Saturday, 16 January 2016

Top Tips on How to Make Your Own Healthy Smoothies

Smoothie drinks are typically thick liquids made from fresh fruits that are blended together with either fruit juice, milk or yogurt.  Creamier recipes typically contain yogurt but you can adapt any recipe to suit your own taste, replacing yogurt with milk or soy milk for a thinner consistency.

Smoothie drinks are a great way of getting your daily recommended allowance of essential nutrients.

What is the difference between a juice drink and a smoothie drink?

A juice drink is typically made by extracting the juice from the fruit using a juice extractor or citrus press, thus separating out the pulp/fibre for a juice only drink.
A smoothie drink is typically made using the whole fruit and blending it with other ingredients like milk or yogurt.  Because the whole of the fruit is used, you get the benefit of the fibre included.

A juice only drink can be digested by the body quite quickly, thus it is a quick way of absorbing nutrients.  A smoothie drink will take longer to digest and can leave you feeling fuller for longer.  A smoothie drink could even be considered as a breakfast replacement for example.

Because smoothie drinks include the fibre of the fruits used, they are a good way to help keep food moving through the gut, helping to avoid constipation and aiding healthy gut bacteria.  Besides the nutrients from the fruit, you also get the added benefit of protein if you use milk or yogurt in your smoothie drink.

What equipment do I need to make a smoothie?

Making your own fresh healthy smoothies has never been easier – just a little preparation with your ingredients is required before throwing it all together into a blender and let the blender do the work for you!

There are many different types of blenders to choose from, with more being manufactured nowadays specifically for the purpose of producing juice or smoothie drinks.

What you really need to look at when purchasing a blender is how powerful the blender is, particularly if you’re looking to use hard fruits in your smoothies.  The more powerful the blender is, the better it will deal with harder fruits to produce a smoother consistency.

Tips on how to get the best out of making your own smoothie drinks

·         Use fruit at its peak of ripeness to get the most nutrients and the best taste.
·         When combining fruit with juice instead of milk/yogurt, where possible try using juices without any artificial sweeteners or additives.
·         Swap milk in a recipe for yogurt for a thicker consistency.
·         Swap yogurt in a recipe for milk for a runnier consistency.
·         If you’re dairy intolerant, try using soy or nut milk/yogurt alternatives in your smoothies.
·         On hot summer days, try blending some crushed ice cubes in with your smoothie for a more refreshing drink.
·         For hot summer days, try freezing your smoothie in ice-cube trays or as a popsicle.
·         Don’t be afraid to experiment with recipes, adding more or less of your favorite ingredients, swapping specific fruits out for different ones of your own choice etc.
·         Think about the different nutrients available in different fruits and make smoothies with the fruits that have the type of nutrients you feel you need on any specific day, e.g. fruits/nutrients biased towards helping with boosting energy or for detoxifying or for strengthen the immune system etc.
·         For an additional vitamin boost, try adding vitamin/mineral drops/liquids/powders to your smoothies.
·         For a crunchier texture, try blending nuts or seeds with your smoothie.  You’ll get the added benefit of the nuts/seeds’ vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids.
·         Other ingredients you could add to your smoothie for additional health benefits include: wheatgerm, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, or green powders like spirulina, barleygrass, wheatgrass.
·         Try adding natural flavors for an added twist such as lemon, lime, mint etc.

N.B.  It’s always advisable to consult your doctor or health care professional if you have any concerns regarding your health and/or nutrition intake.

Prices/discounts indicated are correct at time of writing/publishing.  E&OE.

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