I pretty much alternate every few days between wanting to eat everything in sight to literally not wanting to eat a thing. I am currently trying to get to the bottom of why I’m like that. It used to be that I had a pretty consistent appetite. But I think I demolished that steady appetite with my previous job that was incredibly stressful. Anyways, when I get into the “I just feel blah about food,” mood, I rely heavily on smoothies. I can pack a lot of stuff into a smoothie and its easy to drink. Helps me get some type of healthiness into my diet on days where I’m just not feeling normal food.
I have 3 required parts to smoothies:
I use nonfat plain greek yogurt in every smoothie. At least a cup because that usually provides anywhere from 17g – 22g of protein. If you think plain greek yogurt is gross, get over it. You won’t taste it in a smoothie and you are saving yourself anywhere from 15g – 25g of sugar per serving.
If you are really
being a baby hesitant about this, use plain greek yogurt and sweeten it with honey or agave. That way you can control the amount of sugar. Switching from flavored yogurt to plain yogurt and flavoring it yourself, can really help to cut excess sugar from your diet.
My favorite greek yogurt brand is Fage. This yogurt has the best texture and best taste in my opinion.
I try to use a frozen fruit that will blend easily in my Hamilton Beach Personal Blender. I have had this blender for YEARS. I purchased it for $15 from Target. Honestly, I’m pretty sure it does the same thing as the nutri-bullet or whatever it’s called.
I also try to pick a frozen fruits that are nutrient dense. It’s really pointless to make a smoothie with something that’s just meh on the nutrient scale. If you aren’t familiar with ANDI (Aggregate Nutrient Density Index) you should check out this easy to read guide from Whole Foods. If you are not a big fruits and veggies person, try to pick higher nutrient dense options to suffer through. That way you aren’t suffering for nothing.
Here are the top nutrient dense fruits from the list linked above:
I swear by Wyman’s of Maine’s frozen fruit products. They are consistently fresh and full flavored. They might be slightly more expensive, but I can always rely on these products to deliver. Some of the store brands have a tendency to be underripe. Wyman’s Mixed Frozen Berries are perfect for smoothies. This blend contains 4 of the top 5 nutrient dense fruits. I use probably around 1/2 cup in each smoothie.
Almond Milk or Regular Milk
I prefer my smoothies to be on the thicker side so I usually add enough unsweetened almond milk or 1% unflavored organic milk to get things blended. I emphasize using 1% unflavored organic milk or unsweetened almond milk because it is a great to limit the added sugar in your diet.
Now the wildcard factor comes in. Depending on my mood or appetite, I will any of the following add-ins to my smoothies:
- Handful of spinach – A HEALTHY handful not a, “I’m afraid of adding this green leaf to my innocent fruit smoothie” handful.
- Spoonful of Almond or Peanut Butter – Turns the smoothie into a PB&J.
- Frozen Banana – If I let bananas get too ripe to eat on their own, I’ll slice and freeze them for smoothies. I’ll add half a banana to a smoothie.
- Beet Juice – I do own a juicer and if I’m super well prepared I’ll juice some beets and freeze them in an ice cube tray. Then pop a cube into a smoothie. Beets have some GREAT nutrient qualities but I could never stomach eating a beet. Adding a cube of frozen beet juice to a smoothie is a great way to get your beet nutrients without tasting them.
- Flax / Chia – Sometimes, if I have it on hand, I’ll add a spoonful of chia seeds or flaxseed meal to my smoothie. This is rare that I actually have these on hand, but I have done it in the past.
This is typically how I go about making smoothies. These work for me and are a great way to squeeze a lot of nutrients in to one meal. Many of the “smoothies” available for sale in the world are really just milkshakes. They can have shockingly high levels of sugar due to added juices, sugary yogurts, and flavorings. A lot of these commercially made smoothies contain artificial ingredients as well. I am allergic to fake sugar and certain additives so I am weary of any commercially made smoothie. I also don’t believe in artificial ingredients. There’s no point. If it didn’t exist naturally on the earth then I really don’t want to eat it. Exceptions to this rule are: Cadbury Mini Eggs, Peanut Butter M&Ms, and some of the ingredients in Goldfish Crackers.
I will be sure to post photos of real smoothies the next time I make one!