Having a hard time getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables into your diet each day? Smoothies are an exquisitely delicious way to make sure you’re getting all the goodness of the plant kingdom in a few gulps. And the best time to have a smoothie is early in the morning on an empty stomach. Here’s why.
Smoothies are made of raw fruits and vegetables which digest really quickly. If you have a smoothie or indeed any raw fruit or vegetable when there is already cooked food in your stomach, then the raw stuff will start to ferment while it’s waiting in line for the cooked food to digest first (which typically takes much longer). When it ferments, it creates gases which can make you feel bloated and just generally not very nice. This is the main reason that people think that certain fruits or vegetables don’t sit well with them – because they eat them on a full stomach. But eat fruits, raw vegetables and smoothies on an empty stomach and you’re not likely to experience any such problems.
Breakfast Smoothies To Kickstart Your Day
You can make smoothies with practically any combination of ingredients. There are no bad ideas. It all depends on personal taste. All you need to make a smoothie super-delicious is a really good blender. Let’s get you started with a few really simply ones to get your own smoothie skills rolling.
The Ever-Popular Banana Strawberry Smoothie
This is a very famous combination because it just tastes so darn good. The sweetness and unique, unmistakable flavours of both bananas and strawberries are heaven to many and rare is the person who will say no to a glass of the stuff.
– 2 medium bananas
– A handful of strawberries
– A little orange juice
Simply blend all three ingredients together. The orange juice is just to thin down the smoothie in case it gets too thick. You can increase the amount of orange juice if you like the citrus-ey flavour.
Mango, Strawberry, Banana and Coconut Water
This one turns out exotic and the colour is out of this world. The coconut water adds a subtle tropical flavour which can make you feel like you’re on vacation. 1 medium banana, 1 small to medium mango and a handful of strawberries is all it takes. Blend in the coconut water last.
Very Berry Smoothies
Blueberries are a superfood, bringing tons of antioxidants and phytochemicals to the table. You can make a smoothie of blueberries with yoghurt to create a more liquid texture. Or you can just go berries all the way.
Another berry that has taken the health food world by storm in the last few years is the Acai berry, which is supposedly more potent than any other berry to date. Just replace the blueberries with Acai berry in any smoothie recipe that you’re trying your hand at.
Green smoothies are precisely that – green. You get the colour by adding green leafy vegetables or just vegetables that are green in colour. So you’d add the leafy greens to a base of, say, strawberries and bananas or mangoes. Spinach, kale, collard greens, cucumber, romaine lettuce, wheatgrass, zucchini and iceberg lettuce are common ingredients for green smoothies. Remember to put in just a handful of the greens per serving as the taste is something that you need to develop over time.
Rich Avocado and Blueberry Smoothie
Avocados are stores of good fats which your body needs to keep your organs healthy. They also add a very creamy texture to smoothies. Just make sure that the avocado is ripe. A berry avocado smoothie is pure heaven. Use half an avocado and blend with a whole cup of blueberries. Add almond milk or coconut water to thin out.
Remember that all smoothies taste better cold. So either put your fruits and vegetables in the fridge before you blend them or add a little crushed ice to your smoothies.
Other Ingredients You Can Add To Your Breakfast Smoothies
Flaxseed meal: This is simply flaxseed ground down to a powder. You can buy pre-packaged flaxseed meal or make it yourself by first roasting whole flaxseeds and then grinding them in a blender. Store in a cool, dry place and it will last for weeks. Flaxseeds are a superfood, choc full of nutrition and a great addition to smoothies. Start adding a little at a time to develop a taste.
Coconut oil: While you don’t really think of oil and smoothies going together, coconut oil is something you should seriously consider. It goes well with smoothies, gives them a rich, luxurious texture, and adds amazing health benefits. You don’t need much – just a tablespoon per serving.
Yoghurt: If you are not vegan, consider adding yoghurt to your smoothies. Some people will add yoghurt to smoothies by default. Others prefer adding it only to smoothies that have complementary ingredients. Either way, yoghurt aids in digestion and goes very well with fruits.
Chia seeds: Like flax seeds, chia seeds too are a superfood and have multiple benefits which are uncovered by modern science each day. Just throw in a tablespoon of seeds into your blender.
What You Shouldn’t Add to Your Smoothies
Any kind of sweetener.
Some of the more fancy smoothie recipes will call for maple syrup, agave, honey or even plain sugar. While the extra sweetness will give you a very fulfilling kick in the brain, it doesn’t do much for you on the health front. Instead, sweeten your smoothie with fruits that are naturally heavy duty on the sweet like bananas and mangoes. Even sweet vegetables like carrots and beetroot will add sweetness without unnecessary calories.
A Final Tip
Depending on the ingredients in your smoothies, they can easily run very high on calories. So make sure that your smoothie glass is not gigantic but one that accommodates a typical serving which is anywhere between 280 ml to 380 ml. That way, you can always enjoy the richest smoothie with all pleasure and no guilt. But don’t cut down on the serving too much because after all, this is your first meal of the day and there’s no time like then to to boost your energy levels to get you all the way through till noon.