These days, it seems as though green smoothies are all the rage. It seems like everywhere we look, someone has something to say about green smoothies, green smoothie detox diets, and green smoothie diets.
While these are all potentially great ideas, they only work if you actually follow all of the instructions- and you are willing to stick with the diet that follows.
Following are some tips on what you should do for your green smoothie challenge and what you should avoid doing.
Measure the Ingredients
As long as you make them with the proper blend of ingredients, a smoothie can actually be a powerhouse of nutrition.
After all, with the right ingredients, you have a meal/snack that is full of vitamins, minerals, protein, and antioxidants. On the other hand, if you add just a few of the improper ingredients, you can end up with a sugar-filled, high calorie dessert instead.
So- to make sure that you have a nutritious and delicious smoothie, keep the following in mind:
DO carefully measure out your ingredients. This is because taking the time to measure out the ingredients ensures that you get the proper nutrition. Plus, it helps you make sure you have the proper ratio of liquids to solids.
DON’T just throw everything in your blender. Sure, it can be easy to assume a smoothie is a “free-for-all” and toss in a variety of handfuls/drizzles of your ingredients. However, this “laissez-faire” method actually adds dangerous elements of fat, calories, and sugar.
Consider Your Liquids
DO choose coconut milk or Greek yogurts. The optimal choices for making yourself a creamy, healthy smoothie are light coconut milk or plain low-fat Greek yogurt.
The coconut milk will give you a creamy texture and slightly rich flavor. The Greek yogurt also gives you a protein boost.
DON’T use fruit juice. While it’s true that the liquid in a smoothie is critical for ensuring the proper consistency, you should never add fruit juice because this can add too much extra sugar to it.
Time to Go Green
DO start with using spinach in your smoothie, as it’s easy to mask the flavor of it. This means it’s the perfect option for those who are just starting out with green smoothies. Once you’ve started to at least tolerate the flavor of greens, you can start branching out to parsley or kale.
DON’T start with kale. Sure, it’s not a green smoothie without something green in it, but it’s best if you don’t start with kale because it’s a bitter green. This could potentially result in you adding too much sugar.
Experiment with Protein
DO use nut butters, tofu, or flaxseed to add some protein to your smoothie. A little bit of peanut butter or a tablespoon of flaxseed will do it- or, if you’re a fan of tofu, you can add some silken tofu, as it blends quite well with the other ingredients.
DON’T use protein powder, as they are typically filled with ingredients that have been highly processed, which work well when you want to bulk up. Instead, use some natural sources of protein for sustaining your energy through the day.
You Can Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
DO naturally sweeten your smoothie with frozen or fresh fruits. If you need a little extra sweetness, add some dates or beets.
DON’T use sugar to sweeten your smoothie because it does very little to satiate your hunger and you’ll be much more likely to crash later in the day. So, avoid adding things like flavored yogurt or canned fruit.
DO add some ingredients that are heartier, such as oats or avocado. These are great sources of fiber and will keep you feeling fuller longer.
DON’T have a second serving- even if you’re using it as a meal replacement. It’s easy to believe that you’ll need a bigger smoothie if you’re not eating food too- but having a larger portion is one of the ways that sugar and calories can add up.
Experiment with flavors
DO try something new in your smoothie. You can add extracts, herbs, and spices to create a new and different flavor. You can add Sriracha for a bit of heat or you can use fresh grated ginger for a warming flavor.
DON’T automatically turn to sweet when you want to add more flavor. Again, this can cause the sugar and calorie counts to go up, which is something you don’t want when you’re on a smoothie diet.