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Tips For Making Healthy Smoothies (and a recipe)

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Just because a smoothie contains leafy greens does not mean it is good for you.

Many smoothies, particularly those commercially made, contain as much or more sugar than a can of regular soda.

To enjoy the taste and energy benefits of smoothies without sending your blood sugar into the stratosphere, make them at home, and consider these healthy-smoothie tips.

Four Healthy Smoothie Tips

  1. Since most smoothies contain fruit, it is unnecessary - and unwise - to use fruit juice as the base liquid. Water and unsweetened green tea are good choices. Non-dairy milks such as almond and coconut are excellent low calorie options. Though dairy milk has more calories, it provides a complete protein and hunger-satisfying dietary fat.
  2. Use unsweetened main ingredients in your smoothies plus a small amount of sweetener. A teaspoon of honey, which is about 5 grams of sugar, is often sufficient. Or, you might use some natural stevia powder or extract.
  3. Include some protein and healthy fats in your smoothie—they slow down digestion and help the body absorb the carbohydrate (sugar) more slowly. For instance, toss in some high quality protein powder, a spoonful of almond or peanut butter, chunks of avocado, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, or oats.
  4. Enjoy smoothie-minis by filling the blender 1/2 to 3/4 full, instead of to the top—and use only three or four ingredients. For example, make a mini-smoothie with almond milk, whey powder or peanut butter, and a small banana. For extra flavor add a spice.

Cashew Coconut Green Smoothie

The kale and arugula in this smoothie provide a couple veggie servings, and pea protein powder and cashews make it high in quality protein. Coconut milk is a great source of healthy dietary fat. Not only does this smoothie carry a low-glycemic load (it will not spike your blood sugar), the cinnamon acts as a blood sugar stabilizer.

You will need:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 apple, cored and chopped
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons pea protein powder
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/2 cup dry roasted cashews
  • Water or ice to reach desired consistency and temperature

Preparation:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.

Makes 2 to 4 servings.

Sources: Chopra; Lifehacker
Photo credit: Joanna Slodownik