Whether you have your smoothie recipe down to a science, or can't quite get the right proportions to make it more superfood and less sludge, there's always something you can learn about making a killer blended beverage.
That's how Angela Onsgard, RD, and nutritionist for Miraval Resort & Spa in Arizona caught our attention—with her tips for getting it right every. single. time. "Smoothies can be a nutrient-dense way to start your day or a healthy snack, but choosing the wrong ingredients can result in a less than ideal meal replacement," she says. And really should be called dessert.
Read on for her foolproof tips for making a perfect smoothie, and you'll be well on your way to your smoothie PhD.
1. Limit the sugar. Adding tons of fruit and veggies to your morning smoothie? Yes, please. But it's also an easy way to OD on sugar, without even realizing it. "If you include whole fresh or frozen fruit, avoid any extra sweeteners like agave syrup," says Onsgard. "If you have to sweeten your recipe a little bit, try a light drizzle of raw local honey or pure maple syrup.
2. Add protein every time. Onsgard likes organic yogurt, organic soy milk, or a chunk of soft organic tofu in a smoothie. This is what creates a well-balanced meal replacement, and protein will also prevent spikes and dips in blood sugar levels, she says.
More reading: The Protein Power Primer
3. But steer clear of soy protein isolate powder. Supplements and powders can seem like an easy way to get a mega-dose of protein, but powders are often "highly processed in a way that denatures the proteins," says Onsgard. Not to mention that you're missing out on all of the other synergistic components of the whole food when you choose a powder for your protein source. "A better choice would be organic soy milk, which also contains calcium, vitamin D, and a healthy dose of cancer protective isoflavones," she says.
More reading: Should you avoid soy protein isolate?
4. Don't forget the healthy fats. "Vitamins A, K, E and D are fat-soluble vitamins, meaning they need some form of fat to be fully absorbed by the body," says Onsgard. Ditto the major inflammation-fighting superfood, tumeric, which needs a fat boost to be most effective. Adding nut butter, avocado, or seeds to your smoothie will provide a good dose of healthy fats.
More reading: Let go of the myth that fat makes you fat
5. And pay attention to portions. It can be easy to just toss things into your blender without paying much attention to measurements. Onsgard recommends watching portion sizes on nuts, seeds, nut butters, oils, dairy, and soy products, and keeping your recipe to one cup of fruit. If you want more fiber, she says, blend in some kale or organic steel cut oats. (Smart!)
For more information, visit miravalresorts.com
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