Smoothies can be a great way to start your day in the morning or a satisfying afternoon snack. For those who aren’t morning people and have a hard time digesting meat first thing in the morning, smoothies can be a great way to get some solid nutrition in that is easy on the tummy. When that 3 pm slump hits and hunger sets in, smoothies can be a great alternative to reaching for junk food.
The problem can become what to include in the smoothie? A lot of people are used to mixing protein powder with water for a protein shake, which is fine for traveling or when you are in a pinch, but adding in additional nutrients will make it into more of a complete meal with a satisfying smoothie.
1.) Start With A Solid Base – While you can use water, a good goat milk, coconut milk, or a nut milk will be a more satisfying base. Canned coconut milk will make a thicker smoothie. In general, I don’t recommend using fruit juice, as there are a lot of sugars in fruit juice and the nutrients, like vitamin C, have usually long been gone by the time the juice is bottled and shipped across the country.
2.) Pack It With Protein – Protein and fats are going to be the key to keeping you full and satisfied. Protein is slower digesting than carbohydrates and so better helps with managing blood sugar. It provides the raw materials to build muscle and the body in general. We have some excellent goat milk protein powders that can be found here.
3.) Add In Healthy Fats – Fats are like slow burning logs on the fire. They burn steadily for longer, helping to support better blood sugar balance. Fats have many benefits, like carrying fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K) and allowing you to digest and utilize those vitamins. Vitamin A is important for skin health and immune health. Vitamin D is integral for a healthy immune system and bone health. Vitamin K is good for bone health as well, and Dr. Weston Price, a note-worthy dentist who studied nutrition, called vitamin K2 the X-factor in butter, as his research found that it helps to contribute to solid teeth.
Healthy fats can come in many different forms in your smoothies. You can add coconut oil (rich in MCTs), flax oil (omegas 3, 6, and 9), ghee (also rich in MCTs and buttery goodness), chia seeds or flax seeds (omega-3 and fiber) and even peanut butter. I love peanut butter with chocolate smoothies. I will use our Double Bonded Chocolate with peanut butter, cacao powder, Capra Mineral Whey, chia seeds and flax seeds. The chia and flax seeds sometimes detract from the peanut and chocolate goodness, but I like the benefits they add. One of my favorite fats to add is our dried Goat Milk Cream flakes! 1-2 Tbs in a smoothie makes it rich and creamy.
Don’t neglect the fat thinking you don’t need it. Fat is a macronutrient for a reason. The body uses it in many different ways. Did you know each one of your cells in your body has a cell membrane made up of fat? It is called the phospholipid bi-layer. Did you know your hormones, like cortisol, estrogen and testosterone are made up of cholesterol? One of the problems with going low fat, no fat, is that the bile in the gallbladder that digests fat doesn’t get used and starts to get thick and viscous and can lead to issues.
4.) Get Your Fiber In – Fiber is another ingredient that can help to slow the absorption of sugars, keep us full longer, and help support healthy blood sugar, as well as bowel health. In smoothies you can use various fruits (strawberries, blueberries, bananas, mangos, pineapples, etc.) or ingredients like flax seed or chia seeds.
Don’t forget those veggies too! Greens are a popular veggie addition to smoothies: kale, chard, spinach. Cucumbers and celery could be added too. Note on the greens: raw greens, like those mentioned above, are high in oxalic acid. Cooking reduces the oxalic acid, but eating a bunch of raw greens long term is not a good idea. High amounts of oxalic acid can be irritating to the kidneys over time. Mix up your greens and don’t eat raw greens every day.
5.) Nutritional Extras – I am sure there are many things that can go in this category that I don’t regularly use, but can be used in a smoothie. Some people use wheatgrass shots (detoxifying and nutrient-rich), spirulina (rich in minerals and protein, a rich green with lots of chlorophyll), bee pollen (b-vitamins), chlorella, and more. Capra Mineral Whey is a great addition for extra minerals and our Goat Milk Colostrum is great for an immune system boost. We also have a delicious Blueberries & Cream powder that makes for a rich burst of antioxidants and berry goodness. For those with kids, the Head Start multivitamin we sell is a popular addition to smoothies and a great way to get in extra nutrition.
Even cacao powder can add nutritional benefit beyond just the chocolate flavor. Cacao is rich in magnesium. I used to make milk kefir smoothies with vanilla extract, frozen strawberries, and cacao nibs. It was delicious!
Amla powder, acerola cherry, camu camu and goji berries are all high in vitamin C and can make a great smoothie boost as well.
The list could really go on for a while, but these are the main ones used.
I hope that helps give you some ideas to boost your smoothies with nutrition and helps you think of possible flavor combinations. Smoothies are great because they can be made quickly, easily adapted, and can be done with a recipe or without. They also can be adapted to personal taste.
Nutrition is about balance, and balancing your macronutrients is key to thriving. Cheers to good health!