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How to Build your own Signature Smoothie

 

Smoothies are one of the best ways to increase your nutritional intake. And everyone loves them, including the most finicky spouses and kids! But people generally tend to make the same recipe over and over again. It quickly looses it’s appeal. In this blog, I will share the basic smoothie building blocks with lots of room for variations, so that you can make your own customized smoothies without needing a recipe.

 

Once you learn what the basic components are to make a super healthy smoothie, you will never need to follow a recipe again!

 

Be warned: To get the most nutritional bang for the buck, I like to recommend ingredients you may be surprised to find in a smoothie. For example, vegetables! Check out my previous blog post, for other simple and tasty ways to get more greens in your diet (Click Here). Before you wrinkle your nose (too late?), read on to find out how easy it is to use smoothies to support your health … and as a way to get your peeps to eat nutritional foods they may otherwise not eat voluntarily!

 

There are so many reasons why smoothies are so great!

 

They tastes great! A well concocted smoothie can be as yummy as dessert. For example, one with tropical fruit, an orange vanilla combination or a chocolate rendition (maybe even add some coffee for a mocha?). Now I have your attention!

 

Yes, I’m stating the obvious here, but a smoothie tastes as great as what you put in it. If you are serious about getting hard-core nutrients, you may choose to favour healthier additives, some of which may compromise the taste a bit. Or not. When I want a treat, I will add more fruit and less veggies. When a nasty cold or flu is making it’s rounds, I may tip my ingredients the other way. And what you consider tasty may differ from someone else’s idea of smoothie bliss. That is why it’s great when you know how to build your own. Below, I go over all of the building blocks of a great healthy, revitalizing smoothie, so you will know exactly how to make your favorite on your own. Inevitably, this takes a little experimenting, but that is the fun part!

However, if experimenting is not your thing, here are a few examples of sure-fire combos:

  • Orange and vanilla
  • Berries and cinnamon
  • Celery and apple
  • Chocolate and coffee
  • Banana and nut butter

 

 

 

 

They are quick and easy. Once you understand what the components are of a great smoothie (again, I’ll show you how below), it is so quick and easy to make. Especially if you have a powerful blender. In that case, you barely need to chop your ingredients. No need to peel or finely chop things like ginger, apples or carrots. Just cut them into rough chunks, skin and all (pst, that’s where the good nutrients hide). For example, simply throw in a peeled lemon and get all of the fibre along with the vitamin C. There is no need to juice it. Easy peasy!

Smoothies are also easy to consume. It takes a long time to eat enough salad to feel full, right? A green smoothie is so much easier and faster to eat. For those who don’t like eating veggies (you know who you are), you don’t even taste the veggies in well blended smoothie. Nor do you have to spend a lot of time chewing them.

 

They are affordable.  Smoothies are the most affordable way to eat a balanced snack or meal. Just check out the simple ingredients (milk, juice or water, plus some veggies and fruit, a few more extras if you want) and boom, you’re done well within anyone’s budget. No expensive meat is required to get your quick protein fix. The only expensive aspect is your blender, but they are worth the investment. Those suckers last a lifetime and can be used to make many others things like soups, ice cream, spreads and dips, brownies … you name it.

 

They are very healthy. Smoothies are super good for you. Blending veggies and fruits dramatically increases the bioavailability of the nutrients they contain. The body can absorb them quicker and easier.  After all, your body needs the nutrients in veggies and fruits to repair itself, fight off bugs and even cancer cells. So this is a very persuasive aspect to smoothies. In addition, the nutrients help improve your mood!  Who can’t afford a little more of that?

 

They are energizing. Smoothies simply make you feel amazing. The vitamins and minerals contained in healthy smoothies, energize every part of your body.  And it’s also a great feeling when you do something good for yourself. We ask a lot of our bodies. This is an easy way of showing it some gratitude and love. After all, what are we without it?

 

They are super portable. Everyone who has ever made their own lunch or snack to go, can attest how tricky packaging and transport is, without compromising the quality or taste of the food. Not so with smoothies. Just pour into a travel bottle and you’re done. It’s spill-proof, so you can throw it into your bag or purse. And there is no cutlery required. It does not get easier than that.

 

 

“Okay, you persuaded me that smoothies are a good idea. But how do I make one?”

 

Once you understand the different parts that go into a smoothie, it is super easy to customize and mix one up. Check out the steps below. Also, I’ve included the proportions of the ingredients at the bottom of this blog.

 

Step 1: Pick your base liquid.

Any nut milk you like (for example, almond, coconut, cashew) will do. Most stores sell them in North America. If you can’t get nut milk where you live, you can easily make your own with a high-speed blender. Nut milks allow for a nice smooth result. I usually don’t recommend dairy, just because many people’s body don’t digest it well. But you certainly can use it instead of nut milk, if you prefer.  Alternatively, you could also use cold teas (black, rooibos, green, peppermint etc.).

 

Step 2: Choose your veggies (wisely).

When picking the veggies to include, think about what flavours you like. You can stick with one type of vegetable or combine several. You just need to pay attention to how the flavours combine with each other. I recommend choosing mild vegetables (for example, zucchini, lettuce, carrots, spinach) with can go “incognito” versus more pungent vegetables (such as celery, cabbage or collard greens). Unless you love the way those taste, of course! Also think of the quantity in proportion to the other ingredients you choose to put in your smoothie.

 

Step 3: Pick your flavour boosters.

I always add one or more item with the intention of boosting the flavour and ideally also the nutrient content. Great examples are fruits such as bananas, oranges, pineapple and mangos. If you are trying to keep your sugar consumption in check, stay away from the topical fruits and choose berries, apples and pears instead. If you like it tangy, add a lemon. It’s a great choice for the vitamin C.  For best results, drink your lemon smoothie soon after you make it. Tip: Vitamin C is not a stable molecule and will dissipate into the air if you wait too long.

 

 

Step 4: Add a healthy fat.

Contrary to the low-fat fad of earlier decades, we now know that the body needs healthy fats to support basic biological functions.  While it is still a good idea to minimize animal or saturated fats, healthy plant or fish-based fats are another story. In addition, fats increase our sensation of being satiated and slows down the digestion. This allows for a slower release of sugars into the bloodstream. As you can see, there are multiple bonuses to adding good fats to your shake.  You can add a tablespoon of nut butter to make the smoothie creamier and nuttier.  But one of the healthiest fats (which are also harder to get enough of in a regular North American diet) are the Omega fatty acids found in fish. I’m not suggesting you blend fish in your smoothie, LOL!  But one easy, tasty option is to use one of flavoured omega oils you can buy in most natural food stores. They come in yummy flavours like lemon, tropical mango or chocolate and you simply can not tell it’s a fish oil in your smoothie! Unless you prefer eating copious amounts of herring and mackerel, this is the easiest way to get these essential fats working for you.

 

Step 5: Pick your protein.

For a balanced smoothie, protein is a must. It will keep you satiated for a longer time. It is optimal for repairing tissue in the body. I avoid dairy, so I don’t use whey protein powder. But if you tolerate it well, it certainly is an option. Alternatively, there are both vegan and paleo protein powders available in many different flavors.  If you want to kick it old school, egg whites also do the trick. Again, one of the great things about smoothies is that you can combine foods your normally would not eat “straight up”.

 

Step 6: Extra mix’ins.

Ginger, Macca powder and turmeric are some examples. But careful of the flavour factor, as these little extras can change the overall taste very easily. If you are avoiding sugar, you can add Stevia for extra sweetness. Alternatively, maple syrup is a yummy addition too.

 

Step 7: Blend it baby!

All that’s left to do is turn the blender on. As I mentioned before, your smoothies will be infinitely better with a good high-powered blender. No, I don’t get any royalties for saying this. I used to be one of those people who did not believe it was worth the money. Until I decided to buy one (when it was on sale). Now I can’t imagine my life without it. I even took it with us in the RV this summer. My partner still thinks I was crazy, although he did appreciate how smooth our guacamole was!

If you don’t have a high-powered blender, use a regular one or try a blender stick. You will have to cut the ingredients up into smaller pieces. It will take a bit longer to make and get everything blended. And the smoothie won’t be as smooth. But some people actually prefer it that way.

 

Just starting out and need a general guideline around how much to use for each of the steps I outline above? Try this ratio below as a starting place (and just adapt to match your liking, as you get more experienced)

 

General smoothie formula starting place:

1.5 cups nut milk : 0.5 cup water :  1 cup fruit : 1/2 cup veggie : 1/4 to 1/2 banana : 1 lemon : 1 cm ginger slice : 1 tbsp healthy fat : 2-4 ice cubes

 

Okay, that’s it! Go forth and make your smoothies! Please share any great combinations you discover in the comments section of this blog, on my Facebook or my Instagram page.

 

Cheers,

Simone

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Simone Alberts is the founder of The Self Coach Approach. She empowers freedom seekers by teaching them how to coach themselves so that they can independently create the life they really want wherever and whenever they want to.

 

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