Back To Basics | Making The Perfect Smoothie

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 Morning chickpeas! How's your New year going?! I hope you've had a brilliant start!

There's a lot of people out there who love a good smoothie. It's a great, healthy breakfast or snack right? And yes they can be amazing and nutrient dense but also deceiving. Ratios are key!

 I know a lot of people who'll go away and blend together a crap tonne of fruit and call it done, when it reality if you were to eat that amount of fruit you'd probably have a belly ache and over sugar consumption. And yes although we class it as 'natural' sugar, sugar is still sugar. Or think of it as your meal, if you were just drinking some water with a handful of berries and a banana, you wouldn't be satisfied for very long.

What do we class as a balanced meal? Protein, carbohydrates and fats. So making sure you have these three ingredients in your smoothies is going to ensure you're getting a balance of essential macronutrients. With veggies, fruits and extra boosters and add in's you're also making sure you're packing in lots of micronutrients - your vitamins and minerals!!! Making your smoothie the perfect start to your day or afternoon snack! 

So how do I build it? 

I like to stick to the guideline of 40% veggies/leafy greens & 40% fruits. Then 20%, I add in any extras, such as protein, superfoods, & healthy fats.

Fruits 

Banana: One of the most popular bases of fruit to place in a smoothie, they're great for adding sweetness and a creamy thick consistency! They're easy to digest and packed with potassium, fiber, manganese and vitamin C. The potassium helps regulate blood pressure and the fibre helping to keep you fuller for longer and help digestion. Pick ripe bananas which have just started to get a few brown spots. You can also freeze them which makes your smoothie thicker! 

Blueberries: Blueberries contain a huge range of micronutrients and antioxidants. They're also rich in vitamin C and K, manganese and fibre. They're known to help prevent cancer, heart disease and lower blood pressure. Again blueberries are another great fruit to freeze and add to smoothies, look for dark blue ones!

Mango: Mangos again like bananas are another great staple for smoothies as they are great for giving the thick texture! They're high in Vitamin C, A, prebiotic dietary fibre and are great at boosting the immune system.

Pineapple: Pineapple is a great source of vitamin C supporting immunity and manganese helping generate energy and antioxidants. Pineapple also is brilliant for digestion and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Pineapple is also another great fruit to freeze and add to the base of your smoothies, along with creating a sweet, tropically vibe.

Raspberries: Raspberries are a sweet, powerhouse to add to your smoothies. They're a rich source of dietary fibre and antioxidants. They're full of free radical-blocking phytonutrients and antioxidant ellagitannins knowing to fight cancer and reduce inflammation.

Strawberries: Strawberries are another popular, sweet tasting berry perfect for smoothies. They're full of heart protecting, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory phenols. They're also a great source of dietary fibre helping your digestive system. Choosing smaller to medium sized berries will ensure they're much sweeter and have more flavour.

Avocado: Avocados are a great smoothie addition, they're rich in vitamins and minerals and actually high in protein compared to other fruits! They're also a brilliant source of healthy fat! Choose a firm but not tender avocado, avoiding ones with blemishes, broken skin or dents.

Greens/Veggies


Spinach: My favourite green to add to my smoothies, it's so easy to add without tasting it along with adding heaps of nutrients! Spinach is a great source of vitamin K, A, B2 and C. Along with being high in magnesium, folate, iron, calcium and potassium. It's known to help bone health, reduce blood pressure and help fight cancer.


Kale: Kale is rich in vitamins A, K, and C along with other vital nutrients. It is known to be great at detoxing the body, giving the heart support and preventing cancer.

Butternut squash: Something you probably wouldn't think to add to smoothies but adds a slight sweetness and creamy texture to your smoothies. They contain a good dose of vitamin C, B6, fibre and manganese. They're known to help regulate diabetes, help cardiovascular issues and provide anti-inflammatory benefits.

Courgette/zucchini: Low in calories but high in fibre and water, courgette is a great way to bulk up your smoothies while packing in lots of vitamins and nutrients. They're a great source of manganese, vitamin C and potassium. I like to chop them up and freeze them again to add to a thicker smoothie.

   Cucumber: Cucumbers are incredibly hydrating, and the skins are high in vitamin E which is great for your skins health. They're also high in vitamin C for immune support!



Protein/Extras 


Almonds: Almonds are high in monounsaturated fats which can help reduce the risk of heart disease. They're also high in magnesium and potassium known to help the heart and regulate blood pressure. Along with adding a protein hit!



Chia Seeds: These little bad boys and a nutritional powerhouse to add to your blends! They're full of protein, carbs, fat and fibre leading to the perfect energy booster. They're high in Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids which will help the body stabilise blood sugar. They're also a great source of iron, calcium and zinc. Could you get any better?


Flax Seed: Flaxseeds have numerous benefits for the body. They're very high in Omega-3 fatty acids! They're also a brilliant source of dietary fibre and contain compounds which help lower cholesterol and strengthen your bones.


Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds are loaded with nutrient-rich natural oils and packed with easy digestible protein. Two tbsps of hemp seed will provide you with 11g of high quality, natural protein. They're also a good source of omega - 6 and omega - 3 fatty acids heloing regulate the heart, immune system and hormones.


Protein Powder: I love adding various Vegan protein powders to my smoothies not only for the hit of extra protein, as I'm training to build muscle but also for the flavour. I make sure to choose good quality brands with natural ingredients such as Vivo Life UK, Missfits Nutrition or Form Nutrition!


Pumpkin Seeds: A great booster high in Zinc helping prevent prostate cancer, along with being high protein and iron. They contain beneficial plant compounds known as phytosterols and free-radical scavenging antioxidants, which can give your health an added boost. Known to help the heart, liver, immune system and help with hormones. 



Oats: Oats are a great addition to add to smoothies, bulking it up and packed with fibre to keep you fuller for longer.  Oats are also higher in protein than other grains and a brilliant source of carbohydrates giving you long lasting energy. Try adding a handful of oats to your smoothies!


Walnuts: Walnuts are high in heart healthy vitamin E. They're also high in antioxidants and contain anti-inflammatory compounds. They're also rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which makes them powerful for fighting inflammation and slowing ageing process.


Maca Powder: Although superfood powders are completely optional,, I love adding certain ones from time to time. Maca powder is one a use daily! The maca root/maca powder is known to have numerous benefits to the body. It can help reduce fatigue and boost energy making is a natural alternative to caffeine. It's also known to help hormone and sexual health, helping boost sex drive and even help womens symptoms during menopause. It's also rich in protein, iron, copper and vitamin C. It has a mild caramel taste which can add flavour to any smoothie!



Spirulina Powder: Probably not the first you'd go to for taste however another nutritional powerhouse which I love to add (you can easily disuse it!). Spirulina is a good source of protein, had 4 times the antioxidant profile than blueberries and a good source of bio-available Iron which makes it a benefit to anyone with anaemia or pregnancy.


Cacao Powder: It's a no brainier I love this one for making a chocolate smoothie. Cacao, spinach, banana, peanut butter and non-dairy milk make the dream team! However cacao has multiple benefits to the body also. It's known to improve memory, boost mood, reduce heart disease, boost immunity and give you lots of energy! Raw cacao powder also contains 5 times more of the antioxidant profile than dark chocolate and 20 more than blueberries!


So there just a starting guide to placing together the right ratio's for you smoothie! What are you favourite smoothie combinations?


Holli x








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