If you asked me the one thing I swear by to reset after an indulgent weekend or what I do to stay on track each day, I'd definitely say it's my morning smoothies. I start almost every day with a smoothie - it's a great way to get a big dose of protein, fiber, healthy fats, and antioxidants in first thing in the morning, and I love that it keeps me full for hours (seriously!). There's also tons of different flavor combinations you can try out that will keep things interesting, delicious, and satisfying. So many that it inspired me to create my eBook, Start with a Smoothie, with all of my favorites to keep your smoothie game on point!
If you're just jumping on the smoothie bandwagon, it can be a little overwhelming figuring out where to start. So here's what you need to build a perfect smoothie and all of the essentials to keep stocked in your kitchen so you're ready to make a delicious, nutrient-rich smoothie at any time!
A liquid base
I always start with a base of unsweetened nut milk in my smoothies, but you could use anything from almond milk to cashew milk to hemp milk, coconut milk, or just use water! My favorite brands are Malk or Elmhurst because they keep the ingredients very simple and don't add any unnecessary fillers. Check your nut milk ingredients for added sugars and confirm they are carrageenan-free. If you want to go homemade, check out this recipe for Macadamia Nut Milk (I do the exact same method with cashews, which is my current fave!).
I also always add ice because I like my smoothies super cold. If you're adding frozen fruit, you may not need ice, but I always add it anyway!
Protein powder can make or break a smoothie. Some powders make it too chalky and leave an icky aftertaste, and others add just a subtle flavor and sweetness that pairs perfectly with the other ingredients. When picking a protein powder, always look for one that has clean, simple ingredients, and as little sugar as possible. After trying almost every healthy protein out there, I'd have to say my favorite protein powder is Primal Kitchen Collagen Fuel. You can go with a flavored collagen like Primal Kitchen or unflavored collagen peptides - I prefer the flavor to add some oomph and sweetness to my smoothies. I get a lot of questions about collagen vs. protein - if you add collagen to your smoothie, that is your protein! If you're looking for a plant-based protein, Tone it Up makes a good one, however, if you're pregnant or nursing, I'd definitely recommend sticking with a collagen protein vs. plant-based. If whey protein is your thing, I'd suggest Primal Fuel. Just check the nutrition label and make sure you're getting 20 grams of protein per smoothie (that's two scoops of Primal Kitchen collagen!). Btw, you can use code WEEKNIGHTBITE to save 10% on all Primal Kitchen products!
Why add protein? Having enough protein in your diet will boost your metabolism, stabilize blood sugar, keep you fuller longer, and support your muscles. A must in any smoothie!
Stock your fridge with chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. I like to keep these in the fridge vs. the pantry to extend their shelf life. Every time I make a smoothie, I always add 1-2 tbsp of chia seeds, no matter what flavors I'm combining!
Why? Theses seeds are great sources of fiber, protein, vitamins / minerals, essential fatty acids, omega-3s.
Sources of Healthy Fat
I always keep tons of nut butters on hand for a quick way to add healthy fats to my smoothies. Almond butter, cashew butter, walnut butter, you name it! Other great sources are avocado (it adds tons of creaminess to your smoothie!), coconut butter, coconut oil, and sunflower butter. As always, check your nutrition labels and make sure there's no sneaky sugars hiding in your products!
Why? You have to eat fat to lose fat my friends! Healthy fats keep you satiated, provide an energy source for the body, balance blood sugar, and help with absorption of vitamins and antioxidants.
Fresh or Frozen Veggies & Fruit
I rarely make a smoothie without a handful of greens. I always buy fresh, organic spinach and use some for salads throughout the week and the rest goes straight into the freezer for my smoothies. Another favorite is baby bok choy - it's super mild and you won't even notice it's in the smoothie. Other veggies to try blending in: a pinch microgreens (small but mighty, these little sprouts contain even more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than the mature version of these veggies), any other greens, frozen riced cauliflower (makes smoothie extra thick and you can't even taste it!), cucumbers, mint, basil, etc.
I love adding frozen fruit to a smoothie for extra sweetness and flavor. Most smoothie bars really overdo it on the amount of fruit they're adding in their smoothies which makes them pretty loaded with sugar. About a handful or 1/3 cup of fruit is great for smoothies. I like to slice up bananas into 1/2 inch pieces and freeze them, and then add a few slices in each smoothie. Stock your freezer with your faves - I always have frozen organic berries and bananas on hand!
Why? Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients... all the goods!
Other Smoothie Superstars
A few other things to keep stocked in your pantry to add some extra flavor or a boost of health to your smoothies:
There you have it! This may seem like a long list at first, but it will be so worth it once you're all stocked up, and I promise these essentials will last you a long time. You'll also be ready to go for tons of different types of smoothies to satisfy whatever you're craving. Don't forget your smoothie eBook so you're armed with plenty of recipes to keep things exciting!
Back to Basics Green Smoothie
Here's my Back to Basics Green Smoothie recipe. It's nothing fancy, just the basics, but it's delicious every time and always helps me get back on track!
Back to Basics Green Smoothie
1-2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 scoops Primal Kitchen Vanilla Collagen protein
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 1/2 tbsp almond butter
1 handful spinach
1/2 frozen banana
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Recipe serves 1.
July 28th, 2016
June 23, 2017
Lindsay is a Holistic Nutritionist who lives for a great meal, a beautiful farmers market, daily matcha lattes, and homemade chocolate chip cookies. Weeknight Bite is Lindsay's happy place where her nutrition practice, simple recipes, and wellness tips come together to inspire you to live a healthy, balanced life.