In this article you will learn what makes a smoothie taste amazing and how to make it healthy and good for the body. Become a smoothie pro with these tips and recipes for the best smoothies!
Even though my favourite way to enjoy food is to simply eat it the way it is, the less processed the better, I have to admit that I sometimes really enjoy a good smoothie for breakfast. In this article I will explain how to make the best smoothies: health- and taste-wise.
Smoothies can especially come in handy when you, for example, need to work at a desk and have no time for breakfast. I am not a fan of eating without presence – it’s normally either eat or do some other activity – but it is also okay to sometimes allow yourself some “busy times” and prioritise something else.
I have always believed that making a delicious smoothie was a pretty intuitive thing and that everyone should make it according to their own feeling. But, since many people have already asked me for a smoothie recipe, I will write some general smoothie wisdom and give you some examples and ideas.
Less is not a bore!
First of all, you should not get carried away by the fact that it is all blended into a smooth mash and think that it doesn’t matter what’s inside for that reason. Try to think simple. Three, four, maybe five ingredients are just enough.
A bunch of different ingredients that you would usually never combine can unnecessarily burden your digestive system and cause discomfort in the stomach, so you don’t really get all the benefits from what was supposed to be healthy food.
Also, I would recommend you to use only the ingredients that you normally like to eat, and avoid those that you cannot stand when they are whole. There is a reason why our bodies refuse to consume certain foods in certain periods and we shouldn’t force ourselves to eat what we don’t find tasty or even what makes us sick, no matter how healthy people claim it to be (this is more true if you eat primarily whole foods and your body knows what it needs; if you “feed” your body with junk food, then it will need some time to be sure what food it needs, and what the addicted brain wants).
This refers mostly to fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, and not so much to various superfoods such as maca, spirulina, acai and so on, that are used only in small amounts because they are really strong.
In my opinion (which doesn’t mean that you have to feel the same; discover what fits your body’s needs and your personal taste), a good smoothie contains
- some fruit (preferably one kind) that will satisfy natural need for sugars;
- leafy greens that contain fiber and will, despite being blended, slow down the absorption of sugars from fruits a bit and provide you with some more minerals and antioxidants;
- some foodstuff that will keep you satiated for longer period, such as chia seeds or nuts (I personally prefer chia seeds – too much nuts in a smoothie make me sick because it is too oily for my taste, but if you like it, go for it!). I sometimes go for a dose of pea protein instead of these completely wholesome ingredients, because it really keeps me full for a long time;
- some superfood such as spirulina or maca powder.
When it comes to specific ingredients, these are some of my favourites.
My favourite vegetables for smoothie are spinach and swiss chard, but all kinds of kale, beet leaves and lamb’s lettuce are also a good choice. The younger the leaves, the better the taste. I never use roots and other starchy vegetables because i just don’t find it natural to consume so much starch in a liquid form (maybe in a pumpkin or sweet potato soup, but not in a smoothie).
From fruits, almost anything goes. Bananas will give you the creamiest texture, but apples, pears, mango and pineapple also make a good smoothie base. Berries are naturally not that sweet, so they go well when combined with some other, sweeter fruits, such as pears.
Chia seeds need to be soaked to absorb water before you use them in a smoothie. Superfood powders are full of micronutrients and need to be used only in smaller doses, for example 1 teaspoon of spirulina powder, or 1/2 teaspoon of maca powder.
Why superfoods anyway? They are not indispensable for sure, but they can come in handy when you feel like you can’t get all the nutrients that your body needs from regular food. It is common that today’s food is less nutrient-rich than the food that was produced 50-100 years ago, and not everyone can produce their own food, or have someone to buy quality nutrient-rich foodstuffs from.
And how to drink a smoothie?
I mean… Is there really so much wisdom to it?
Well, there is some wisdom, and that is one of the main reasons for me to write this post. Smoothie should not be drank because it is not water; it is in fact food in a liquid form. Digestion starts in your mouth, not your stomach. If you just swallow smoothie as if it was a glass of water, your body will not get the information that you put food in it on time.
That’s why many people cannot get to feel satiated after a smoothie, some have digestion issues after drinking it, and some people even gain weight on smoothies, because they can drink much more than they would normally be able to eat if they chewed all the ingredients. So it looks like smoothies are not ideal food, at least not for everyone. But the thing is – how you consume it matters the most.
If you like smoothies and think it is a good and nutritious meal (which it certainly can be!), “drink” it slowly, as if you were eating it. You can perceive each sip as a bite and leave it in your mouth for longer, even “chew” on it, move it over the tongue even though you have nothing to really chew. It might sound funny, but believe me, your body will thank you.
One more thing, not less important… as always, use ripe fruits! Ripe bananas are somewhat soft and have black spots on their skin, ripe pears are soft and sweet and so on.. After eating unripe fruits you will probably still feel hungry, and it won’t be that tasty either.
Here are some smoothie ideas.
Now, these are some simple recipes for smoothies that I love to make for breakfast. Most of my friends enjoy these combinations as well. I just blend all the ingredients until I get a really smooth texture. If your blender generates a lot of heat when it works for some time, you can keep it fresh by using frozen bananas and other fruits.
A simple green smoothie
- 2 bananas
- 2 handfuls young spinach
- 3 dates
- 1 tsp spirulina powder
- 250 ml rice milk
Berries and pear smoothie
- 2 pears
- 1 handful berries (blueberries, blackberries, aronia, strawberries……)
- 1/2 tsp maca powder
- 1 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 200 ml oat milk
Choco & hazelnut smoothie
- 2 bananas
- 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 150 ml water
- 1 small handful of hazelnuts or a tbsp of home-made hazelnut butter
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- some coconut blossom sugar or dates
- 150 ml oat milk
Greens & berries smoothie
- 2 bananas
- 1 handful berries
- 1 handful young chard leaves
- 1 small handful almonds
- 250 ml water.
Now, you! Time to get creative and think of some new combinations that you will like the most, and have fun nourishing your body with real foods.