Smoothies have made their way to the top of the health-food pyramid, surpassing even avocado toast and egg whites. What is it about these fruit concoctions that has enticed almost the entire healthy breakfast eating community? Perhaps it is their convenience and flexibility that makes them so popular. Whatever the reason, it is very easy to go wrong with a smoothie. What goes under the guise of healthy may actually be harboring tons of calories, fats, and sugars – with almost no protein at all! The key to a healthy meal is balance and this is where the breakfast smoothie falls tremendously short. Making breakfast smoothies the right way isn’t hard, but only if you have the knowledge beforehand. Here are some tips on making a smoothie that is convenient and balanced.
Don’t add extra sugar in the forms of honey, maple syrup, or dates. Basically, if it has a lot of sugar and almost no volume, skip it. Use low sugar fruits as the base, like berries. Berries go a long way in smoothies as both flavor and nutrient-dense fillers! If you’re looking for a way to add taste, try cinnamon, coconut, fruit pulp, or tea. These are all great substitutes to drastically reduce the amount of sugar in your breakfast.
Note that this does not mean putting meat in your breakfast smoothie (Blended chicken smoothie? HARD pass, thanks). Yogurt actually has a good amount of protein. Greek yogurt in particular is a great addition if you can eat dairy. If not, you can try raw eggs. Remember that using raw eggs gives you the slight chance of contracting salmonella, so exercise caution! If neither of these appeal to you, try chia seeds. They are chock full of the stuff with many additionally nutritional supplements, such as calcium, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids. They are pretty commonly used in smoothies for this purpose.
You may be tempted to add a scoop or two of protein powder, but this is not recommended. Many protein powders are not very good for you. If you are dead set on it, pick one that is well reviewed by nutritionists.
(What?! Fat?!) Yes, add fat. Contrary to popular belief, fat is an important component of a fully functioning human’s diet. The trick here is to pick healthy fats, not fats from highly processed foods. Some great ways to add healthy fats are with avocado, coconut milk, heavy cream, or nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter.
What are you looking to get out of your breakfast smoothie? Do you drink it because it’s easy to make, because you love the taste, or is it because you can’t handle solid foods in the morning? Maybe its because smoothies and juices are a big part of many weight loss trends as of late. Whatever your reason, you can add a twist to make it work best for you. Give it a nutrition boost with leafy greens, add a banana if you want it to last until lunch, or try some cayenne pepper for a metabolism boost. One of the best things about making your own smoothies is how customizible and flexible they are.
Using these guidelines, your smoothies should work as a balanced meal. If any one meal in your day has is nutritionally balanced, let it be breakfast. As you probably know well, it is the most important meal of the day! These smoothies won’t be too sugary, will keep you satisfied until it is time for your next meal, and are delicious enough to still appeal to your taste buds.
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