As we’re now right into the swing of summer, with all of the fun activities and lots of daylight to enjoy them, you’re probably noticing that you’d rather be outside than indoors prepping meals. Prep time aside, when it’s hot outside, sometimes the last thing you want is a warm meal. Is there really a quick, cool and balanced answer all wrapped up into one? Smoothies to the rescue! With the right combination of ingredients, they can be all that and more.
So what is the secret to the perfect smoothie blend? It’s no different than what you want to look for in an energizing and satisfying meal…balance!
Protein. This will help you stay full longer after meals. Protein also works to rebuild and repair muscles, keeping your metabolism humming.
- Greek yogurt
- Hemp hearts
- Cottage cheese
- Tofu or dessert tofu
- Milk or milk alternatives (almond, rice, hemp etc.)
Fruits and Veggies. These will provide a bit of carbohydrates which are our body’s main source of fuel and our brain’s only source of fuel! They are also chock full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to promote optimal health. Last but not least, they are a great way to up the fiber content.
- Cherries, berries, bananas, watermelon, nectarines…the list goes on and on
- Starchy vegetables like pumpkin
- Leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Other light tasting veg like cucumber and celery
Fat or Fiber. To round our your smoothie and make it truly worthy of a meal replacement, finish it off with a fat or fiber, or both for that matter! Fat is essential to the absorption of certain vitamins and also provides that satiety factor.
Fiber helps balance blood sugar levels and prevent energy crashes. Fruits and veggies will give a good start on the fiber, but for that extra boost, consider topping it up.
- Nuts or nut butter
- Flax seeds or flax seed oil
- Chia seeds
- Psyllium husk
Finally, get creative with your combos by adding flavor without piling on the sugar.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg, or cocoa powder
- Vanilla (or other extracts like peppermint or almond)
- Lemon or lime
- Fresh herbs (basil, mint, cilantro or lavendar)
No doubt some of these ingredients may sound a bit weird (cottage cheese, tofu, black beans?!) but blended together, they just become part of the mix. Take a look at the recipes below for inspiration for these unique ingredients and remember, recipes are just a guide! They are great for ideas but don’t be afraid to modify them to suit your taste or get that balance you want!
A few suggestions to make these recipes meal worthy
- Nix the added sugar from honey, maple syrup or flavored milks (fruit and spices are often enough)
- Add chia seeds or another item from the fat/fiber list for a thicker texture that will keep you full longer