Smoothie 101

Adding nutrients into your life will help you feel awesome and, by filling up on the good stuff, there won’t be as much room left for the not so good. Smoothies are packed full of nutrients and are very easy to digest. Smoothies can be a meal when made with a combination of protein, good fats and fibre from fruits and vegetables. Even when the fibre from the fruits and vegetables are blended, they still have the same benefits of eating them whole. Making a smoothie for breakfast has the added benefit of giving your digestive system an easy first meal of the day. A great option for breakfast on a morning that you have an early workout is to drink half or your smoothie before and the half after. As well, a smoothie can be a terrific post workout snack.


Making sure your ingredients are power-packed is the key. We want to add health promoting fruits and greens, along with other foods, blended together to fuel your body with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, omega-3’s, healthy fats, phytonutrients, and proteins.


Whether you’ve never made a smoothie before or you already have a smoothie recipe that you know and love, you can take your smoothie to the next level with some power ingredients.


Read on for a list of some of my favourite, nutrient packed ingredients and a chart with all the information you need to create a perfect smoothie.


Chia seeds

These fabulous little seeds are high in omega 3, fibre, and are gluten free. When mixed with water they form a gel and this helps make your smoothie more filling.


Hemp seeds

Hemp seeds, also known as hemp hearts, are a good source of amino and fatty acids, protein, and are gluten free. If protein powder doesn't agree with you, hemp seeds can give your smoothie a protein boost.


Flax

Flax is full of fibre and omega 3’s. Using the pre ground flax is the easy route. Adding flax to your smoothie ups the fibre content which is beneficial for extracting excess estrogen in women. The flax will also make your smoothie more filling.


Cinnamon

This common spice helps brain function, is antibacterial and anti-fungal, and helps control blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown cinnamon to help boost your metabolism.


Raw cacao

It has been shown to be an appetite inhibitor and help with cardiovascular health. Cacao is a high source of antioxidants and magnesium. It also adds a fabulous chocolate flavour!

Greens

My favourite greens to add to a smoothie are spinach, kale or zucchini. If you don’t already add greens to your smoothie, give it a try! Once you add so many delicious ingredients you won’t taste your green.


Both Kale and Spinach are loaded with fibre, calcium, folic acid, vitamin K and iron. Spinach is a nutritional powerhouse rich in vitamin C, fibre and carotenoids and lutein. You can buy it frozen and pre-chopped which makes it extra easy to add.

Kale provides an excellent source of vitamins B6 and C, carotenes, and manganese. It is also a very good source of vitamins B1, B2, and E, fibre, iron, copper, and calcium. It is also easy to use frozen and pre-chopped.


Zucchini is packed with many vitamins and acts as a thickening agent. It is high in fibre. It also has some added benefits for cancer prevention because zucchini contains zeaxanthin and several other compounds that can play a role in preventing oxidative stress. As well, it is rich in vitamin B6 which has been shown to help with regulating blood sugar. I pre slice my zucchinis and freeze them in small bags or containers.

Fruit

Fruits have endless benefits! The top of the list fruits that encompass the nutrition goals of fibre filled and nutrient rich are blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, pears, apples, peaches, cherries, bananas, pineapples and avocados. Each fruit on this list brings a ton of flavour and unique nutritional properties. Raspberries and pears are the top of the fibre list. Apples, cherries and pineapples have anti inflammatory properties. All the berries are rich in antioxidants that benefit overall physical and mental health and bananas are rich in potassium and magnesium.


And yes, avocado is a a fruit! It is the only fruit that provides a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It keeps you feeling full for longer and it has been shown to improve digestion, improve brain health, and is rich in antioxidants.


You can buy your fruit pre frozen or chop yourself to freeze. If you use frozen fruit you don’t need the added ice cubes or may just need a couple depending on your preferred thickness.

Marine Collagen

Supplementing with collagen daily can improve skin hydration, fine lines, and overall appearance of skin. It supports the growth of hair and nails. It also helps to reduce joint pain and supports good digestion.

Nut Butter or Nuts

Nut butters and nuts provide protein and heart-healthy fat. This beneficial fat helps slow your digestion, which will help you stay full for longer. As well, brain health is greatly supported by unsweetened almond, peanut and cashew butters or just use peacans or walnuts. The high protein and fiber definitely keeps you feeling full and aids in energy.

Oats

Rolled oats can be added for texture fiber, and beta-glucan. They are also high in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Protein Powders

Great choices include unflavoured pea protein powder or whey protein powder from New Zealand. Look for unflavoured if possible or choose vanilla or chocolate flavours depending on your mixture.

Ginger

Fresh or ground ginger adds enormous punches of flavour and health benefits. These include improved digestion, blood sugar regulation, improved metabolism, increased immunity and possess anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.


Maca powder

Maca is a Peruvian root used to enhance energy and overall wellness. This powder is known to help with hormone balancing. Maca contains B vitamins, iodine and iron in addition to protein. You can also buy Maca powder with probiotics.


Ice

In order to add a thickness and to have a cold temperature - use frozen fruit and greens. If you are not using any frozen ingredients add 4-5 ice cubes per smoothie.


Use this chart as a guide to make your own super smoothie picking one or a combination of items from each category to maximize your nutrients. You can save this chart by dragging it on to your desktop and from there you can print a copy.