Not a single person on the planet is a stranger to the smoothie hype that has taken the globe by storm. This begs the question: is it really just hype, or are smoothies the nutrient-rich heroes society has made them out to be. The truth is fairly simple: if you know what to put in this blended health drink, you have a winner but if you add in the wrong types of ingredients you could be creating an unpalatable, calorific nightmare.
So many of us think that a few glasses of fruit juice on any given day will provide us with the nutrients our bodies need. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true. Research has shown that, for the most part, stock-standard fruit juice contains a lot more sugar than expected. Our bodies need something to balance that out. So if you are feeling like your diet is lacking something, chances are that you need more fiber along with all the vitamins and minerals you could be missing out on in your regular diet.
The key to making great tasting, healthy smoothies is to focus on selecting a few key ingredients instead of throwing in as many bits and pieces as you can find. There is the misapprehension that your smoothie becomes healthier if you add in enormous piles of different fruits and vegetables. The fact of the matter is that our bodies are physically incapable of effectively digesting and absorbing foods that have too many components. Keep it simple. Select one, two or three main ingredients that work really well together. Classic combinations like peanut butter and banana, or carrot and pineapple work particularly well together. Beetroot and raspberry, or green tea and apple are amazing as well. Find flavors that balance each other.
Another great trick is to create the illusion that your smoothie is an indulgence. Think rich, think creamy…but without the guilt. Low fat Greek yogurt makes an amazing addition to any fruit smoothie. If you want to avoid any dairy products, add in a splash of coconut or almond milk. Once the fruits have been pulsed together with the sweet, creamy liquid, you will be able to enjoy the kind of smoothie that is fairly close to being a dessert. This is an amazing way to enjoy healthier foods without realizing it. Nothing is quite as satisfying as tricking yourself into thinking that you are splurging on a tasty treat, when in reality you are packing your body full of much-needed vitamins.
Many people underestimate the nutritional value of spices. Cinnamon, chillies, cayenne pepper, ginger and nutmeg can completely transform the flavor of any smoothie. Some of these spices have amazing antioxidant properties. Be adventurous and play around with these flavors. You will most definitely be amazed at what you can come up with. Herbs are also magical in smoothies. Mint is fantastic with berries while basil really enhances those citrus flavors. Lemongrass hardly ever goes amiss and dill adds a surprising sweetness.
Instead of adding in ice cubes, which can really water down the flavor components of your smoothie, try something a little different. Freeze berries or bananas as a sweet, slushy base or try freezing coconut water for some added probiotics. For a deceptive treat, blend some frozen bananas in your smoothie maker and you will end up with the sweetest, healthiest, sneakiest banana ice-cream you have ever encountered. Banana is proven to have antidepressant properties, and is therefore a great addition to any fruit drink.
A dash of hemp seed, olive or peanut oil can create a more silky texture and provide you with the omega 3 you need to keep your brain functioning the way it should. Nuts are also a great source of healthy fats. Be careful with this, though. Just a small sprinkling of these ingredients is all you need – any more than that and you could tip the scales the other way over time.