A freshly blended smoothie is a quick, easy, delicious, and energizing breakfast IF made with healthy and nutritionally balanced organic ingredients. It's best to make it yourself so you know exactly how much and what foods you’re getting.
What I love about smoothies for breakfast is that they are quick and simple to make (without a lot of cleanup), taste yummy, are easy to digest, and it feels great to know that I'm starting my day with balanced, power-packed nutrition. Let's take a look at what should be included:
components for a healthy and balanced smoothie
BASE ( 1-2 cups): Bottled fruit juices are highly refined/processed and pasteurized (cooked) causing them to be acid forming in the body. And store-bought rice, soy, almond, and coconut milks are also highly refined/processed and usually have numerous other ingredients in them that are not “real food” — some of them even being toxic.
So what can we use as a base for a healthy smoothie? Water, coconut water (great source of electrolytes), or fresh juice are good options. Or home-made nut or coconut milks are “healthy fats” that are satisfying, a great source of energy, and quick and easy to make. Here’s how:
Nut milk: Cover 1 cup of nuts with water and soak 4 hours or overnight. In the morning, drain out the old water, rinse, and replace with 4 cups of fresh water. Blend on high until it looks white and fluffy. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with muslin cloth or a nylon “nut milk bag”. Keeps refrigerated for 2-3 days in a sealed container.
Coconut milk: Blend 1 cup organic finely shredded coconut (available in the bulk bins at your local store) with 4 cups water on high for 3–4 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with muslin cloth or a nylon “nut milk bag”. Keeps refrigerated for 2–3 days in a sealed container.
FRUIT (1-2 cups ): Choose a variety of fruits combining low glycemic index (like berries, cherries, and peaches) with moderate amounts of higher GI fruits (such as banana, mango, pineapple).
VEGGIES ( 1-2 cups): It's a good idea to start with easy, neutral tasting greens such as romaine and spinach if you are new to smoothies. As you’re feeling more adventurous, try adding more bitter greens like kale, collard greens, lettuces, and herbs like cilantro, mint, and parsley.
SWEETENER: Pure organic stevia (read the labels — many brands of “stevia” have additional ingredients included), medjool dates, or raw honey.
HEALTHY FATS (10-15 grams): Healthy fats include coconut, avocados, and nuts and seeds. Not only do seeds such as flax and chia seeds contribute an abundance of healthy fats, but their gelatinous fibers bind with toxins and remove them from the body - an added plus! Please note if you use nut or coconut milk as your base or a protein source of nuts or seeds, you need to count that in your fat grams!
PROTEIN (15-20 grams): Spirulina powder, chlorella, barley grass juice extract powder, etc. are examples of highly absorbable, high quality, and alkalizing protein. (These do not fit the 15-20 grams guideline, but 1-2 servings would be appropriate.) Other acceptable sources can be a variety of nuts and seeds (or their butters), or approved protein powders made from only pure, organic, whole food sources (such as brown rice, pea, hemp, chia, flax, pumpkin, or sunflower) with no unnecessary additives.
"There should be only one ingredient in your protein powder - the source of protein. There should be no additional sweeteners or flavorings. This is easier said than done."
~ Dr. Mark Hyman
Acceptable protein powders
Like most refined/processed foods, MANY protein powders contain numerous “extras” like sweeteners, flavorings, and other ingredients that are not “real food”. Just start reading labels and you’ll see that the above quote is all too true. Here are some examples that I have found to be acceptable:
Nutribiotic Organic Rice Protein, Plain - Ingredients: Enzymatically processed rice protein from certified organic, whole grain, sprouted brown rice.
Nutiva Organic Hemp Protein - Ingredients: Organic hemp protein.
Navitas Naturals Organic Hemp Protein Powder - Ingredients: Certified organic hemp powder.
Sprout Living Pumpkin Seed Pure Plant Protein Powder, Original - Ingredients: Organic pumpkin seed protein powder.
Swanson Organic 100% Certified Organic Pea Protein Powder - Ingredients: 100% certified organic pea protein powder.
One last note about creating healthy and balanced smoothies is to be creative and change it up regularly so that you are consuming a variety of foods –which always makes for the best nutrition!
Here’s is a basic recipe for a healthy, balanced smoothie to get you started:
JoAnn's Healthy Smoothie
1 cup homemade coconut milk or nut milk
1 cup frozen berries
1-2 bananas (approx. 1 cup) OR 1 cup frozen mango
1-2 cups of spinach, lettuce, or power greens
1-2 Medjool dates or stevia
1-2 Tbsp nuts, seeds, coconut, ground flax seeds or soaked chia seeds
1 serving approved protein powder
Water and/or ice as needed
Blend and enjoy!
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Happy, Healthy Living!
JoAnn Newton is a Holistic Nutrition Educator and Master Massage Therapist with a private practice in Graton, CA.
Passionate about helping people transform their health through holistic nutrition, she facilitates the 23 day online Nutritional E-Cleanse Program with coaching, compassion, and humor.