As a weight loss and lifestyle transformation coach, I talk to hundreds of people who are motivated to eat healthier and exercise, but run into stumbling blocks on the path to achieving the bodies and lives of their dreams. When it comes to sticking to a healthy nutrition plan, many people are frustrated because their jam-packed schedules don’t leave them enough time to prepare a full meal. Others know that it is important to jump-start the day with a healthy breakfast; however, their appetites don’t kick in until mid-morning. Quite a few people are like me and fit in their exercise early in the morning and find it difficult to get a solid meal in before hitting the weights or cardio class. And, while we know it is important to replenish our energy stores soon after a tough workout, sometimes we need to move on with our day in a hurry and can’t take the time to feed our bodies with good nutrition.
Smoothies are great because they are:
• fast to prepare
• easy on the stomach
• go down quickly
• contain a balance of nutrients, and
• can provide limitless variety to your daily meals
Smoothies found at your local juice bar or bottled at the health food store or coffee shop sure do taste good, but many of them are high in sugar and contain ingredients that may satisfy your taste buds, but don’t have the vitamins and fiber that your body craves.
The good news is that it is really easy to make your own smoothies at home. Here are a few tips!
Liquid Base: Water is a great choice, but I prefer natural, unsweetened almond milk as a base for my smoothies. At 40-60 calories per cup, unsweetened, vanilla or chocolate flavored almond milk provides a consistency and flavor that supersedes plain water and has fewer calories than milk or yogurt. Considering that many of us have difficulty digesting milk proteins, almond milk is a great choice. Another great choice is coconut water, which is an excellent, replenishing post-workout beverage because of its naturally high potassium and mineral content.
Fruits: Fruit provides a quick burst of energy and lots of vitamins, fiber and phytonutrients. Berries and bananas make for a terrific smoothie, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Mangoes, peaches, pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, plums, and grapes taste great in different combinations. To make the perfect smoothie, keep a store of frozen fruit chunks on hand. You can cut up fruit and freeze it, or look for frozen berries and other fruits in the frozen foods section of your grocery store. I always slice up my really ripe bananas and freeze them since they are the secret to creating a really thick, sweet and creamy smoothie.
Protein: To keep our blood sugar balanced and feed our muscles following a hard workout, it is essential that we ingest a small amount of protein with each meal, especially our first meal of the day and our post-exercise snack. Whey protein comes in many flavors and is a fast and easy source of protein for your smoothies. Look for a brand that contains natural ingredients, with no fillers, sugar or artificial sweeteners. Brands that I like include Vega One and About Time. Other good sources of protein for smoothies are flax seeds or almond butter.
I encourage you to have fun and get creative with your blender! Here are some of my favorite combos to get you started:
Blackberry Crush Smoothie
1 c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
4 oz. frozen blackberries
1 TB orange juice concentrate
Amount per Serving
Calories 213; Protein 25g; Carbohydrates 20g; Fat 4g
Almond Joy Smoothie
1 c. coconut water
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 TB cocoa powder
1 TB natural almond butter
1/2 t. almond extract
4 ice cubes
Amount per Serving
Calories 315; Protein 25g; Carbohydrates 26g; Fat 7g
Through individual and group coaching, Elaine Morales helps busy, stressed-out women to gain freedom from the emotional overeating, yo-yo dieting, and negative self-talk that stand in the way of their having the fit, healthy bodies and unlimited joy that is their birthright. Elaine is available to consult for a free, initial Weight Loss Breakthrough Coaching Session at http://www.notjustadaydream.com/contact.