As the summer sun begins to heat things up, cold, refreshing drinks are a must have. Smoothies are the perfect solution to quench our thirst while providing some important added nutrition.
Fruits and vegetables are a great addition to smoothies because they not only taste good, but because our bodies need about 2 cups of fruits and 3 cups of vegetables daily. Below are are few recommendations to maximize the nutrition power in your smoothies.
Adding protein to your smoothies can help increase satiety. After a good work-out, consuming some protein will help prevent muscle breakdown. We suggest plant-based proteins such as ground almonds, pecans, or silken (soft) tofu.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits are a perfect way to incorporate more fiber and other beneficial nutrients into your smoothie. Combining different colored fruits is best to ensure a mix of different vitamins and minerals. Including vegetables in your smoothies can also add more phytonutrients like lutein and beta-carotene. We recommend using dark-green leafy vegetables and combining them with fruit so the natural sugar in fruit will overpower the bitter taste of the vegetables.
*These amounts are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity, beyond normal daily activities. Those who are more physically active may be able to consume more while staying within calorie needs.
Unsaturated fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, are other great nutrients to add in smoothies. Research shows that consuming unsaturated fats may decrease risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, along with providing essential fatty acids, some fats can contain vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that may prevent free radical damage. You can try using avocados, cashew butter, or chia seeds.
One of the awesome benefits of creating your own smoothie is the ability to customize. You can focus on certain nutrients or food groups, such as consuming more fruits and vegetables. Smoothie-making should be fun, nutritious, and fit your unique lifestyle. As the days get warmer, keep hydrated and try a refreshing smoothie with a nutritious boost.