As a Naturopathic Doctor, I believe BALANCE is a key guiding principle to live by. Smoothies can be a delightfully sweet treat and a great way to build key nutrients into your diet. Smoothies retain all of the natural fibre and pulp vs. juicing. I am a big proponent of them as a breakfast option and as a means to satiate your hunger, so long as they have the right ingredients – blending fruits together just does not cut it. High fructose drinks will just make you hungrier sooner and you will have more food cravings throughout the day. Ideally, your smoothie should be 50% fruits and 50% vegetables with some seeds and healthy fats – tipping this ratio in favour of more veggies is preferable!
Starting the day off right can improve metabolism and energy levels. People often make the mistake of adding too many high glycemic fruits like bananas and mangos into their smoothies. The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly a carbohydrate causes a rise in blood sugar levels. The higher the GI number, the greater the rise in blood sugar. This causes increased amounts of insulin to be released, which prevents fat burning.
Here are the ingredients that make your smoothie supercharged:
1. Dark Leafy Greens
- 3 handfuls of spinach or kale or BOTH!
- Kale is a superfood that is full of phytochemicals, tons of fibre, Omega-3’s, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals
- Spinach is high in iron, dietary fibre and an excellent source of other vitamins and mineral
- Frozen spinach is quick and easy to use. You can barely taste it in smoothies! (The more the merrier!)
2. Fresh or frozen fruit
- 1 cup organic frozen mixed berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries)
- Berries are high in antioxidants which help to fight oxidative stress in your body
- Watch out for the fruits on the dirty dozen list. When possible use organic for these fruits
- Add ½ a ripe banana to add sweetness and a thickness
3. Chia Seeds
- Add 1 tbsp of chia seeds
- Packed with fibre, Omega-3’s, protein and minerals like calcium and magnesium
- Fibre helps to keep your blood sugar levels under control, reduces cholesterol, diminishes sugar cravings
4. Well-sourced protein powder
6. Unsweetened Almond milk
- ¾ of a cup to 1 cup depending on the consistency you desire
- Almond milk is low calorie, high in protein, fibre and minerals. It is also anti-allergenic and free of hormones.
To make your life easier cut up your fruits and veggies the night before so in the morning they are ready to blend! This smoothie is full of fibre, protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants! Savour it slowly for optimal absorption!
Written by: Dr. Saira Kassam | 2016