7 Tricks for Making a Healthier Smoothie
These tips can help you make a healthy smoothie at home.
They’re refreshing, easy to sip and packed with health-boosting nutrients. But smoothies from grocery stores and quick-service chains often contain ridiculous amounts of sugar and fat. Some have more than 600 calories in one cup! But the right mix of ingredients can serve up a powerful dose of nutrients and vitamins. The following tips will help you whip up the perfect healthy drink.
Use plenty of ice
A 2016 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who drank dense smoothies felt fuller than those who had a thinner version—even when the calorie counts were the same! The best way to thicken your smoothie without adding calories? Ice. Get started with these healthy smoothie recipes.
Add low- or nonfat dairy
Calorie-bomb smoothies may use ice cream or full-fat yogurt, but low- or nonfat yogurt or cottage cheese gives your smoothie a healthy dose of filling protein without excess calories. Do you know how to meal prep smoothies?
Opt for whole fruit
Does your go-to smoothie blend fruit juice instead of cut-up fruit? You’re missing out on a crucial opportunity for fiber, which takes longer to digest so you don’t get hunger pangs an hour after eating. Try banana, mixed berries or apple. Frozen fruit may make your smoothie taste thicker and frostier. You can cut up ripe peaches, plums, nectarines, strawberries, cherries and apricots, then spread them on a tray and freeze until firm. Store in individual baggies until you’re ready to blend.
Don’t be afraid of veggies
Unless you’re already on board with green juice, it may seem odd to add veggies to your smoothie. But leafy greens like spinach and kale blend into smoothies beautifully and contribute many disease-fighting compounds. Plus, the sweet fruits mask any lingering tang from the lettuces, so you’ll never know they’re there. Of course, they’ll turn your beverage green, so if you’re trying to sneak a few past a toddler or kid, consider mixing them into a smoothie with cocoa to hide the hue. We love this Ginger-Kale Smoothie recipe.
Pack in some omega-3s
A tablespoon of flaxseed meal goes a long way to add both fiber and inflammation-fighting omega-3 fatty acids. Just be sure to use flaxseed meal or ground flaxseed, not whole seeds. The whole seeds will pass right through your digestive tract and provide no nutritional boost.
Try some healthy fats
A little bit of unsaturated fat (half an avocado, or a tablespoon of nut butter) keeps you full, too. The key word is little, or else you’ll pack the smoothie with calories. Find more surprising smoothie ingredients here.
Skip the added sugar
If the smoothie doesn’t taste good, there’s no point in drinking it. But you can achieve that sweet sensation with light coconut milk or water. (Again, fruit juices contain added sugar.) You can also blend in a teaspoon or two of honey, a little vanilla extract or some unsweetened cocoa powder or cinnamon.