I’ll admit it, I’m a smoothie junkie and I’m doing my best to get Noble hooked as well. In my working mom world, smoothies are an awesome way for me to incorporate a variety of nutrient-dense foods into one quick meal.
They are a staple in my weekly meal plan and my favourite go-to breakfast. I prep the ingredients the night before and with the simple touch of a button, breakfast is ready to go as I’m running out the door.
Smoothies contain high amounts of fiber given all the ingredients are blended in their entirety. This helps to keep you feeling fuller longer and won’t give you the dramatic blood sugar fluctuations that will have you searching for the office vending machine or local coffee shop by 10:00 am.
The ingredient options for smoothies are endless, evident by the more than 5,000,000 search results that appear under ‘smoothie recipe’ on Google. Find a few go-to recipes you love, or play around with ingredients in your kitchen to make your own variations. Some components of a great smoothie recipe include:
Starting your day with protein is incredibly important as it provides amino acids required for your brain to function at optimal levels. According to the Franklin Institute, breakfast high in protein raises your brain’s tyrosine levels. This helps your brain produce neurotransmitters which provide energy and make you feel awake and alert.
Researchers from the University of Missouri also used MRI scans to compare the brain activity of teens who ate high-protein breakfasts to teens who either skipped breakfast or ate breakfasts moderate in protein. Their findings concluded that having a breakfast rich in protein can help you to stay fuller for longer.
These findings offer pretty compelling reasons to begin adding more protein to your morning meal. Examples of proteins that are easy to incorporate into smoothie recipes include nuts and seeds (either whole or in butter form such as tahini or almond butter), or high quality protein powders. Ideally your protein powder should be organic and free of additives, artificial flavourings and refined sugars.
While fats have suffered a bit of a bad rep in recent years, we now know the importance of good quality fats in the diet. High quality fats are imperative for cardiovascular health, brain function, nerve transmission, healthy skin and more. They play an important role in detoxification, are important in absorbing calcium required for strong bones and help to control inflammation in the body. High quality fats that can easily be incorporated into smoothies include coconut oil, avocados, fish oil, nuts and seeds.
Most people don’t consume nearly enough leafy green vegetables despite the wide range of health benefits. Green foods are nutrition powerhouses crucial for strengthening the immune system, helping to promote a healthy intestinal flora, while increasing energy and detoxification. They’re low in calories and low on the glycemic index, meaning they won’t spike blood sugar levels. They’re also packed with phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, folate and vitamins A, C, E and K. Green vegetables that make great additions to smoothies include kale, spinach, arugula and collard greens.
Fruit or Veggies
When it comes to adding fruit and veggies the sky is the limit – beets, cucumbers, bananas, mango, avocado, mint, lemons, pineapple and mixed berries all make great additions. When incorporating fruits, select varieties that are lower on the glycemic index so they won’t spike your blood sugar dramatically, or opt for sweeter tasting veggies such as beets or carrots versus high sugar fruits. Cucumber is hydrating and doesn’t have an overpowering taste. Berries also make a great addition to smoothies given they’re super high in antioxidants that can help your body fight oxidative stress that are caused by free radicals and can lead to illness.
Nutrient powerhouses that pack large doses of antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals are known as superfoods. Adding one or two of them can really kick your smoothie up a notch, helping you to fight inflammation in the body and prevent potential future health problems. Examples of superfoods include gogi berries, chia seeds, maca, bee pollen, cacao, ginger and turmeric.
After selecting your ingredients, you’re going to want to liquefy all those yummy nutrient-dense foods. Using water or a nut/seed milk substitute is a great option. Examples include almond, coconut, hemp, rice milk or pure, filtered water. If purchasing a milk substitute, be sure to select a brand that’s minimally processed and unsweetened in order to avoid unnecessary sugars and other harmful ingredients. Coconut water or maple water also work well.
One of the best things about smoothies is you can mix up the ingredients based on your mood or time of the day – you don’t need to enjoy them solely at breakfast! Next time you’ve got a jammed pack day or are debating skipping breakfast, simply grab a travel mug or mason jar and hit the road with your meal to go.
What are your favourite smoothie ingredients or recipes? Please share below!
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