For some, life carries on at such a pace that it can be a challenge to fit in everything you want to do. So from time to time it can be excused when people look to cut corners in order to save a little bit of time. Nowhere is this more common than with our nutrition. In fact I would go as far as to say a lot of us know exactly what we should be eating but we just can’t find the time to prepare it.
Well maybe if I was writing this 10 or 15 years ago I might have been convinced by that argument. In 2015 that stance lacks a certain amount of credibility though. Why? Well because now it can be just as easy to prepare healthy foods as it is to grab an unhealthy alternative. And the perfect example of this is the smoothie!
Consider the blender as the mother of the smoothie – it gave birth to it! And blenders aren’t a 2015 invention. In fact blenders have been around for decades and so have smoothies. It is only recently that we have seen this appreciation of the health qualities of a smoothie though. Chocolate smoothies might taste great but they are not necessarily the ones you want to be eating.
Most smoothies get most of their flavour and nutrients from fruit. As we already know, fruit is essential and we need to be regularly consuming it throughout the day. Not only are fruits packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, they are also a great source of antioxidants which help inhibit the production of free radicals (molecules that have been linked to causing cancer). Always getting the right amount of fruit (and vegetables) in a day can be difficult but a well designed smoothie can solve this problem.
You know exactly what goes into a smoothie because you are the chef. So pick the fruits you know you need, and more importantly, the fruits you enjoy. If you are concerned you don’t get enough potassium, opt for bananas. If it is your immune system you worry about then how about trying a mango and passion fruit one? High in nutrients and low in fat. You pick the base too. Water (or ice) is what I would recommend, but if you prefer a creamy texture then you can always try a non-fat milk or yoghurt.
Low fat is great, but what about the sugar? Well yes, if you eat a lot of fruit you will be consuming a lot of sugar too. And that is in part why we have seen the birth of the green smoothie. With a green smoothie you can replace some of the fruits with leafy green vegetables, allowing you to still access the same amount of quality nutrients, but with less sugar.
Leafy green vegetables should send two words straight to the front of your brain: SPINACH & KALE! Nutritionists cannot get enough of these two at the moment. Luckily, too good to be true, doesn’t apply here. We know that these vegetables are great for us and we should be eating them as much as possible. So when you make your smoothie tray and aim for a 60/40 split between fruit and leafy green vegetables respectively. This way you will get all the nutrients you need and can still retain that great flavour.
Some companies have tried to make it even easier by bottling these smoothies for us. Innocent and Naked Juice are Coca-Cola and Pepsi’s weapons in this war. So it really couldn’t be much easier. Where possible though, I would always encourage you to make your own smoothies – if you don’t read the labels then some pre-packed ones can have a nasty surprise.
The detox month of January is almost over and some of us might be considering slipping back into those bad habits we had left behind. If this is you then maybe you need to consider getting yourself a blender. You might just thank yourself for it come summer.