Smoothies are a great start to the day or a good mid-morning or afternoon snack and a great way of consuming a good portion of your '5 a day'. They are beneficial as they also come with the extra fibre from the fruit, as you blend the whole fruit rather than simply extract the juice. This extra fibre helps to balance your blood sugar whereas a juice can overwhelm your body with too much sugar in one hit! The other great thing about smoothies is that you can pretty much tailor make your own and hide lots of good nutritious foods in them to set you up for the day ahead. You also feel rather virtuous after having one! I would think about including the following:
Oats - oats are great to use in smoothies to make more of a substantial breakfast and provide the slow releasing carbohydrates to help your energy levels during the day. Use dry oats , these can be mixed with fruit and yoghurt etc to make a healthy liquid breakfast in a hurry!
Essential fats - Add Avocado for a super nutritious and creamy hit full of essential fats or ground nuts/seeds such as chia seeds or a 1 tbsp of a healthy oil rich in omega 3 such as flaxseed/hemp oil. Try 1 tbsp of Coconut oil for its immune boosting properties
Protein - It also good to add extra protein to your smoothies to reduce the sugar impact on the bloodstream too, such as ground nuts or seeds, a tsp of nut butter , silken tofu or live natural yoghurt. Try a scoop of protein powder after exercise or for breakfast to keep you fuller for longer- I like www.purition.co.uk or
Vegetables and Green boost - I would always go for adding vegetables into smoothies , as this has less impact on your blood sugar and also makes it more alkalising on the body. Add green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale or even a green powder such as spirulina or wheatgrass for a detoxifying boost. Celery and cucumber are also very hydrating, have a mild taste and are also alkalising as well as being rich in skin friendly silica.
Sweetness - usually the fruit provides enough sweetness on its own but if not you can always use a dash of raw honey/maple syrup or xylitol or stevia for natrual sweetness.
Spices - cinnamon and ginger are also nice to add as cinnamon balances blood sugar and ginger can help when you are feeling under the weather and support circulation and digestion.
Liquids - Coconut water/water or almond /coconut milk depending upon the texture you require.
Basic Recipe to follow: Green vegetable Smoothie
A handful of Dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach , kale or broccoli
½ stick of celery and or cucumber
Grated fresh ginger
Fresh/frozen fruit such as any berries, mango or pineapple,
Green powder ( spirulina/wheatgrass) optional
1 tbsp ground nuts/seeds and/ or 1 scoop protein powder
Top up with water or coconut water
Have fun playing with different recipes until you find your own favorites and enjoy!
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