By: Mia Rigden, MS, CNS
As the first meal of the day, breakfast is important because it sets the tone for your blood sugar levels and cravings. A blended smoothie is an excellent way to ensure a nutrient-packed start, but can easily turn into a sugar bomb! Use these tips and follow our smoothie formula to create sustaining and energy-boosting blends that will keep you full and satisfied until lunchtime.
Smoothies can and should be viewed as a complete meal. There are so many wonderful and exciting flavor combinations to try, but it’s important to get adequate macronutrients into your blends. If you’ve ever still felt hungry after having a smoothie, it was most likely lacking in one or more of these key components:
- Protein: Protein is important for satiety and energy. Depending on your size and activity level, most people will need around 15-25 grams of protein in their morning meal. Protein powder is the most efficient source but can be combined with other sources of protein including nuts (in their whole form or as nut butter), seeds like chia and hemp, and spirulina. If you don’t like the taste of protein powder, try an unflavored collagen powder.
- Fiber: Fiber is critical for digestion and blood sugar management, and makes you feel fuller, longer. Aim for 5-10 grams of fiber in your smoothie, which you can get from sources like avocado, chia seeds, cacao nibs, flax seeds, berries, and other fruits and vegetables.
- Healthy Fats: Fats are important for energy production and cellular function, and play a key role in the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients and the production of certain hormones. Like protein and fiber, they also contribute to satiety. Make sure to get at least 10-15 grams of fat in your smoothies by adding in healthy sources like nuts, seeds, coconut, or avocado. Some of your fat sources will double as a fiber source as well!
Want to supercharge your smoothie? Here are some additional ingredients we recommend adding to your blends:
- Vegetables: Smoothies are a great vehicle for adding an extra serving of veggies to your day. Greens like spinach and kale mix effortlessly and tastelessly into a variety of smoothies, zucchini and cauliflower lend a nice creamy texture, and cucumber is very refreshing and hydrating.
- Fruit: Fruit is a wonderful source of nutrients and flavor, but too much fruit can lead to excess sugar. If you like to sip fruit, blending is superior to juicing, as it retains all of the nutrients, including the fiber, of the whole food, as opposed to just the juice. Stick to ¼ of a cup of fruit or ¼ of a banana to get the flavor and nutrients you crave without a blood sugar spike.
- Herbs & Spices: Using fresh herbs or dried spices is an excellent way to improve the nutrient content and taste of your smoothie. Fresh mint and basil add zing, while ginger (fresh or ground) is excellent for digestion, cinnamon is warming, turmeric is anti-inflammatory, and cardamom is detoxifying and exciting to the tastebuds.