Smoothies are an easily portable way to get your daily boost of nutrients and vitamins. Not all smoothies are created equal, however. Many smoothies are made using added sugar like syrups and fruit juices, which can lead to a very high carbohydrate and sugar drink.
Make a more balanced smoothie that is lower in carbs and contains fiber and protein by adding the following ingredients:
Adding two tablespoons of chia seeds to your smoothie will provide 5 grams of fiber, 3 grams of protein and over 3,000 mg of anti-inflammatory Omega-3s. The fiber in the chia seeds can help with digestion and promote regularity in addition to with aiding in weight loss efforts by making you feel fuller for longer period of time. Chia seeds have very little flavor, so they can provide wonderful nutrients without affecting the taste of the smoothies as well.
From whey to soy to pea, protein powder has cemented its place in our diets and our workout routines. When choosing a powder supplement, it is important to find one that is relatively low in carbohydrates and refined sugars. Adding protein powder to your shake can serve as an excellent meal replacement. Just 25g of protein powder is equivalent to the protein found in 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 cup of cottage cheese, 4 hard boiled eggs or 3 ounces of a lean protein. This addition to your smoothie will help you stay full and provide you with high-quality energy for your day.
Powdered peanut butter
Love peanut butter but don’t love the calories and fat? Try powdered peanut butter – the perfect alternative to regular peanut butter. Powdered peanut butter is made by removing the oil and fat from the peanut and dehydrating what’s left. On average, two tablespoons of regular peanut butter are about 190 calories, while powdered peanut butter has 45 calories. Adding powdered peanut butter instead of peanut butter or almond butter in your smoothies will provide you with amazing flavor, fiber and 5 grams of protein to go with the strawberries, bananas or blueberries, while saving you the extra fat and calories. Be sure to try the chocolate flavored powdered peanut butter as well in place of Nutella or chocolate sauce.
Kale is an easy choice for a smoothie additive. The high levels of Vitamin C in kale hydrate the body and increase metabolism, which can lead to weight loss. The fiber in kale can also help to lower cholesterol. For people who find it hard to eat their vegetables (because they don’t like the taste or look of them) but still want the health benefits, kale can be sneaked into a smoothie. While kale does have a bitter taste, it can easily be masked in your smoothie by adding sweet fruits such as pineapple, apple and banana.
Blueberries are known for their impressive nutritional profile and even more impressive taste. Blueberries are a low glycemic fruit, which means they are less likely to spike blood sugar. Eating low glycemic fruits can help provide more sustained energy. Blueberries, in 3/4 of a cup serving, provide a notable 5 g fiber per 15 g carbohydrate serving. They also add a delicious flavor and beautiful color to any smoothie. Try using blueberries instead of bananas in your next smoothie for more sustained energy.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.