6 (Healthy) Smoothie Strategies You’ll Love!
1. Power up with Protein – Rely on nuts, seeds, nut or seed butter, or protein powder to enhance the protein content of your smoothie. Protein combined with a complex carbohydrate (from fresh fruits and veggies) and healthy fat (from the nuts or seeds, or even avocado!) will make your smoothie a healthy meal replacement, not just another “sweet sipper”. If you’re allergic to peanut butter or other nut butters like me, try making your own homemade Sunbutter (it’s simple and contains ONLY roasted sunflower seed kernels so we avoid excess sugar and added fat – both are totally unnecessary for making sunbutter at home) or give Sunbutter a try!
When it comes to choosing a protein powder, many are free from dairy/whey/casein, soy-free, low-sugar, vegan, raw, etc. I share my pick in the “Notes” section for my Protein-Packed Mango Smoothie recipe. Find a protein powder that works for you and your food allergies. Note: If you are slightly sensitive to a food, for example, if you have a soy sensitivity (i.e, if you are able to tolerate small amounts of soy, say being able to eat a cookie with chocolate chips containing soy lecithin or eating potato chips cooked in soybean oil with no problems), you probably do not want to use a protein powder derived from your “sensitive” food. That’s because when we have food allergies, it is the protein portion of the foods we are allergic to that cause the reaction. A high protein concentration, as in a protein powder, of foods we are sensitive to could cause a more severe reaction.
2. Fill up on Fiber – Flaxseed meal, chia seeds or coconut flour are great plant-based sources of fiber. Fiber keeps us feeling full longer and aids digestive health.
3. Banish Bananas – For those who are allergic to bananas (or those who simply do not care for them), use alternative ingredients to thicken up your smoothie. Depending on your specific tastes and dietary restrictions, try certified gluten-free oats (check out Bob’s Red Mill), a bit of ripe avocado (from California, of course!), frozen fruit (berries, melon, mango, etc.), yogurt (dairy- or plant-based) or even a bit of cooked cooled SWEET POTATO to give your smoothie a bit of body.
4. Go Green – Avocados are a great option for smoothies because they lend silky texture, mild flavor and healthy fat. Try combos like avocado-banana or cocoa-avocado (you may want to add a bit of honey, agave or other sweetener of choice).
5. Veg Out – Don’t overlook veggies when looking for nutritious and tasty smoothie add-ins. For example, carrots add sweetness (try them with oranges, mango and ginger!) and kale adds a mild earthy flavor and bright green color (combine kale with pear, lime and banana).
6. Sow Your Oats – For a whole grain option, if you’re able to tolerate certified gluten-free oats, consider adding them to the blender along with fruit, veggies and liquid of choice. If you prefer, you can purchase pure certified gluten-free oat flour or gluten-free oat bran to bulk up your bevy.
Remember, keep your smoothies balanced and nutritious with these tips! The possibilities really are endless.