How to Make a Smoothie That's Actually Healthy
Drink your breakfast
We'd like to think that whipping up a stack of protein pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs and hash on a Tuesday morning is doable. But let's get real, nobody has time for that. When your everyday workday struggle to get out the door, making a healthy breakfast smoothie is ideal. It will satisfy your cravings, serve as a good source of nutrition, and fill you up for hours. Plus, healthy breakfast smoothies fit perfectly into cute mason jars and portable containers that allow for toppings galore, from fresh berries and shredded coconut to chia seeds and a dollop of nut butter. A general rule of thumb: Don't get carried away on sugar. Avoid this by limiting the number of fruits and juices you add to your breakfast smoothies, and load up on vegetables and proteins instead.
Since smoothies can be high in sugar, it's important to learn how to create your own healthy smoothie recipe at home, instead. While it might be convenient (and delicious) to pick up your favorite smoothie or juice on your way to work in the morning, it'll be healthier for you to make a smoothie at home, and probably a lot cheaper, too (those pricy smoothies and juices add up, you know).
Dietitian Isabel Smith says breakfast smoothies are often loaded with sugar and extra calories mostly because they're made of fruit. Smith explains that although fruit is naturally sweetened and healthy, it's still better to eat in moderate doses during one sitting. "Stick to one piece of fruit or ½ to ¾ cup," says Smith, who often chooses a banana, apple, or a handful of berries.
Now, on to the base. "Make sure your milk is unsweetened, like unsweetened almond or coconut milk, and always add a vegetable, like spinach, kale, or any leafy green of your choice to help add volume and nutrients and keep the calories lower," recommends Smith. You could also add a healthy protein, like peanut butter or a clean protein powder (such as whey, pea, or hemp). Top off your smoothie with something healthy and crunchy like KIND Healthy Grains Clusters, a favorite of Smith's.
Dietitian Elizabeth Ann Shaw suggests using Greek yogurt for the base of your breakfast smoothies if you don't like the taste of protein powder, or if it doesn't sit well with your stomach. "A one-cup serving of cow's milk provides nearly eight grams of high quality protein, and a half cup of Greek yogurt comes in at just about 11 grams," Shaw says. Plus, the probiotics found in yogurt can also smooth digestion. Add it to green smoothies to wake up on a high, tasty note.
Take out your blender, pick a few of favorite fruits and vegetables, and start experimenting.