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The Benefits of Quick & Easy Smoothies
It’s pretty basic knowledge that in order to lose weight we have to eat less and more importantly, eat foods that are high in nutrients, but low in calories. If they taste great and keep us full for hours, that’s an added bonus. This isn’t exactly the easiest combination to find, especially when you don’t have hours to cook. This is what makes quick & easy smoothies the perfect “food” to help you live healthier and even lose a few pounds. I’m going to take you through some of the major benefits of healthy smoothies!
Smoothies Can Be Packed With Nutrients
Since smoothies are so versatile, you can add in as much or as little as you would like of any ingredient. You can pack a lot of nutrients in your smoothies by adding things like fresh or frozen berries, tons of other fruits and plenty of dark leafy greens. You can use coconut water instead of plain water to get the consistency you want while also adding a lot of minerals and electrolytes to your smoothies.
Smoothies Can Be Low in Calories but Still Filling
When you make smoothies with the right ingredients, they can be a great low-calorie but filling option. Use a lot of leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and chard, for a smoothie that’s low in calories, but high in fiber. You can use cucumbers, peppers, and even tomatoes to create a green smoothie that will fill you up without much added sugar. Use fruit sparingly and stick to low sugar varieties like berries for the most filling and lowest calorie smoothies.
Smoothies Are Great at Filling Nutritional Gaps
One of the reasons smoothies are such an amazing aid in healthy living is because you can add whatever you like to them. If you know you won’t be consuming a ton of protein for the rest of the day, you can add in a scoop of protein powder to your smoothie to fill that hole. If you struggle to get in your healthy fats, you can add half of an avocado and some flax-seed meal to your smoothie. Mix and match ingredients to fill any nutritional gaps you may have and always be sure to add plenty of greens and a serving or two of fruit.
Smoothies are Quick & Easy Options
Healthy meal prep doesn’t get any simpler than making quick & easy smoothies. Just pick your ingredients, measure when needed, and put it all in the blender. Blend and pour and you’ve got your healthy meal! Even the cleanup from smoothies is simple by using just a quick rinse and then blending some soap and hot water through the blender. The only dishes left to clean are the glass you poured your smoothie in and possibly the knife you used to chop up your produce.
Smoothies Taste Great
Last but not least, smoothies taste great and that’s a good thing. Sure, not every smoothie will be a big hit, but a little trial and error will help you find a few favorites that you don’t mind drinking week after week. Overall, they will make a delicious and nutritious addition to your healthy diet.
3 Types of Smoothies to Add to Your Diet
Delicious Smoothies are a quick way to get plenty of fresh produce in your diet. Let’s face it, they can be practically dessert-like and make for the perfect meal or snack when you’re in a rush. Since they’re so versatile and can be made any way you like, it’s easy to find smoothie recipes that you love and can enjoy every single day. We are going to talk about three different types of smoothies and how you can use them to incorporate more fresh and healthy foods in your diet.
The first option we have is the simple fruit smoothie. You simple mix up one or two of your favorite types of fruit with some ice and a little milk or even yogurt. It makes a refreshing and sweet drink that’s similar to a milkshake but better for you. Fruit and yogurt smoothies are also a wonderful and portable breakfast option.
These types of quick & easy smoothies work well with both fresh and frozen fruit, making them a great year-round option, even when you’re short on time. Mix and match the fruit you use for a variety of tasty drinks! For a boost of protein and a more filling smoothie, you can try adding some low-fat Greek yogurt, peanut butter, or even a scoop of protein powder.
Green smoothies have become pretty popular in recent years and for good reason. They are a wonderful way to work more leafy greens and raw veggies in your diet, without having to eat “another salad”. By now we all know what the food pyramid looks like and it’s likely we don’t all consume quite the right amounts of each food group. You can work quite a bit of greens, along with the fiber and nutrients they provide, in your diet by simply adding a green smoothie into your daily routine.
I have also used green smoothies as a lunch option! I blend it in the morning, store the smoothie in the fridge and just shake it up when I am ready for a healthy lunch. This is a lunch choice that provides you with lots of nutrients without leaving you stuffed and tired. For best results mix and match your greens and veggies from day-to-day.
Most smoothies will be sweet because traditionally, fruit is added to them, but you don’t have to do it this way. You can also make savory smoothies that taste more like vegetable soup. If this is what you’re after, you can mix up greens, tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper along with a little water, onion, and vinegar to make a smoothie that’s inspired by Gazpacho – the Spanish cold tomato soup. Or, if it’s more your speed, you can concoct a smoothie that tastes like salsa. Experiment with different veggies, seasonings and liquids like tomato juice, chicken or vegetable broth.
Give smoothies a try. Start with a few different recipes and then start to tweak and change things around until you come up with your own personal collection of smoothies that you love and that fulfill your nutritional needs.
How to Prep For Quick & Easy Smoothies
Most of us are aware that it’s important to our health for us to be eating healthy, homemade, non-processed foods. In fact, most of us truly want to eat as healthy as possible and make the best choices when it comes to feeding our bodies. The problem is, healthy eating takes time and effort that we often don’t always have in us. You have to go to the store, buy the fresh ingredients, prep them and then turn them into a healthy meal the family will actually eat; all at the end of a long day. This is why we tend to fall into the trap of grabbing a convenience meal at the store or hitting the drive-through on your way home from work. Thankfully there is a healthier yet just as easy option… when you’re in a rush or too tired to cook, make one of these healthy, quick & easy smoothies instead. Here are top tips for making smoothies as quick and easy as possible!
Have a Blender that’s Easy to Use and to Clean
Start by using a blender that’s easy to clean. Read through the reviews before you buy or talk to some friends who use their blenders a lot. Some are more complex and intricate which can make them not only harder to use, but also harder to clean. Fancy is not always functional, in this instance. Find a model that does what you need it to do and is easy to use.
Have Your Smoothie Ingredients on Hand
You’ll want to make sure you have your favorite smoothie ingredients on hand at all times. This usually includes some fresh produce but a lot of the ingredients work just as well or even better frozen. Most fruit and quite a few veggies can be frozen and go from your freezer straight into your smoothies. This makes it much easier to always keep these things on hand.
Some of the best smoothie ingredients to stock up on are coconut water, plain (or low-fat flavored) yogurt, flax-seed meal, chia seeds, frozen fruits, etc. If you want a more filling smoothie, you can even add a scoop of protein powder. Check out this list of the Top 5 Plant Based Protein Powders for Women from Avocadu! This will keep you full until your next meal and will turn a smoothie into a delicious homemade meal replacement drink.
Prep Your Smoothie Ingredients Ahead of Time
The key to making this a viable and fast option is to be prepared. Aside from making sure you have stocked your fridge/freezer with your favorite smoothie ingredients, you should go ahead and prep as much as you can for your smoothies for the week. The best practice I have found is to clean and cut all of my ingredients on Sundays. Oftentimes, I make the smoothie process even simpler by measuring out my ingredients after prepping them. I then place them into Ziploc bags, each bag containing all ingredients for a specific smoothie. Then, I can simply toss these baggies in the freezer until they’re needed. When I am ready to make a smoothie, I just dump in my baggie of premeasured fruits/veggies and add a bit of water, milk or yogurt and blend!
Another trick to saving time is finding the appliances and cups that make your smoothies portable, such as a blender bottle. This, combined with preparing your ingredients ahead of time, makes smoothie making as easy as ordering your favorite take-out or pouring a bowl of cereal for breakfast. Give it a try and don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients and flavors!
How to Create Quick & Easy Smoothies Your Kids Will Love
Getting kids to eat their fruits and veggies can be a bit of a challenge, especially with a picky eater in the family. In our family, smoothies are a great way to hide all that food that’s good for them! Instead of fighting with them to eat their broccoli or apples, you can hand them something that looks and tastes very similar to a milk shake. It’s hard for kids to complain when it tastes like dessert!
Start Out Sweet
Start your kids out with some simple fruit and yogurt smoothies for the best bet. Although green smoothies are delicious and good for everyone, it might be a bit more challenging to convince your kids to eat something that resembles the slime on Nickelodeon! Instead, blend up some banana, frozen strawberries, and a bit of vanilla yogurt for your kids. As they get used to and realize they enjoy smoothies, you can start reducing the sugar in them. It’s easy to make this tweak by adding fewer bananas (or other sugary fruit) and more berries (the less sugary fruit) and switching the sweetened vanilla yogurt for plain yogurt or even sugar-free vanilla yogurt.
Add In a Bit of “Green” Later
Once they have become big smoothie fans, you can try branching out and making them a green smoothie. At first, just start with a few greens and lots of fruit in them. Try giving the smoothie a cool name like “Green Monster Slush” or “Edible Slime”. This may also help make these green drinks a little more enticing for the kids. Keep the portions small and make sure the smoothies taste great before offering them to your kids. You don’t want a bad first impression to ruin their take on these quick & easy smoothies for life.
Utilize Apple Juice to Sweeten Smoothies
An easy trick to add more sweetness to a green smoothie is to add apple juice instead of water. Like you did with the yogurt smoothies, you can slowly reduce the amount of juice and fruit you use to make even healthier and less sweet smoothies. If you do this slowly enough, it’s not likely to make a huge impact on their opinion of the smoothie!
This same trick works well for adults who aren’t huge fans of green smoothies. Your main goal should be to get them to drink the smoothie and get the extra greens in their diet. If that means adding half a cup of apple juice to make it tasty, that’s better than replacing the green smoothie with a plate of chicken nuggets and fries.
Here are a few more tips to increase your chances of getting your kids to drink their smoothies.
- Start with some of their favorite fruits, veggies and foods in general.
- If you have a big peanut butter fan in the family, blend up bananas, berries, milk and a spoonful of peanut butter.
- If your kid’s favorite fruit is peaches, start with peach smoothies, adding in other fruits and vegetables over time.
With a little trial and error and a bit of coaxing, you can turn your kids into smoothie fans and add lots of great nutrients to their diet. For even more tips, read 5 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits in Your Kids from Staying Close to Home.
Healthy Smoothies as Good as Milkshakes
Who doesn’t love a good milk shake? What if you could make a healthy smoothie that tastes as good as a milk shake? With a few simple tricks that is certainly possible. You’ll even end up with an icy, thick drink that’s just as tasty while adding a lot of nutritional benefits. You may not want to have these smoothies every single day but they make the perfect treat that’s delicious and healthy.
Fruit is a Staple Ingredient for Sweet Smoothies
Start by using frozen fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, peaches, and bananas make great frozen fruit choices when you want to make a healthy smoothie that resembles a milk shake. Put the fruit in your blender with a little milk or yogurt. Vanilla flavored yogurt will add some extra sugar, but also a lot of flavor and body to the smoothie. Alternatively, use a bit of plain yogurt and enough ripe fruit to sweeten the smoothie or a little natural sweetener like agave or maple syrup. Blend it all up, being careful to only use enough milk to get the consistency you like.
Make a Base with Banana and Milk
Frozen banana blended with milk and a little vanilla extract tastes and feels very much like vanilla ice cream. This is a great base for a quick & easy smoothie that reminds you of a milk shake. You can add other frozen fruits like strawberry, peaches, and even pineapple to get the flavor you’re looking for.
Of course you don’t have to stick to only fruit. Avocado is a surprisingly tasty and nutritious addition to any creamy smoothie. Using avocado will give you that creamy, smooth flavor and texture. To make a smoothie that’s like a chocolate milkshake, blend avocado, cocoa powder, banana, ice and a bit of milk. You can use rice milk, almond milk, soy milk or any other milk-like product instead of regular dairy, if preferred.
Adding peanut butter to your blend also gives a lot of body and smooth texture to your smoothies. If you like a good peanut butter chocolate shake, use the suggestions above, but add a spoon of peanut butter to the mix before you blend it all up.
Ice is another great addition to any smoothie that will give it that ice cream feel without any added calories. Experiment with adding different amounts of ice to your blender for a variety of consistencies. Just make sure you have a blender that can handle grinding down and blending in ice cubes. Go easy on the liquids and keep blending. For a thick, creamy smoothie, you need a lot less liquid than you may think.
Overall, the most important thing to remember about these quick & easy smoothies is that you are the creator of your recipe. You can blend any ingredients you like and add in those you need to get more of in your daily diet! Don’t be afraid to try something new, because although it made seem odd, it could end up being delicious! Whether you choose to drink smoothies for weight loss, or just because you enjoy them, give these tips a try! Above all, have fun, blend away, and create some yummy treats.