Summer Smoothie Tips and Pit Falls

Summer just wouldn’t be the same without a nice cool smoothie in the mix.  They can also be a healthy addition to your regular rotation.  Personally, smoothies have become my sweet fix.  I know what you’re thinking…what, no ice cream and cookies?! Okay, I’ll admit to the occasional cookie.  If you know me, you know I never say no to a cookie – life’s too short for that!  But as I slowly started to shift myself into a diet that was filled with more whole (unprocessed) foods, smoothies just kind of happened, and I am so glad they did! 

PS – It’s not what you think.  I’m not 100% whole foods, however, I do my best to keep that the majority of what I eat.  And if you’re attempting to eat healthier or make the same transition, smoothies might be your gateway to a healthier you!  Here’s why:

They can be the meal that starts changing your pallet.  One of the things a lot of us are missing in our day to day diets are the phytonutrients and vitamins and minerals that we can only get from fruits and vegetables.  We spend a lot of time eating over processed foods and those can make us crave more processed foods, and more sugar.  The cereals, bars, sodas, juices, and breads can leave us wanting more.  If we can replace some of those things with a smoothie filled with healthier and more natural sugars, more fibers, and maybe even some proteins and healthy fats we can start shifting our pallets to crave more desirable eats.  And if you’re someone who doesn’t like veggies or has a texture thing when it comes to fruits (like I do!) this is a good way, once again, to get your body the things it needs!

Another great thing about smoothies is that they are quick, simple, and easy. I hear it all the time from clients.  “I had a busy day and forgot to eat” or “I just don’t have enough time in the morning for breakfast.” Hold up.  Are you telling me you don’t have 5 minutes to make a smoothie?  Because that’s quite literally all it takes.  And if you have prepped ahead of time it only takes 2 minutes.  So, if you are short on time, consider a smoothie.

Smoothies can be a great way to get kids their fruits and veggies!  I have a child that’s a tiny bit pickier than the other.  She loves fruit, but is pretty much opposed to anything green, a common theme among children, I’m sure of it!  However, she enjoys the occasional smoothie and I can get some spinach, flax seed, or other goodies in addition to the fruit she enjoys, and she is none the wiser.  I often let her make her own too which will serve her later in life.  My other kiddo, well, she’ll eat a green smoothie and love every bite because she is a complete anomaly of child who loves leafy greens in anything. 

Which brings me to my next point, if you’re going to make a green smoothie, focus on the green!  Green smoothies are all the rage, but we must remember that the green part of the smoothie is the most important part.  Yes, add fruit, but mostly add the greens!  I like to use about 1-2 handfuls of greens and then add the fruit.  The fruit should be secondary.  It’s possible to get too much fruit, but honestly, it’s better than a lot of other things so it’s not something to worry about just something to be aware of when you build your smoothie.  What you don’t want is a cup full of nothing but sugars.  The greens will help fill you up and keep you satisfied.  It’s important to be careful if you’re having your smoothie for breakfast.  Our bodies can be insulin sensitive in the morning due to the long fast we’ve had overnight.  Too much sugar in the morning can spike our insulin levels making us feel hungrier throughout the day.  Once again, focusing on the greens, healthy fats, and proteins in the smoothie will keep your body more satisfied.  Here’s my favorite green smoothie!

You can also pack your smoothie with nutrition additions!  Personally, I love adding nut butters or whole raw nuts to my smoothies.  If I’m making one for the kids and need them to be satisfied for a while, I’ll add some gluten free oats and blend it up with everything else.  Yogurt can be a good addition for kids too but again be aware of the sugar content.  Nutrition Addition benefits:

Variety of Raw Nuts (Almonds and Cashews) – rich in monounsaturated fats which can reduce the risk of heart disease.  Almonds are also high in magnesium and blood pressure regulating potassium.

Chia Seeds – Natural energy booster that contains carbs, protein, fats, and fiber that can stabilize your blood sugar.

Flax Seeds – Help strengthen bones, lower cholesterol, contain Omega 3, and a healthy dose of dietary fiber.

Pumpkin Seeds – Contain phytosterols that lower cholesterol, strengthen bones, fortify immune systems, a great source of protein and iron, high in zinc, and loaded with magnesium which can aid your sleep cycle!

Other additions can include hemp seeds, sesame seeds, goji berries, sunflower seeds, walnuts, natural nut butters, and the list goes on!

If you decide to add smoothies into your weekly rotation, consider having them post workout.  After a workout your body want to use everything you give it for its maximum benefit.  Since smoothies can sometimes be high in carbohydrates, and protein depending on your additions and goals, your body will use every ounce of those carbs for muscle recovery post workout.  This isn’t to say you can’t have a smoothie without a workout, it’s just to say your body uses the nutrition best post workout – everything goes where it should rather than maybe where it isn’t wanted, make sense?

What you add to your smoothie depends on your goals, i.e. weight loss and weight gain or even weight maintain.  If you are trying to add weight you will focus on adding more of the protein powders, nut butters, oats, etc., the things that add bulk.  If you are focused on weight loss you might focus less on those things and more on the greens and seeds.  If it’s the issue of maintaining a current weight it would depend on your activity level and most likely a mix of both things.

Eat it with a SPOON!  It’s easy to drink a smoothie and drink it fast!  But it isn’t ideal.  Your digestion system and therefore metabolism really starts in your mouth.  Chewing your food is a part of that system!  It gets all those digestive enzymes going so that your body can break down your food properly.  This is another reason why eating slowly is so important.  Also, depending on smoothie it can contain a healthy number of calories, and the last thing you want to do is consume it too quickly – which would mean your body doesn’t use it all the right way – i.e. storing it in unwanted places.  So, if you can, add something chewy post-blend to your smoothie (I like granola but cacao nibs or nuts work too!) and eat it with a spoon.  If you make your smoothie thick enough you may not even need to add something chewy, just eat it with spoon.  No spoon because you are on the go?  Swish the smoothie around in your mouth before you swallow to get those enzymes fired up! And take some pauses between each sip!  Here’s my favorite granola!

No matter what you do, the simple fact that you are here makes you awesome!  Never give up and continue to believe that you can be healthy from the inside out!