Grocery & Nutrition • NOV 8, 2019
The wide world of smoothies can feel overwhelming at times, but don’t worry, we’re here to break it down for you. Including smoothies as part of your overall balanced approach to your healthy eating habits can be as straightforward or complex as you choose. Have you been whizzing bananas, almond butter, coconut milk, maple syrup, and hemp seed all together in your blender?—that’s a smoothie! Or are you simply blending together pineapple, coconut water, and ice?—also a smoothie!
Given that there are so many different approaches to building a smoothie, we’ve broken down smoothies into their core components. Keep reading below to explore some of the elements we consider our Smoothie Building Blocks. You might discover a new and interesting ingredient that’s missing from your smoothie repertoire, or you might realize that there might be an entire category of food that you might consider adding in for balanced and sustained energy.
When choosing fresh fruit for your smoothies, always aim to plan ahead in order to minimize waste. Ask yourself if you can reasonably expect to use all the fruit you buy before it will begin to spoil. Fortunately, smoothies are one of the best ways to make a delicious use of fruit that looks like it’s on its last good day. In order to avoid repeating the same smoothie over and over, challenge yourself to source seasonal fruits.
Time Saving Strategy: Keep a few bags of go-to frozen fruits in your freezer. That way if you run out of fresh fruit earlier in the week than anticipated, you have a back up. A refreshing smoothie sourced from your frozen fruits bags is also a quick pick me up when you return home from travel, and there’s literally nothing else to eat.
Sure, smoothies are all fun and games in the spring and summer months when berries and tropical fruits abound. When the colder days of autumn roll around, do you abandon your smoothie habit completely? Absolutely not! Some of Innit’s most beloved recipes feature root veggies such as beets! As if the neon pink hue isn’t enough to convince you to add beets to your smoothies, you can find out the nutritional value of all our smoothie ingredients on ShopWell.
Having trouble deciding what other veggies to add to your smoothies? Let the color wheel guide you. A green smoothie calls for kale, spinach, or arugula, while an orange smoothie begs for carrots. Be wary though of mixing in purple carrots, which might loan a brownish hue to your orange smoothie.
Milk: The classic smoothie “liquid” has long been milk, but more and more people today report lactose intolerance. If you can tolerate cow’s milk, enjoy it in your smoothie for its natural sweetness and creamy texture.
Yogurt: Yogurt, especially the current drinkable variety, is often tolerated better than milk by lactose sensitive individuals. It adds the same creamy consistency and packs the additional benefit of its probiotic cultures.
Non Dairy “mylks”: Lactose intolerant individuals and vegans opt for almond milk, coconut milk, oat milk, soy milk, and other plant derived milky liquids. These will vary in terms of nutrition content but can serve as an additional source of protein and nutrients.
Water: Water is a great liquid for blending your smoothie! Note that water is the universal “thinner” when it comes to smoothies, so your smoothie will lose texture and thickness as you add in more water. It will, however, become even more hydrating.
People don’t always remember to add protein to their smoothie, but it’s an especially important element if you’re choosing a smoothie as a meal. Protein-packed smoothies will keep you feeling fuller longer, since proteins get digested in your stomach, versus a protein-poor smoothie that will pass quickly into your intestinal tract.
An easy way to include protein in your smoothie is to add a dollop of your favorite nut butter, yogurt, hemp seed, or even cottage cheese!
Keep reading for our list of the unusual suspects. Although you might not think of these foods right away when talking about smoothies, we include them in our smoothies all the time for their overall boost to nutritional value, flavor, and texture. Include oats and flaxseed for fiber, ginger for its flavorful zing and numerous benefits for the digestive tract, and even cacao powder, yes, we add chocolate to our smoothies, because, well, it’s delicious, provides a natural caffeine boost, and is a rich source of antioxidants.
Most smoothies are straightforward enough that you can make them fresh in the morning in under five minutes on your way out the door. However, if you’re OK with enjoying the same smoothie for multiple days in a row, consider making a larger batch. We’ll make a big batch of smoothie in the blender and then pour across multiple mason jars for on-the- go for the next 2-3 days. Sometimes you’ll need to give your smoothie a shake to reincorporate all of the elements, and that’s why we love mason jars— for their handy dandy lids, and their sustainability.
Pick something from each category to make a well-rounded smoothie, and start trying out what works best for you! Or take a look at some of our favorite smoothie recipes below: