Welcome to part 3 of our Smoothie & Juice blog, our aim to starting the new year “Let’s get healthy”
In the previous 2 posts, we’ve talked about basics, including flavour combos and comparing smoothies with juices. If you missed them, the links are at the bottom of this post.
Before I start talking about ingredients, it’s worth remembering that as delicious as a smoothie/juice might be, it is no substitution for some foods. Also if these are featuring in a weight-loss program for example, the body needs a high level of protein (found in meat, fish, eggs or dairy), so you should think carefully how to balance out smoothies with at least one main meal per day. You don’t want to cause the body to panic without these, as it could result in your body storing fat as a ‘precaution.’ I have been advised to top-up a shake with protein powder, which you can easily find online, or from some health food shops on the High Street. Roughly speaking we need to consume around 60gr of protein daily. Remember also that your body can only take in around 30gr of protein in any one sitting (meal), so don’t think like me that you could accomplish this with an evening meal.
Let’s get started with ingredients. What fun you are going to have mix ‘n matching ingredients. Let’s not stop with just fruit and vegetables. You can also include spices, herbs, nuts and seeds as in the right combination they can vastly improve the nutrition of the smoothie/juice contents. I am talking about both here, as some people may wish to juice the fruit for a pure texture, whereas other are happy just to dump everything into a blender and blitz. Pros and cons were mentioned in last week’s post.
I would advise you to consider choosing your combination wisely, as you don’t want to overload the body unnecessarily with all Vitamin C ingredients for example at the expense iron or fibre from vegetables. Try not to use all fruit as you can over indulge yourself with too much sugar, albeit natural rather than processed sugars. Research is showing that sugars rather than fat can be a killer, so worth being mindful. In fact I have read that you need to balance 70-30. 70% vegetables to 30% fruit in drinks, putting a lid on sugars. If you really have a sweet tooth there are sweet alternatives (in moderation).
Download the guide I’ve written on the different nutritional benefits of fruit and vegetables, which will help you choose. Let’s not also forget that nuts, seeds and dried fruit, such as dates, dried figs and raisins can all be beneficial to your drink.
Consider a minute the consistency of the drink. This is a personal thing, but there are ways to control it! Blended drinks behave differently to ice usage, fresh or frozen ingredients.
How do I make my drink thicker?
For a creamier drink, packing even more nutrients, consider adding ¼ banana; 28g avocado or 5g chia seeds
How do I make my drink thinner?
You can control the consistency of your drinks my adding 30ml green or chamomile tea, coconut water or high-moisture food such as lemon, lime, cucumber, lettuce or celery. Don’t forget good old fashioned water as this will add to your hydration!
How do I make my drink sweeter?
½ date or fig, 20 raisins (adds 30 calories), 1 ½ tsp of honey (adds 32 calories) and 1 ½ tsp maple syrup (adds 25 calories). There are dried and herb alternatives, with a lower calorific value if that’s a concern – consider agave nectar or stevia. These will not spike your blood sugar levels.
Keep your smoothie/juice as fresh as possible. Within 30 minutes of cutting open a piece of fruit or vegetable, you can start to lose nutrients. If you are using greens in your drink and you store in the fridge it has been proved to losing nutrients, so although for efficiency it can be beneficial to create a drink the night before to take to work for breakfast the next day, you will lose some benefits. There is no need so chill in the fridge, as the better alternative is to add a handful of ice as you blitz.
In the final blog of the series next week, we will be offering you some great, low calorie, but nutritious recipes for smoothies and juices, that you can put together yourself.
My smoothie recipe for this week is a Beetroot Booster.
If you missed our other “Let’s get healthy” posts:
Part 1 “Let’s get healthy introduction”
Part 2 “the basics about smoothies and juices”
For more recipe ideas, visit our Recipes page, or subscribe to our FREE monthly newsletter Bitesize for recipes, reviews and cooking tips to help you get smarter in the kitchen. Just enter your email address below.