Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and we all know we should eat it, right?? Well, I have always been a big breakfast eater, but on most days with my busy, hectic schedule, I turn to a breakfast smoothie for a quick and healthy fix. Having a smoothie for breakfast, lunch or dinner is a healthy and convenient solution to a meal. A morning homemade smoothie can get you hydrated and keep you from indulging in empty carbohydrates like those donuts and cookies you see at the office.
My advice is to make your smoothie as healthy as you can with natural, whole, nutrient-dense ingredients that provide vitamins and minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats. Avoid using any type of prepackaged mixes with chemically altered ingredients; they are loaded with too much sugar and not enough protein and fiber. A healthy smoothie is filled with protein, fiber, vegetables, immune-building super foods, nutrient dense ingredients and a small amount of fruit. I tell my clients, you get your vitamins and minerals from the foods you eat, not from vitamins, and a smoothie is a perfect source.
Here are my three simple steps to making a smoothie that gives you complete nutrition in one frothy concoction.
Start Your Smoothie With Three Simple Ingredients and a Blender
Of course, having a good blender is the main tool you need to make a good smoothie. I highly recommend using a high- powered blender, such as a Nutribullet. It’s more efficient than using a regular blender because it has exclusive cyclonic action, specialized blades and a very powerful motor which helps to convert whole vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and other superfoods into exceptional liquid fuel for your body.
The basis of a good smoothie starts with 3 main components: a high- quality source of whey or vegan protein, 1-2 cups of unsweetened almond milk and a small handful of a low glycemic fruit. A little fruit will give you plenty of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and a good power boost to your day. Plus, it will naturally sweeten your smoothie so you are not tempted to add sugar. You can always add pure vanilla extract for extra sweetness.
Add Protein, Healthy Fat and Something Green
To make your smoothie complete, you must not forget to add your protein. I use whey, a high-quality protein source naturally found in milk that contains all of the amino acids your body needs. One-two scoops provides the right amount of protein for one meal.
A truly healthy smoothie should have a great dose of essential fatty acids for the body to use in assimilating all the vitamins, minerals and all the other healthy ingredients you put in your smoothie. Excellent healthy fat choices are extra virgin coconut oil, chia seeds, milled flaxseeds, shredded coconut, peanut butter and avocado.
Finally, the importance of eating green vegetables cannot be overlooked because they are packed with Vitamins A, C, E and K. Try kale, spinach, spirulina, or wheat grass to get your vegetable intake for the day.
Adding Superfoods Completes Your Smoothie
When I make my smoothie in the morning, I think of all the immune building ingredients I can add to make it a powerful, nutritious drink. From there, I add my optional super foods, which support my digestive, brain and heart health. Add a fiber source such as milled flaxseed, chia or oatmeal. Consider Maca powder, which helps improve your energy, mood, stamina and libido. Turmeric is good for your immune system. Milled Hemp seeds add additional protein and fiber. Wheat grass and Moringa powder are also good quality green sources you can add to your smoothie.
Here’s my recipe for a quick and delicious, healthy smoothie:
1.5 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1 serving of whey protein powder (~20-30 grams/scoop) or vegan protein
½ cup of berries
1 Tbsp of Milled Flaxseeds
Vanilla Extract for Sweetness
For Green source: 1 scoop of wheat grass, 1 scoop of super greens or 1 tsp of Spirulina or 1 cup of spinach or kale
Other Fat source: 1-3 tsps of coconut oil or flax oil or 1 tbsp of chia seeds, milled flaxseeds or 2 tbsp avocado
Additional Superfood Add: lemon juice, mint, 1 tsp of turmeric, ¼ tsp of cinnamon, ½ tsp of maca powder or 1 tsp of matcha power