A Guide to Healthy Smoothie Creation
Let’s be honest, we all love delicious food. But prepping the delicious food? Not so much. Which is why smoothies are GREAT (even when its cold outside), because smoothies require zero prep and like 2 minutes of work.
The problem is a lot of smoothies can be a total nightmare loaded with sugar. Those suckers will spike your blood sugar real quick leading your energy to crash and burn. Let’s skip the dramatics and just make a smoothie that will keep you fuller longer, k?
During Eat like an Athlete Bootcamp, I teach you guys the importance of using different foods to stay fuller longer, build muscle, and stabilize blood sugar/energy.
Using the Eat like an Athlete principles as a guide, we can create the perfect healthy smoothie.
Protein - This is a huge factor in making a filling smoothie. You really want to have around 20 grams of protein in your smoothie to help it balance your blood sugar and keep you full.
My fave protein powders are Gauge Life Whey Protein or Nu Zest for my plant based people. Studies show whey protein is actually the MOST filling protein you can eat, so I highly recommend if staying full is an issue for you.
Other ideas to boost the protein content of your smoothie include hemp seeds (3 Tbs has 10 grams of protein and helps you meet your healthy fat requirement [see below]), powdered PB, or Greek yogurt.
Fiber- Fiber intake is linked to maintaining a lower body weight and reducing incident of chronic disease as well as staying fuller longer. Easy ways to add fiber to your smoothie include hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds or a scoop of acacia fiber.
Remember that adding low sugar fruits like berries or non-starchy veggies like spinach or zucchini is another great way to add fiber. Also, avocado is loaded with fiber and helps you meet your healthy fat requirement (see below).
Is this a post-workout smoothie? Okay, okay, okay. Carbs. There’s so much fear around carbs, but my runners gotta eat enough carbs to 1) recover better 2) reduce bingeing and 3) build muscle. So instead of acting like carbs got cooties, it's time to understand how carbs work and why they’re delicious, wait, I mean, important for runners.
After a workout, our muscles are asking for sugar. This sugar helps our muscles build, grow and repair. The more muscle we build and grow, the more calories we burn at rest, meaning we increase our metabolism. Post-workout, eating enough sugar (not too little, not too much) from carbohydrates actually helps us improve performance and stop energy crashes.
Adding a large banana, 3/4 cup oats, honey, a cup of fruit like mango or pineapple or cherries, or juice to a smoothie can actually help repair muscles. If you’re not drinking this smoothie post-workout, then skip the extra carb or just add a little bit (like a small banana for thickness).
Healthy Fat- The right portion size of healthy fat keeps us fuller longer and helps reduce inflammation in the body. A less inflamed body has better blood sugar control and less blood sugar crashes.
Add healthy fat to your smoothie by adding 1/2 an avocado, a tablespoon of nut butter, or a 2 tablespoons of canned coconut cream or milk. Whole fat, grass fed Greek yogurt or a tablespoon of grass fed heavy cream can also provide healthy fat.
Here's some of my fave smoothie recipes from the blog: