How to make a healthy smoothie
Smoothies can be healthy, easy and cost-effective ways to get in lots of nutrition! But it’s hard to know how much turmeric to add, what liquid to start with and what fruits will make your smoothie taste the best. We’re here to help. Follow our tips, recipes and learn about whole food nutrition.
easy healthy smoothie recipes
Wondering how you can make a healthy smoothie? A smoothie can kickstart your day or replenish your body after any activity that’s got you sweating. Pro tip: Click here for easy and healthy smoothie recipes.
Now, we’re going to share our blending best practices with you! After reading this article you’ll be able to make your own easy smoothies that will keep you feeling energized!
best smoothie ingredients
Having a good ratio of whole plant-foods, both macro (proteins, fats, and carbohydrates) and micro (vitamins and minerals) nutrients in your smoothie will ensure you gain the right combination to create a lot of synergy so you can energize and satiate yourself!
Synergy is when the combined effect is greater than the sum of its parts! Combining a variety of whole, plant foods into your smoothie will ensure you gain a variety of nutrients that all interplay with each other to increase absorption to better nourish you.
low sugar smoothies
Too often, there are many smoothie recipes that fall short of being balanced nutritionally and lean too far into the sweet realm or could be categorized as ‘hyper sweet’. Yes, they may taste delicious and contain some nutritional value, yet weigh heavy with whole foods that contain too many simple carbohydrates (sugars) with a high glycemic load or consist of processed foods with refined sugars or have added sweeteners (i.e. white or brown sugar, artificial sweeteners, extracts (ex. Agave syrup, stevia, etc.).
Don’t be mistaken, we do need carbohydrates in our diet because they are broken down by our digestive tract into sugars in the form glucose. Glucose is an important form of sugar that enters the bloodstream and with the help of the hormone insulin, the cells throughout the body absorb glucose and use it for energy.1
Foods with a high ‘Glycemic Load’ contain a lot of refined and/or simple carbohydrates (sugars) that are digested quickly which will raise our blood sugar too rapidly after consumption causing a ‘Sugar Rush’. This spikes the blood sugar and shortly after a ‘Sugar Crash’ will occur.
This will leave you feeling tired, sluggish, irritable and hungry faster.
Sugar is an inseparable part of the food we consume, but too much sugar is not ideal for our health.2 Metabolic Syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes is associated with consuming excessive amounts of drinks and foods that are ‘hyper sweet’ (high glycemic load).3 Diabetes, arthritis, colon, heart problems and many other diseases are directly related to excessive intake of carbohydrates, most of them added to food products and medicines in the form of glucose, corn syrup, cane sugar, high fructose, and starches. Artificial sweeteners were invented to lower calories with the idea of solving those problems related to high-calorie intake. With time other health problems arose not related to obesity, but with a new series of health problems, caused by the chemical substances found in most of these artificial sweeteners.4
Including more whole foods that contain complex carbohydrates and a low glycemic load will leave you feeling more balanced because they are digested slower and won’t spike your blood sugar like refined and/or simple carbohydrate type foods or products.
These whole foods will sweeten your smoothie: Medjool dates, mangos, bananas, yams.
So how do you make a balanced smoothie?
Make sure to include many different nutrients in your smoothie!
Macronutrients (protein, fats, and carbohydrates) are needed in our diet and are required in large amounts to provide us with the energy we need to maintain and carry out the activities our body needs to perform on a daily basis.
Examples of macronutrients:
Protein – Avocados, hemp seeds, lentils, nuts, seeds and quinoa are great sources of plant-based protein. Make sure your nuts, seeds and grains are sprouted!
Fat – Coconut oil, avocado, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds are great choices.
Complex Carbohydrates – Apples, blueberries, yams and beets (fresh).
Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are needed in our diet in lesser quantities than macronutrients and play a crucial role in overall health and wellness. Green leafy veg (micro greens – sprouts, baby greens – spinach, kale, collards).
Essential Vitamins & Minerals:
Pranin Organic PureFood powders offer essential vitamins and minerals:
PureFood B to gain 7 essential B-vitamins that will help keep you energized and focused.
PureFood C to gain the whole food vitamin C to support your immune system, to be revived and protected.
PureFood Iron to gain non-heme (plant-based) iron for those who might be low so you can stay strong and energized.
high fibre foods
Dietary fibre from plants plays an important role in our overall health, especially digestive and bowel health. It is the leading dietary factor in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases.5 It comes in two main components, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibres have a high water-holding capacity which helps soak up water as it passes through our system to aid in bulking our stool to guard against constipation and diarrhea. It also helps with delaying gastric emptying which can cause an extended feeling of fullness.6
Insoluble fibres better known as roughage is the tough matter from foods like nuts, whole grains, fruits and veggies like the stalk, skin or seeds that don’t dissolve in water. This type of fibre can slow gastric emptying and may slow nutrient uptake, and can slow the rise in blood glucose (sugar) after a glucose load (meal).6 It is also very important for bowel health by keeping you regular.
Smoothie ingredients for fibre: Flax, chia, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds.
Probiotic and microbial (fermented) whole foods are known to improve intestinal health, enhance the immune system, synthesize and enhance the bioavailability of nutrients for absorption and reduce risk in certain cancers.7
A few common fermented foods you may be familiar with are Kombucha, Kefir and Apple Cider Vinegar. For Feeling adventurous, try our yummy probiotic smoothie ‘Apple Cider Probiotic Smoothie’. Probiotic smoothie ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar, raw, unfiltered – 2 tbsp (blends seamlessly into smoothies), Kombucha ½ cup (as long as it is organic, live/raw), Sauerkraut ½ cup (raw and unpasteurized), Miso paste 1 tsp (raw and unpasteurized) and kefir (typical a dairy product, but low in lactose due to being fermented. You can also try coconut mylk kefir.).
Warm smoothies in the winter
Are smoothies okay to enjoy year round? Now, there is much debate on whether or not you should drink smoothies year round. We are from the school of thought that it is okay as long as you keep in mind that you need more warming whole foods in your smoothie during the colder months (fall and winter) and cooling whole foods during the warmer/hotter months (spring and summer).
Warming and cooling smoothie ingredients:
What liquids should I add?
Filtered water is the best base for any smoothie! This will help with digestion and alkalizing. Naturally adding filtered water, fruits and veggies will alkalize your smoothie but you could kick it up a bit with adding some citrus like lime or lemon. Learn more about the importance of clean water, read our article ‘I Drink Enough Water, So Why Am I Still Dehydrated?’
Non-dairy milk – You can also add in nut or oat mylk. Try making our Hazelnut Mylk with pulp or our Original Almond Mylk! Avoid cow’s milk if you can. We explain the truth about dairy and milk in our article Is dairy bad for you? The white lie we’ve been drinking.
Coconut water – choose one with no added sugar.
Avoid using packaged fruit juices because they usually have added sugar or are high in fructose which is a type of sugar that spikes the blood sugar.
Depending on what you put in your blender, smoothies can be our best friend or biggest foe. Hopefully, this article inspires and provides you with the knowledge you need to create a balanced and healthy smoothie.
Have questions about our PureFood products? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article was researched & written by our in-house Holistic Nutritionist, Kari Fraser, CNP, Hons.