I’ve been there. You whip up a smoothie at home or pick one up at your favorite juice shop. It tastes delicious as you devour it, but you’re left with a growling stomach in no time. For years, I never really gave smoothies much attention for that very reason – I love the way they taste but never felt satiated enough to call it a meal.
When I moved to Austin, though, the insanely hot summer temps had me craving cool, refreshing meals more than ever. So I’ve made it my mission to discover how to make a smoothie that’s not only delicious but also provides the fuel needed to keep me going for hours on end.
Check out my tips below for getting the most out of your next smoothie creation.
Don’t Fear Fat
Fat is our friend, people! Dietary fat is essential for brain function, cell growth and hormone production, plus studies show that it helps regulate appetite by controlling the release of hunger hormones, keeping you fuller for longer. And fats just make everything taste better.
In your next smoothie, focus on including omega-3 fatty acids, a form of polyunsaturated fatty acid, that can best be found in walnuts (or walnut butter), flaxseeds (or flaxseed oil), chia seeds and hemp seeds. Omega-3s are seen to:
- Promote brain and nervous system function
- Reduce inflammation in the body
- Lower cholesterol levels
- Support heart health
Likewise, monounsaturated fats are seen to increase HDL, the “good” cholesterol, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation and perhaps even reduce cancer risk and promote weight loss. The best smoothie-appropriate sources of these healthy fats include:
- Olive Oil (I promise, this actually adds great flavor)
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Sunflower Seeds
- The nut or seed butter form of any of the above
And don’t forget the coconut oil! It’s a source of good saturated fat, a known appetite suppressant, energy booster and natural antibacterial. A couple of tablespoons drizzled into your smoothie creates texture and provides a boost of healthy fat.
Pack in the Veggies
While fruit is traditionally the star of the show when it comes to smoothies, take this opportunity to sneak in as many veggies as possible. I promise you the fruit flavor is still what comes through at the end of the day.
While incorporating more vegetables provides a wider variety of vitamins, minerals and cancer-fighting phytochemicals, it also brings fiber and bulk to your smoothie to fill you up and boost digestion. Plus, it’s an easy way to reduce sugar intake (even the natural sugars in fruit can spike blood sugar) with extra volume that doesn’t add to the glycemic load.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, all veggies help support a healthy weight, keep bowel movements regular, fight inflammation and decrease the risk of chronic disease. Yet some of the best veggies to throw into your next smoothie include:
- Dark, leafy greens
- Pumpkin & squash (butternut, acorn or kabocha)
- Sweet potato
Some of the above can be added fresh or frozen, while others will need to be cooked (steaming is best) prior to use, such as squash and sweet potatoes.
Last pro tip – go ahead and freeze any veggies that are about to go bad so you have smoothie ingredients on hand at all times!
Opt for Protein Powder (But Be Specific)
I’m the first to warn you against the insane amount of gross products out there, including protein powders. Most brands include a whole ingredient list worth of additives, preservatives, sweeteners, dyes and so on to make their product taste good and maintain a long shelf life.
Yet there are powders out there that bring that wanted protein boost to your smoothie while also doing good for your body. Take a look at Dr. Mark Hyman’s suggestions as well as my Discount Codes page to save on Ancient Nutrition, Nuzest and Organifi protein powders.
Overall, I highly recommend sticking to a plant-based protein powder such as hemp, pea or rice. If you’re able to tolerate dairy, you can opt for a whey-based protein powder, but this ingredient tends to cause inflammation and digestive upset for many.
Try Some Yogurt
For a protein-packed alternative, yogurt might just be your new favorite addition. Check out Dr. Mark Hyman’s thoughts on dairy and try swapping out your typical yogurt with a dairy-free alternative. If you do continue to consume dairy, make sure the brand you purchase comes from grass cows never treated with growth hormones.
Yet there are so many great dairy-free alternatives these days that you might just fall in love with if you give them a chance. My personal favorites are The Forager Project Cashewgurt, The Coconut Cult Probiotic Coconut Yogurt, Culina Coconut Yogurt and GT’s Cocoyo.
Not only do these options provide tons of probiotics to maintain a healthy, happy gut, but they also create the creaminess we all love in a smoothie.
Toss on the Toppings
Now for the best part – toppings, of course! I’m a big proponent of pouring your smoothie into a bowl, both because it allows for more toppings (duh) and forces you to slow down. Eating your smoothie with a spoon rather than slurping it down on-the-go makes you more mindful and allows your body to digest more efficiently and feel fuller.
Personally, I struggle to feel satiated by a smoothie that lacks texture, so finishing it off with something to chew on is key! Some of my personal favorite toppings (for crunch and protein) include:
- Cacao nibs
- Goji berries or mulberries
- Granola (avoid those with refined sugar)
- Nut butter
- Shredded coconut (no sugar added)
Next time you whip up a smoothie at home, be sure to come back to these tips in order to fill you up and fuel your body the right way! Also keep these guidelines in mind when checking out the menu at your favorite smoothie bar, and don’t be afraid to customize your order accordingly.
Be sure to share your own smoothie creations with me on social media using the hashtag #goodnesswithg and tagging @goodness_with_g. Happy blending, y’all 🙂 .