tip #3. Use Low GI Fruit
Ever have a super sweet, super yummy all-fruit morning smoothie only to find yourself in dire need of a siesta by lunchtime?
Blood sugar spikes are never conducive to a happy, productive day – which is why it’s always a smart idea to blend with low glycemic fruit. Fruits that have the lowest GI are cherries, apples, pears, grapefruit, kiwi, peaches, oranges, strawberries, and plums.
A little higher up, you have fruits with medium GI like bananas, mangoes, grapes, kiwi, papaya, melons, and pineapple.
A few higher-GI fruits shouldn’t make you crash, but feel free to add more of the low-GI fruits to sweeten your smoothies and be stingier with the medium-GI fruits. The good thing is that the medium-GI fruits are also very sweet and a little goes a long way.
Smoothie Tip #4. Switch it Up
Variety truly is the spice of life. And the last thing you want to be doing on your healthy smoothie adventure is to be drinking the same old smoothie recipe over and over again.
That gets boring. Not to mention, you’d be depriving yourself of the nutritional variety your body craves.
So switch it up frequently. Rotate your greens. Try fruits you’ve never tried before. Experiment with veggies you never knew how to cook. Substitute plain old water with creamy cashew milk, electrolyte-rich coconut water, gut-flora-promoting kefir or antioxidant-rich tea. Give your system a spicy reboot by adding in a chunk or two or turmeric. Live life on the edge and drop in a few raw pieces of garlic. We dare you.
Smoothie Tip #5. Use Organic (Whenever Possible)
Yes, organic fruits and veggies tend to cost more than their pesticide-d counterparts. But more often than not, it is worth it.
Using an organic apple means you get to keep the phytochemical-rich peels on. Blending an organic cucumber means you get the benefits of its mineral-rich peel. Grape skins are another case in point – they’re rich in resveratrol and plus – you weren’t really going to peel each and every one, were you?
This doesn’t mean you have to buy everything organic – but at least buy the stuff that counts. Here’s a handy list of fruits and veggies you must buy organic.
Smoothie Tip #6. Take Advantage of Your Blender
High-powered blenders are amongst the greatest invention ever. Simply ’cause they let you consume so many things you’d never think to eat otherwise.
A high-powered blender like a Vitamix, Blendtec or Nutribullet lets you grind up nutrient-rich parts of fruits and veggies that we normally throw away, like pumpkin seeds (great for protein) and grape stems and seeds.
Not to mention, it allows you to mix not-so-great-tasting things with yummier-tasting things – like seaweed and algae for example.
I mean, have you tried spirulina-mixed-in-water? Have you?!
Don’t ever. Just blend it into a yummy fruit and veggie-laden smoothie and it becomes instantly palatable. Take advantage of this and start blending stuff you would normally not eat.
Smoothie Tip #7. Drink Fresh
Fresh is best. And the healthiest smoothies are also the freshest – and the best tasting. Aim to consume your freshly-blended smoothie as soon as you make it. An easy way to do this is to prepare your most-used smoothie ingredients in advance.
Get thee some leafy green storage containers like the Lettuce Keeper or Green Bags so you can prep and store your leafy greens in one go and then simply pop them into your blender when you’re ready for some green goodness.
The Berry Keeper is also a wonderfully smart way to keep your berries washed and mold-free for easy blending. And of course – cleaning, cutting, and freezing your fruit is a super simple way to keep fruit for a long time and make it super easy to pop into your blender.
Smoothie Tip #8. Give Your Digestion a Boost
Smoothies are great since they’re essentially “pre-chewed” for you (we know, sounds gross), making them easy to digest and freeing up your digestive energy for other, hopefully more fun, activities.
But remember that digestion starts in your mouth. Just because smoothies are already easy to digest doesn’t mean they can’t use a little saliva help. Give your digestive system an extra boost by activating your salivary enzymes to pre-pre-digest those smoothies.
How do you do that? Just “chew” it a bit before swallowing it down.