Smoothie Building 101

Smoothie Building 101

For all of those beginner smoothie makers not knowing what exactly to put in your blender, here is a step by step guide to building a successful smoothie!

It’s all about the base: To make a smoothie blend properly, so it isn’t too thick that you pop a blood vessel trying to sip it through your straw, you will need to pick a base. I am going to make this super simple for you, you have two options, water or a non dairy milk.

  • Water –  Water will always be your choice unless you need more fat or calories in your smoothie.
  • Non Dairy Milk – This will be your option if you need to add more calories to your smoothie, for example, before or after a work out. I would suggest almond milk for this use. If you need to add more fat to your smoothie I would suggest using canned coconut milk, this will create a creamy texture while filling you up more.

The good carbs: Every smoothie is going to have carbohydrates in it, this will be impossible to avoid. It is the game of choosing the right carbs that will set your smoothie up to either help you or hinder you.

  • Fruits and Vegetables – Usually all smoothies will contain fruit, this gives the sweet taste that everyone enjoys about a smoothie. The hard part will be trying to sneak vegetables into the smoothie while still tricking your taste buds into thinking it is still a treat. For fruits, I would always recommend the darker the better, darker fruits (such as blueberries) will contain more antioxidants which is part of the reason for drinking the smoothie in the first place, or should be anyways. Now for the vegetables, leafy greens is always a good choice as it blends well so you don’t notice it. You can pretty much add any veggie you want just be aware that some will have more distinct tastes then others.
  • Extra Carbs – You are able to add other carbs to the smoothie to bulk it up if you are looking for more carbs in your diet or for it to fill you up more. Remember that these carbs don’t have as high of vitamin and mineral content as fruits or veggies would. Some examples of these types of carbohydrates are sweet potatoes or oats.

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Keeping you fueled up: In order for your smoothie to be considered a meal or even to help you recover from a workout they need to contain protein and/or fats. These are always to be good sources and these fats wont make you fat, they actually keep you full longer and build cell walls.

  • Proteins – The most obvious protein you can add to a smoothie is protein powder. These come in many flavours and if you plan on mixing them with other ingredients please choose a flavour that can easily be added to any smoothie (my favourite is vanilla). When picking a protein source please make sure it doesn’t contain sugar, as you just included sugar in your smoothie by using fruit. Also make sure that if it is a plant protein powder it uses protein from several sources (usually a grain and a pea protein, this will ensure you are getting complete proteins).
  • Fats – Putting fats in a smoothie will make it last longer and it is a good way of getting your daily intake of omega 3s and 6s. Some examples to easily add to a smoothie are coconut oil, avocado, flax oil, or hemp oil. When using a smoothie to recover from a work out, I would recommend keeping the fat out, as it takes the protein longer to get to your muscles.
  • Fats and Proteins – Some things you may want to add have fats and proteins in them and are a great addition to any smoothies. They are nuts, nut butters, and seeds (some of my favs are almonds, almond butter, hemp seeds or flax seeds).

Extras, Extras, Read all about them: The great thing about smoothies is you can blend almost anything into them. Here is where I like to add in things I cant stand to eat on their own but insist on including in my diet.

  • Fiber –  If your diet is lacking in fiber this would be a great way to add some more. You will already be getting fiber from your fruits and veggies but some other things you can add are flax seeds or chia seeds.
  • Supplements – I am a baby when it comes to swallowing pills so I just use my smoothie to have my daily dose of supplements. Some easy ones to include are powdered probiotics, powdered vit.C, or powdered magnesium. Another trick I use is just opening the capsules of supplements and add them in.
  • Powders – You can easily scoop in your extra powders such as green powders, high antioxidant powders, spirulina or any other herb powders you want. I advise seeking the opinion of a health expert before taking too many supplements as some may not be advised if you are on medication or pregnant.

If you have been questioning smoothie building in the past, I hope these 4 tips will help you. Even if you have already experimented in the smoothie making process, I hope these tips will help take your smoothies to the extreme!

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Cassie-Lee Tario (C.N.P) is a Holistic Nutritionist and the former owner of The HeartBeet Cafe. She loves to cook, create new recipes and share her health knowledge with everyone. To find out more info about her or how to contact her visit www.cassie-leetario.com

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