We’ve all wondered about the raging debate – are smoothies healthy?
The answer, quite frankly, depends on who you ask. Why? People who care about calories hold the opinion that smoothies can add too many calories and thus jeopardize your weight loss goals. Others may say that smoothies are a healthy way to add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.
So who should you believe? If you know anything about me, I’m a huge advocate of not counting calories as long as you’re listening to your body and eating minimally processed, whole foods. Smoothies are made of raw veggies and fruits, which is amazing, and because they are pureed, they’re easier to consume than eating salad.
What this means is, it’s great to get in some extra servings of fruits and vegetables. We already know that. But it bears repeating because smoothies concentrate a lot more nutrients from the veggies and fruits than a salad would, because it’s pureed (which makes it easier to digest). Now the fibre in vegetables and fruits is what takes us a long while to chew and swallow them, and also which keeps us satiated and helps to avoid overeating (not vegetables and fruits, but the other junk that we eat, because honestly we can’t overeat vegetables and fruits – they are that good for us). However, this property of whole vegetables and fruits is lost in the smoothie form. The nutrients aren’t lost, just the ability to satiate – because the fibre is broken down when pureed.
That’s both good and bad; good because you can be eating a lot of vegetables and fruits without realizing you’re full, so you’re getting in a lot of nutrients, but then you’re also getting in more calories (especially if your smoothie includes more fruits than vegetables). But that brings me back to my original point – knowing what you do about how you’re eating more vegetables and fruits and also getting in more calories, do you think smoothies and healthy?
I’m going to go with yes, smoothies are healthy, especially if your smoothie includes 50% or more vegetables because in modern society, we all need extra servings of vegetables and fruits. The more vegetables you have in your smoothie, the healthier it is. Fruits are best eaten in their whole form. So, add lots of veggies and only some fruit (or make vegetable-only smoothies with lime juice and ginger or mint – the possibilities are endless), and make yourself a cup of healthy goodness (just don’t add any refined sugar or even honey or maple syrup).
Here I’m going to share some of my favourite green smoothies. Smoothies are refreshing, super nourishing and very quick and easy to put together, so they’re perfect for when you want some extra helping of veggies and fruits (which is always?).
Research has shown that people who eat several servings of fruits and vegetables have a healthier immune system, and gut microbiota. Smoothies are therefore a great way to get your servings of fruits and veggies all at once (but also have healthy, minimally processed foods other times of the day or you’re not going to be your healthiest self). For people who are rushed at breakfast and rely on coffee to power their mornings, smoothies are a great way to get in heaps of refreshing goodness to supercharge your day.
Without further ado, here are the promised three super healthy, super delicious, SUPER STAR green smoothies ;). I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. (BTW, you can jump straight to the meaty part and download my FREE pdf with 45 super delicious, super nourishing smoothies not just green but varied rainbow colours right HERE).
Smoothie 1: Mango Green Smoothie
Why it’s awesome: The baby spinach packs a solid nutrient punch without an overwhelming taste, the mango adds rich flavour and vitamins while the apple adds in lots of antioxidants and fibre (and flavour and some sweetness too ;)) and the cucumber, lime and lemon add a refreshing twist. Download the recipe pdf here (no email required)
4 cups baby spinach
1 juiced lime
1 juiced lemon
1 Apple diced (I keep the skin on as the skin is very nutritious)
1 1/2 cups Mango frozen (or fresh)
2 cups water
Place all ingredients together in a blender and blend until smooth.
Smoothie 2: Ginger green smoothie
Why it’s awesome: Once again, the baby spinach packs a punch, the pineapple adds loads of refreshing flavour and vitamin C, the blueberries provide tons of antioxidants, the ginger adds a zesty touch and the flax seeds add good fats and fibre. Click here to download the pdf version of this awesomeness.
3/4 cup Pineapple, diced
1 tbsp flax seed, ground
1 1/2 tsp ginger, peeled and grated
2 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup water
4 ice cubes
1/4 cup blueberries
Directions: Throw in pineapple, flax seeds, ginger, baby spinach, ice cubes and water into the blender. Blend for a minute or until smooth. Pour 3/4 of the mix into a glass or mason jar. Add blueberries to leftover mix and bled again for 30 seconds. Add blueberry mix on top of the green mix. Enjoy!
Smoothie 3: Apple Kiwi green smoothie
Why it’s awesome: a mix of delectable fruits such as kiwi and apple, nutrition-packed baby spinach and a hint of cinnamon (if you’d like) to control blood sugar levels. Actually, you could add a pinch of cinnamon to any smoothie for its positive effect on insulin levels. Get the pdf for this smoothie here.
1 Apple, cored and chopped (leave skin on for nutrients and fibre)
2 Kiwi (peeled and sliced)
1 tbsp flax seed, ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
2 cups baby spinach
Place all ingredients except baby spinach in blender and blend well. Then add in baby spinach and blend again. Enjoy!