It's tough to beat the benefits of a smoothie. Make a mean, green smoothie and it'll keep you super-charged all afternoon. Filled with fresh ingredients and tailored to your taste buds, they're especially good for those who:
- Hate to eat vegetables
- Are trying to lose weight
- Need a protein boost
- Rely on caffeine
- ... and even for those who are training hard
Maybe you've already jumped on the smoothie bandwagon and are in fact drinking down a smoothie concoction of your own design right now?
Or maybe the thought of bringing a glass of thick, green, fluid up to your lips leaves you thinking something along the lines of "not in my lifetime."
If this is you then now is the time to expand your smoothie horizons; who knows what kind of health benefits await you with your first sip?
Here are the eight best reasons why you're going to love smoothies as much as me!
1. It beats drinking juice:
Juice can be healthy, however, it can also be as bad as drinking soda or eating sugar, especially if you see the words "from concentrate." The thin consistency of most juices comes from the removal of pulp, or fibre, and we all know that fibre is key to healthy bowel movements, helps to moderate the effects of blood sugar and also helps to absorb more nutrients in your gut.
Smoothies include whole fruit and vegetables which pairs naturally occurring sugars with the health benefits of fiber, creating balanced nutrition.
Admittedly, I don't drink enough water throughout the day, so any extra hydration I can get is essential, and this is where smoothies pull double duty: hydration and nutrition!
When you are feeling groggy, low in energy, or even have a headache coming on, you might be dehydrated. In these instances too many people reach for a high-carbohydrate food, sugary snack or cup of caffeinated coffee without first drinking some water.
Adding a fluid to your smoothie, whether it be almond or soy milk, or even a cold-pressed juice, is important to the consistency of your smoothie and helps to hydrate you throughout the day. You can even skip the flavoured beverage and add plain ol' water, keeping calories down and water intake up!
3. Fills you up:
Fibre and protein are the secret ingredients to feeling satisfied. They are the craving crushers when it comes to dieting and weight loss. Try adding one of the following to your smoothies and feel the power:
Fibre (2 tbsp): psyllium, flax, hemp, chia, fresh leafy greens, peas, beans
Protein (20-30g): New Zealand Whey, or vegan sources (pea, hemp, pumpkin, brown rice, cranberry, broccoli, nut, seeds, quinoa, soy)
4. They're quick and easy:
There's nothing simpler than a smoothie, but maybe the daily chopping and peeling has you leaving the blender in the off position?
I have a secret trick: Pre-made single-serving smoothie baggies (PMSSSB... that's a mouthful).
In a Ziploc bag combine your ingredients (minus any liquids) and store it in the freezer until ready to use. This way, all you need to do is toss the contents of one baggie into your blender, add in some milk, fish oils and water, and you're ready to go.
5. Easy to digest nutrition on the go:
We all can be busy at times but eating at your desk, while driving or multi-tasking is damaging for digestion and nutrient absorption. The great thing about smoothies is that they are pre-digested, no chewing involved! The blender does what your teeth would, grinding the ingredients up into small pieces which are easier to digest and absorb.
They are also ready in minutes, or can be made in advance. So even if you are distracted by your work, traffic jams, or kids, smoothies help to maximize time and nutrition even on your busiest days.
6. They're full of nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, healthy oils, fiber and protein:
My smoothies are a super meal all in one. I get at least:
- Two to four servings of vegetables
- Two servings of fruit
- One serving of protein
- Two serving of healthy fats
- Two servings of healthy carbohydrates (from fruit, vegetables, milks, nuts, seeds, legumes).
I still make sure I eat balanced meals (often a late protein-rich breakfast, raw vegetable snacks and protein-vegetable dinner), but my smoothie ensures I get all that I need throughout the day as an additional power-up.
7. They're affordable:
While organic produce is always a better choice, I'd rather you eat more fruits and veg than not, so fill your shopping cart according to your budget. To keep costs low, frozen fruit is also a great choice as it is often less expensive and gives your smoothie a refreshing consistency.
If you're anything like me I do my best to use up my fruits and vegetables as I get them, but there can often be a lone banana or apple that is a day or two past its prime. When this happens I just throw them in my inexpensive blender, helping to reduce your organic waste, saving money and the environment; your taste buds won't know the difference!
8. They're delicious (even green ones):
Don't believe me? When I first started drinking smoothies I cringed at the thought of a dark green drink of spinach, green's powder and avocado. Now, I love it. But it took time to adjust my taste buds and so I started with sweeter fruit and worked my way to super foods.
It's all about baby steps:
- Start with mangoes, then move to blueberries
- Start with banana, then try avocados
- Start with chocolate whey protein, then vegan proteins
- Start with 1/4 greens powder, then increase bit by bit to a full scoop or more
- Start with spinach, then try kale
- Start with chia seeds, then try psyllium husks
- Start with juice, then switch to vegan milks or plain water
Any way you blend it, smoothies can give your already healthy lifestyle an added boost or can be a great place to start on the road to wellness. So blend one up today!
Cheers and bottoms up!
Follow HuffPost Canada Blogs on Facebook
MORE ON HUFFPOST: