I love a good smoothie, especially first thing in the morning, because I don’t always have time for a sit-down meal and it's nice to be able to enjoy my brekkie on the run. The ideal smoothie (in my opinion) will tick three main boxes.
- It needs to taste good! I don’t really enjoy choking down unpleasant thick drinks.
- It needs to provide energy that will sustain me for the next couple of hours. If I am having a smoothing as my morning meal, or as a nutrient boost during the day, then I want to make sure it's going to give me the energy I need to keep going.
- It should have all three of the main macronutrients in it. This way I feel more confident that it is a substantial meal, rather than just a hydrating drink.
Following smoothie recipes is great if you want something tried and tested, or don’t really feel inspired to create your own, and there are so many out there to chose from. However, don’t be afraid to get a little creative in the kitchen, because making up your own recipe (whilst ensuring it still tastes good and is packed full of nutrients) is really very simple!
Firstly you want to pick your liquid base. This can be one or a combination of the following:
- Coconut water
- Juicy fruits (such as melon, orange, pineapple, mango etc) or fruit juice (ideally 100% juice with no added sugars or preservatives)
- Milk - dairy, soy, almond, coconut, rice etc.
- Yogurt - dairy, soy, coconut
Then it is about adding a good combination of foods that will ensure you get protein, carbs and good fats, as well as some vitamins in your smoothie, so that you know your smoothie is going to sustain you on all levels.
Here are some great combos that will provide you with a clean hit of complete protein as well as some complex carbs to keep you powering on:
- Quinoa + Spinach
- Kale + Hemp Seeds
- Oats + Spinach
- Almond butter + Wheatgrass
- Pumpkin seeds + Oats
- Almonds + Flaxseed
Then you want to add some flavour and some extra nutrients, so consider adding any of the following:
- Fresh/frozen fruits or berries
- Vegetables - Such as carrots, green leafy veggies, beetroot, celery, cucumber etc
- Nuts/ nut butter
- Avocado (yes this is a fruit, but it is so good in smoothies it deserves an extra mention!)
- Powdered spices - cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon etc.
- Sweetener - Honey, maple syrup, agave etc.
At the end of the day, there is no ‘right or wrong’ when it comes to creating your own smoothie, just as long as you are happy with the flavour and texture combination. However, here are a few tips to help you along the way:
- Using ice is a great way to add a little texture, cool down your smoothie for those warmer days and also add water to the drink so it is not too thick and helps keep you hydrated.
- Sometimes less is more. I like to work with one liquid base (e.g. coconut water), some protein and texture (such as nut butter and oats) and some fruit (e.g. Banana and blueberries). Then I taste it and add a pinch of cinnamon, or a small drizzle of honey for flavour. Remember, you can always add to your smoothie, but you cannot take away… So start off simple and work from there!
- Don't be afraid to use veggies! Spinach, kale, wheatgrass, avocado and cucumbers are all excellent ways to add nutrients and substance to your smoothie without interfering with the flavours too much.