Grab your NutriBullet, a rainbow of fruit and veg, and get ready to put your mad scientist skills to the test! It’s smoothie time!
Smoothies can be fantastic pre and post workout treats, packed with nutrients and vitamins. Swapping out that morning coffee for a smoothie or juice made on fruit and veg is also a much healthier breakfast choice. It’ll fill you up and sustain your body throughout the day. But it’s important that you don’t just pack in whatever you can find in the fridge. A smoothie, while giving you a license to get creative, should also contain a few key ingredients. And most importantly, all of these ingredients should be lovely and fresh – none of that “just add water” packet nonsense! Quick smoothie alternatives such as this are often filled with preservatives and artificial sweeteners that can do far more harm than good. We take you through our guide to making a healthy, delicious smoothie to brighten up your insides.
The basic ingredients of a healthy smoothie
Fibre is the ingredient in your smoothie that will keep you going through the day. It fills you up so that you aren’t constantly snacking between meals. Ingredients such as chia seeds, berries, kale, oats, flax meal and shredded coconut are all high in fibre and taste great in smoothies!
Many people opt for a protein powder as a base for their smoothie, but there are plenty of fresh ingredients that are rich in protein too. You can use these in your smoothie instead to gain the energy boost that you need. Cottage cheese, soft tofu, pumpkin seeds and unsalted almond butter are all natural sources of protein.
Fruit and veg are jam-packed with vitamins, but it’s vital that you balance these with the other ingredients in your smoothie, as many (like pineapple) can also be high in sugar content. Bananas are always a good option as they’re an excellent source of vitamin B, they’re high in fibre and rich in potassium. Spinach is also full of vitamins, namely vitamin C, and doesn’t overpower a smoothie’s other ingredients (you’ll hardly know it’s in there!).
Stop thinking that all fats in food are the enemy! Consuming controlled quantities of natural fats is actually a crucial element of your diet. They will give you energy, help keep your skin soft, provide essential fatty acids and leave you fuller for longer. Try adding avocado, coconut oil or cashews for that healthy balance of natural fat in your smoothie.
Calcium keeps your bones and teeth healthy and strong! But one critical thing to remember here is to choose the unsweetened products when adding milk and yoghurt to your smoothie. This applies to plant-based, non-dairy options too. If you’re using berries and fruits, your drink will be sweet enough already.
Many of these ingredients will double up in their health benefits. For example, Greek yoghurt is a fantastic source of calcium and is also high in protein. Likewise, bananas contain both fibre and vitamin B. The trick is to make sure that you’re balancing your ingredients out when considering their health benefits.
Smoothie recipes to get you started
Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s OK! If you don’t think you’re ready to launch into creating your own smoothies just yet, why not try a few recipes first? Experimenting to find the right combination of ingredients for a smoothie for your body and your lifestyle can take time, and a little trial and error. Kickstart your exploration with these recipes.
Green smoothies are all the rage and contain a big dose of veggies and vitamins! This one is also a hit for vegans!
Do you find navigating a menu is like picking your way through a dietary minefield? This smoothie is for you. It’s simple, ticks all the dietary requirement boxes, and will cure that sweet tooth too!
This one has a few naughty (but natural) sweeteners in it that you can opt to remove if you want to lower your sugar intake. If it’s cheat day though, we say a little can’t hurt!
This refreshing smoothie contains turmeric and ginger, which are great for calming the stomach. Both ingredients are effective antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory properties.