Smoothies 101: Easy, Fast, and Fun Nutrition for the Summer
By Guest Blogger: Elaine Morales, Weight Loss and Lifestyle Transformation Coach, Not Just a Day Dream, Pictures Credited to Elaine Morales
The protein-packed smoothie is the perfect solution to these diet dilemmas.
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 mealsSmoothies 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 concentrateAmount 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 About Elaine: