Made properly, and from the right ingredients, smoothies can be a healthy addition to the diet, but should be approached with caution as they can often be laden with sugar, sweeteners, even ice cream; easily adding more calories than nutritional benefits.
It’s important to note that juice doesn’t contain the same amount of fibre as a smoothie. When just the juice is extracted from the fruit, it can cause a more rapid rise in blood sugar levels and a spike in insulin. This is best avoided, so Gabriela’s guidance is that smoothies are better than juice but both should be limited to just one 150ml serving per day.
All smoothies need a decent quantity of water to blend but the thickness is entirely up to you.
Simple smoothie Strawberry, banana, blueberry, spinach Bananas are packed full of energy so this is a good choice post workout. They contain potassium, fibre and B vitamins. If you’re new to smoothies, this is a good combo as it’s quite sweet. The strawberries provide vitamin C.
Green dream Leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, kale), almond milk, avocado, celery, cucumber, green grapes, inch of ginger, squeeze of lime The addition of lime (lemon would do) adds a burst of vitamin C which helps with the absorption of iron from the leafy greens. Leafy greens contain vitamins A, C and K, magnesium and iron – all natural health benefits.
Post workout smoothie Greek yoghurt, spinach, raspberries, banana, flax seeds Still start with the foundation of greens, in this case spinach and add berries of your choice and a banana. After exercise you want to repair muscle by consuming some protein, which is why this smoothie includes yoghurt and ground flax seeds. Don’t forget the liquid – either water, or coconut water. If you are feeling particularly hungry you could add a tablespoon of oats for some slow releasing energy.
Fresh Faced Leafy greens, mango, apricots, peach, melon, avocado For a fresh burst choose carotenoid rich fruit and veggies such as kale, spinach, mango, melon, apricots and carrots. To maximise the nutritional value of your carotenoid intake, chuck in some healthy fats in the form of avocado. The body needs some fat to convert these carotenoids to vitamin A.
Extra help Kale, kiwi, pear, lemon or orange juice, celery, ginger This kale and orange combination will help you feel invigorated. By adding ginger, you’re adding compounds called gingerols which are known for their health benefits.
Few extra tips:
Choose fruit and veg which are seasonal and local.
Get a good blender if you can – it will save time in the long run.
Freeze fruit and vegetables! Bananas (skin off) freeze really well. Using frozen fruit or a couple of ice cubes can help if you like your smoothies cold
Feeling brave? Try adding herbs and spices to your smoothie. Popular choices are mint, parsley, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger (but not all at once!)
These are all great to try with kids who might be fussy about fruits or veggies.
Vichy’s Expert Nutritional Therapist, Gabriela Peacock 26TH February 2016
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