If you’ve paid even a little bit of attention to the healthy living world in the past several years, you know that smoothies are having a serious moment. And for good reason – smoothies can be SO delicious friend, and when you use the right ingredients can pack some major nutritional punch. But, it’s also really easy to make smoothies that are too high in sugar and don’t deliver enough of the other macronutrients (protein + fat) to keep you feeling full.
Have you ever experienced that serious energy crash and ravenous hunger after you drink a fruity smoothie? Not fun.
What we want are healthy smoothies with protein, low sugar content, and a little healthy fat to keep you full for longer. So many of my friends and clients ask me for smoothie advice and recipes, so I decided to put together a handy dandy smoothie guide with a breakdown of my favorite smoothie boosting superfoods, staple ingredients and a few recipes.
Real talk for a second though – do you guys actually measure out your smoothie ingredients? In general, or when you’re following a recipe? I’m totally of the ‘eyeball it and it usually works out’ mentality, which definitely makes recipe creation a little more challenging...
With that out of the way, let’s get into it, shall we? You should aim to follow the below 'template' for putting together your smoothies:
1/4 c fruit
unlimited greens (1 c at least)
1- 1.5 c liquid
1 serving protein (7-10 g)
1-2 tbsp fat (15g)
1-2 tbsp fiber (1-4g)
This is of course just a guideline, so play with it! But the above will give you a super healthy, nutrient dense smoothie. Especially once you start adding...
I am constantly telling my clients to eat more healthy fats - and you should, too! Chia seeds are great in that department, bringing a big dose of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Chia seeds also have a good amount of protein (4.7g per ounce) and a ton of fiber, which helps keep you full and keeps cravings at bay. Chia seeds can hold up to 12 times their weight in water, so it’s a good idea to let your smoothie sit for a few minutes before drinking it, so the chia seeds don’t expand in your stomach and leave you feeling bloated.
This stuff is so good for you… and unfortunately it tastes like it. I’ll warn you guys, this stuff tastes terrible to me. But if you mix it with some frozen organic pineapple, a little kale, protein and some almond milk it’s not so bad, and it’s definitely worth it. Chlorella is an epic detoxifying superfood, has an insane amount of protein (16g per ounce), and is more nutrient dense than any other greens. Chlorella has tons of Iron, Vitamins A, B2 and B3, Iron, Magnesium and Zinc, and you only need a little bit to get all of those nutrients.
Remember those healthy fats? They’re back, this time in flax seeds. Add flax seeds to any smoothie to help balance blood sugar with those fats and a big serving of fiber to help keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal.
High Quality, Plant Based Protein Powder
It is definitely possible to get all of the protein you need into your smoothies without adding a protein powder, but I personally love the extra boost from adding a serving to my smoothies. There are so many great options available today that offer organic, non-GMO, plant based proteins, so my best advice is to experiment and find one that you love. Always ready your labels and check from something that uses plant sources (not whey – it’s a common allergen for so many people) like pumpkin seeds or peas, and avoid anything with a bunch of additives or added sugar. My favorites are Aloha and Perfect Fit.
If you want a natural energy boost, maca is a great go-to. Maca is an adaptogenic root, and also helps balance hormones, making it a good addition for anyone who struggles with PMS, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or is going through menopause.
Have you guys seen the turquoise smoothie bowl trends that are popping up all over Instagram? That’s the beauty of spirulina, another blue-green algae that make an awesome addition to your smoothies. Spirulina contains significant amounts of calcium, niacin, potassium, magnesium, B vitamins and iron, and is also another protein packed ingredient. 60-70% of spirulina’s dry weight is from protein, and you’ll get 4g per tablespoon.
You can get any of these supplements at your local health food store, or grab them online. My favorite company is Organic Burst - they use sustainable, ethical farming practices and source from only the best of the best producers in the world. Watch their social media or join their email list to be the first to know about deals – they offer some pretty great sales from time to time.
So now, onto the recipes! Like I mentioned above, I’m all about estimating my ingredients when I make smoothies, so feel free to adjust it to your liking. You can grab even more of my recipes in my Breakfast of Champions ebook, or join our free Facebook group for regular recipe inspiration.
Spinach Superfood Smoothie
1 c spinach
1 tsp spirulina powder
1 tsp flax seeds
¼ c frozen mango
1-1½ c coconut water
*option to add 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Green Dream Pineapple Smoothie
1 tsp chlorella powder
1 c baby kale
½ c frozen pineapple
½ pineapple juice
1 c water
*option to add 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Chocolate Berry Chia Bliss Smoothie
1 tsp chia seeds, soaked for 10 minutes
¼ c mixed frozen berries
1 tsp raw cacao powder (great source of magnesium)
1-1½ c unsweetened almond milk
*option to add 1 scoop chocolate protein powder