“Don’t drink your Calories.” That seems to be a common refrain among nutrition professionals these days, and it’s certainly good advice when considering sugar-sweetened beverages. But I think there is one very important exception. Smoothies, of course.
Smoothies can be such a tasty way to deliver lots of nutrition, and they require practically no prep work—just selecting the right ingredients and pressing “blend.” They’re my go-to breakfast (or lunch or snack…) on a busy day, so I’ve developed a pretty reliable method for making a smoothie that will cover all your nutrition bases and keep you full until your next meal. Here are a few suggestions for you to mix and match.
You can choose pretty much any combination of fruits (or vegetables such as spinach or carrots), and it’s pretty likely to be delicious. I recommend using frozen fruit to make a thicker, frothier texture, but you can certainly use fresh as well.
amount: 1-1/2 cups.
Most of the time, I use milk + water, but occasionally I’ll substitute orange juice for part of that if I’m making a healthy Orange Julius:) I would suggest using moderation when incorporating juices into your smoothies, as they can increase the sugar content pretty quickly.
amount: 1-1/2 cups.
In order to make my smoothies have some staying power (aka satiety), I make sure to include some sort of protein source. For me, the magic amount seems to be around 15-20 grams, and I try to restrict it to 100 Calories or less. Protein powder brands vary quite a bit in terms of nutrition stats, so be sure to read the label. When I use cottage cheese as the protein source, I use Friendship’s no-salt-added variety.
amount: 4 ounces cottage cheese, 1 ounce protein powder, 6 ounces Greek yogurt
Another element of satiety is fat, which is why I include nut butter in all of my smoothies. You could also use whole nuts or seeds if you’d like a heartier (chewy) texture. For more information nut butters, please see this post.
amount: 1 tablespoon nut butter or 2 tablespoons whole nuts or seeds.
This part of the smoothie is totally optional, but I like to add various mix-ins, just for a little nutrition boost. The type and amount is totally up to you, but some of my favorites are omega-rich chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, and wheat germ.
amount: totally up to you!
Smoothies prepared with these guidelines in mind should contain about 350-400 Calories, 10-12g fat, 8-10g fiber, and 20-30g protein.
What are your favorite smoothie combinations? I really love the classic strawberry banana with almond butter, but recently I’ve been digging mixed berries + orange segments + Greek yogurt.