Keep it lean and green!
Shakes and smoothies are great go-to’s for a nutritionally packed meal. I find them to be so convenient with a hectic working mom life. So many try shakes and either never feel satisfied or find themselves gaining weight. So here are some things to consider.
- Step 1: Choose your base. The healthiest options for a base are homemade almond milk or coconut milk. I know the sound of homemade sounds really time consuming so don’t be afraid. Almond milk is a little more complicated but homemade coconut milk can be as simple as 1 cup of coconut flakes (like these), combined with 2-3 cups of hot water (depending on desired thickness). The hot water doesn’t need to be very hot, the temperature of hot tap water is sufficient. Blend in your blender and viola! you now have coconut milk. Since I don’t usually use an entire batch at a time I refrigerate the leftovers for use later. For a single serving, I use about one and a half cups of my base and either 1 cup of water or ice cubes if you want it very cold. Tip: blend very well for smoothness or strain through some type of nut milk bag.
- Step 2: Choose your nutritional powder. When choosing a nutritional powder, be sure to read the ingredients and nutrition facts. many of these powders are made with synthetic nutrients and contain carcinogens and lots of sugar. Look for one that is made from whole foods, little to no synthetic ingredients and as little sugar as possible. Check out Garden of Life, Amazing Grass, or you can purchase Standard Process SP Complete from the office as it can only be sold through health professionals. Garden of Life and Amazing Grass can both be found in Whole Foods or online. An added bonus is they both have digestive enzymes and probiotics that almost everyone is lacking in their diet.
- Step 3: Pick your greens. There is rarely a diet today that contains too many greens (especially raw uncooked) so I always like to add a handful of either fresh spinach, kale, chard, etc. I try to rotate the greens I use simply for the varied nutritional benefits.
- Step 4: Collagen Protein. Collagen protein makes up the majority of protein in our bodies. It contains amino acids that are a essential for life and our body can’t make on its own – they must be consumed. Health benefits range from healthy joints, hair/skin/nails, gut health, strong teeth, metabolism, cellulite and detoxing. The best way to consume this is with a bone broth made from grass-fed cows. This is harder to come by for some so I would recommend adding this powder form to your shake daily. The powder has no taste and completely dissolves in warm liquid. My husband adds it to his coffee everyday and I add it to my tea on days I don’t have it in my shake or as a broth.
- Step 5: Extras. I also like to add chia seeds, a whole avocado (with the seed), turmeric and black pepper.
- The chia seeds really help you feel fuller longer. They are also high in fiber, omega 3-fatty acids, and loaded with antioxidants and other nutrients. I tend to just pour these in but if I had to measure, it is probably about an eighth of a cup.
- Next, is the avocado with the seed. Avocado’s is a great “healthy fat” and is very filling. I include the seed because about 70% of the nutrients are actually in the seed. If you are struggling with the avocado, add some coconut oil instead as your good healthy fat. Tip: If including the seed be sure to have a strong blender such as a Blendtec or Vitamix and add extra water because it is thickening.
- The health benefits of turmeric have been flooding your social media for some time so I don’t think I need much explanation there. I personally add black pepper to enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits. Without the black pepper, the benefit is mostly in the gut (which is important as well so decide based on your health needs).
- Step 6: Fruit or no fruit? Many people load their shakes with fruit and are consuming way to much sugar. The recommended amount of carbohydrates in a day is 74g. Many have that in fruit alone in their shake. If you need fruit to help make the shake taste better while you are getting used to it, then I would recommend berries or a green apple. Over time, you can gradually reduce the amount of fruit you need.
Have Fun! Be creative with your ingredients and fun and focus on the veggies whenever possible. If this all seems to overwhelming, start small and work your way up. A good start is your base and nutritional powder then work it up from there.