Welcome back to our Year of Resolutions!
Once again, we’re going to focus on something that is easy to do, but can be difficult to do consistently. Tip #5 is: add a healthy smoothie to your meal plan. A smoothie is an easy way to improve your health and boost your nutritional intake.
David and I have been doing this for years. In fact, we started in the ‘smoothie business’ back in 2004 with our company IdealShape. We developed meal replacement shakes to help people lose weight and get healthy. We did this for many years, and we eventually sold our company in 2016.
That experience was really the launch for our current company, More Than Healthy, because we liked helping people lose weight, that was a great thing, but we recognized it was really about so much more than weight loss. Getting healthy improves and affects so many parts of your life. Losing weight can definitely be part of that, yes, but there’s so much more to it! There are people I know who would consider themselves to be overweight who are pretty healthy; their systems are working well, their organs are functioning, and they feel good. And the opposite is true, too. I know some skinny people who aren’t very healthy, because their systems aren’t functioning well. So it’s not all about weight.
Give your Health a Boost
An easy way to boost your health is through drinking healthy smoothies. And the options are basically endless! We’ve posted many yummy smoothie recipes on our website. You can also just make up your own. Just make sure you add healthy things to your smoothie. Don’t add too much sugar! You can add a little fruit, but don’t go too crazy, because a smoothie full of sugar has the opposite effect on your health.
There are lots of ways to make a healthy smoothie. When I make one for myself I use almond milk. But you can also use water. When I make a smoothie for David we use coconut milk, since he can’t have nuts. When I’m making one smoothie, I add 8 ounces of almond milk. I sometimes add some water to thin it down, but an 8-ounce base makes a pretty good-sized smoothie.
Drink Your Health with Added Greens
Next I make sure to add my greens. In our week #3 tip, we talked about adding more greens to our diets. A healthy smoothie is a great way to do that. In that week’s video, we showed you some green powders which you can use in your green drinks and smoothies. You can also use fresh greens. We buy a big bag of leafy super greens and throw a couple of handfuls in each smoothie. (Note: Another tip is to freeze your bag of greens. Greens don’t have a long shelf-life, but if you freeze them, they’ll last forever!)
We also like to add some frozen fruit. A small handful of whatever fruit you’ve got in your freezer works great. When your bananas start to go brown, simply peel them and freeze them so you always have them on hand for smoothies. Frozen strawberries, pineapple, and mango are delicious and healthy in moderation. Any sort of frozen berries also works well. Adding frozen fruit gives your drink that thick, smoothie feel and helps you feel full.
It’s very easy to add some good fats to a smoothie. One of our go-to’s is MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil. There are many health benefits to MCT oil, including increased energy and reducing risk of heart disease. Another source for healthy fats is avocado. Sometimes I add half an avocado to my smoothie.
I’ll also add some healthy seeds. Seeds are so good for you, and they’re pretty easy to add to your diet if you throw them in your smoothie. Here are some that we usually include and an overview of their health benefits:
- Hemp: Considered a superfood, hemp has an antioxidant effect. Some of the health benefits include brain protection and inflammation reduction.
- Flaxseed: Filled with nutrients and healthy fats, just one serving provides a good amount of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and several vitamins and minerals. Flax is known to reduce cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar.
- Chia seeds: Also a superfood, chia is high in fiber, protein, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc. They are the richest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids. They’re also a ‘complete protein,’ meaning they contain all nine essential amino acids that cannot be made by the body.
Helpful tip: Take your seeds and mix them in a little bit of water before you add them to your smoothie. This allows the nutrients in the seeds to begin to release, and they’ll mix into your smoothie better.
At this point, I blend everything up really well. If your smoothie is too thick, you may need to add a little water.
The Power of Protein
Don’t forget to add some protein to your smoothie. You probably know that protein helps you feel full and staves off hunger in between meals. It’s also a critical part of the processes that fuel your energy and carry oxygen throughout your body in your blood. Protein helps make the antibodies that fight infection and illnesses. It helps to keep cells healthy and in creating new cells as well. Here at More Than Healthy, we recommend using a plant-based protein that is gluten, dairy, and sugar-free,
Blend that all together until it’s smooth and delicious. This makes a big, hearty smoothie, so you need a big cup.
When Should You Add a Healthy Smoothie?
A lot of people like to have their smoothie for breakfast. The bulk of my clients have one either first thing in the morning or right after a workout. But a lot of my clients like to do it at dinnertime, which can also be a great idea. If you have issues with sleeping (falling asleep or staying asleep), or find yourself snacking in the evening, a big, thick smoothie for dinner might be just what the doctor ordered. A healthy smoothie will help reduce evening cravings. It is easier on your stomach so your insides don’t have to work hard to digest food while you’re trying to fall asleep and throughout the night. It also keeps you from adding extra, unnecessary calories at night.
David and I typically have our smoothie around 11:00. It’s our first meal of the day. We do intermittent fasting, and we usually start with a smoothie as a late breakfast. Then we have lunch a little later, and an early dinner. We try to keep our eating window between 11:00-6:00 or 7:00. Using a smoothie as one of our meals really helps to keep us on track. We can fit in a healthy smoothie whenever it works best for us that day.
Some days I make my smoothie in advance and take it in a lidded cup in a cooler to have later. There is so much versatility with smoothies. Even on a really busy day, you can get a lot of the nutrition your body needs through drinking a healthy smoothie.
So Good for You!
A healthy smoothie is so good for you! But, you might have to acclimate a bit to the taste. I had to get used to drinking smoothies with lots of greens and seeds. I like that our protein powder helps cover the taste of those, but I’m not willing to add cup after cup of fruit (i.e. sugar) to cover the taste completely. Remember: This isn’t about pleasing our taste buds. This is about putting nutrients into our bodies, and feeding our bodies what they really need.
We encourage you to give this a try and add healthy smoothies to your meal plan. See what happens! This small change can pay off in big health and energy dividends.
Note: You can read more about our journey in our best-selling book, Eating to Live: Unlocking the Leaky Gut Code. Also, please feel free to comment on our social media posts or message us with questions. We love getting them and will always respond. We like to help you in any way we can in working toward your optimal health.