What EXACTLY is so Super About Shakes & Smoothies?
Struggling to get ALL the fruits, veggies, and overall awesome nutrition you need into each meal? Enter the super shake: Quite possibly the easiest, most convenient way to pack a ton of nutritional goodness in one completely customizable, portable, and delicious cup!
Let’s be real...I, along with many of my Crossfit Bear fitfam, are deep in the throws of the #800gchallenge right now...and while I love my fruits and veggies, some days I’m just not feeling that extra serving of broccoli...or I simply don’t have the extra few minutes to sit down and actually eat a whole meal in between running little people to all the different places they need to be. Sometimes life just calls for convenience, but I refuse to let said convenience be at the expense of my waistline or well-being!
Blending up random mixtures of fruits, veggies, and other nutritional powerhouses like seeds and nuts is an amazingly easy and efficient way to give your body what it needs all with the push of a single blender button! Here are a few reasons why I’m loving on smoothies & shakes so much:
Convenience & Portability. Nuff said.
Stops the “I don’t eat veggies because I don’t know how to cook them” excuse dead in it’s tracks. EVERYONE can chop, blend, and pour.
It’s 100% customizable to your individual tastes and dietary needs/preferences. Don’t like bananas...awesome, don’t use ‘em. Can’t do dairy...no prob...nut milks and nut yogurts are pretty readily found just about everywhere now. Vegan....perfect...same goes for you! Super shakes can be tailored to ANY dietary protocol, and still be chalk full of macro and micronutrients to keep you going for hours!
Speaking of MACROS...if you’re a tracker, smoothies can be your best friend, as you can add as much or little of things you need to precisely hit the numbers you want. Trying to avoid too many powders/supplements? Use pasteurized liquid egg whites as your base. 6oz has 20g of protein that’s completely tasteless, and will blend perfectly with your fruits and veggies. Add a splash of dairy or non-dairy milk or some yogurt to thicken the texture or give a creamier flavor you expect from a smoothie. No powder required! Greek yogurts are another excellent source of non-powder protein. I recently started finding Kite Hill Greek-style almond yogurt around that has as much protein as it’s dairy counterpart, but is 100% dairy free. Just have to factor in the extra fat, as it is made from almonds and will contribute 10-12g fat to your shake. Nut butters are another awesome thickener that can add fats if you need them...or, if you don’t, but still love that PB flavor, PB2 or other nut powder is a great option for finding the flavor you love without the extra fat. I could go on, and on...the macro-matching options are endless!
They’re blended, so they are super easy on your digestive system. This is a biggie- especially in the morning...if you’re a person who doesn’t like to eat “food” because it feels heavy on your stomach early in the morning. Blending up fibrous fruits and veggies makes them slightly easier on your system to digest, as part of the work has already been done by your blender. The more things are broken down, the easier and more efficiently they are absorbed by our bodies.
They can be excellent cover-ups...either for you or your picky kiddos who cringe at the sight of things like kale, cucumbers, avocado, spinach, or other greens. Toss 1-2 generous handfuls of green things in the blender, and you’ll never know they're in there! Trust me. It’s been fooling kids for YEARS! The taste gets covered right up by yummy berries, pineapple, mango, apple...take your pick...just about any fruit will help sweeten up your smoothie into something you and your kids will drink with a smile!
You can prep a bunch in advance! Wait...what?! Don’t they turn a funky green/brown color if you leave em in the fridge too long? YES. Especially if there’s fruits involved, your smoothies won’t stay fresh too long just kept refrigerated...BUT, if you portion them out into individual serving size mason jars, you can freeze them for dayzzzz! Blend a bunch at a time, and you’ve got a ready to go snack or meal when you need it!
If you’re a person that’s in a reverse diet and needs to eat more than you’re comfortable with, or has a weak appetite due to hormonal imbalances or illness, blending up fruits and veggies can be an easier way to get the nutrition you need without having to physically eat it all. Sometimes it’s easier to drink things than it is to chew and eat everything we need, so smoothies can be a game changer for these situations!
So, you can see why it’s so easy to show some love for a good super shake or smoothie. The biggest take away I have is for you to just be creative and give it a try! I rarely ever follow a recipe for a shake. I basically just take a bunch of things I like, weigh/measure them out, toss em in the blender, mix & taste and adjust if needed. Re-read part of that...WEIGH & MEASURE...yes...if there is one caveat to liquid meals, it’s that we can get a little heavy handed when tossing all that goodness in the blender! Calories can add up pretty quickly, so it’s a good idea to measure things out as you go, so you don’t end up consuming the equivalent of an actual fast-food milkshake! ;-)
Like I said, get creative, and don’t be afraid to mix up fruits and veggies together! Some mild veggies that mix well are kale, spinach, cucumbers, and riced cauliflower. Fruit wise, bananas and avocados are excellent thickeners, while berries, pineapple, mango, and even apples blend well and add a sweet taste without added sugars. Tiny splashes of vanilla or coconut extracts add nice flavor, along with cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger!
Here’s a recipe I put together this morning for a power-packed breakfast that got me through a lifting sesh, swim lessons, and a few hours of chores before lunch! For a lighter meal or snack, separate out into 2 servings, and freeze one for later!
Berry Banana & Greens Smoothie
30g (Big handful) Kale
120g Frozen mixed berries
44g (1/2) Medium banana
1/2 Container plain unsweetened Greek-style almond yogurt
6oz Liquid egg whites
6oz Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2oz Lite Coconut Milk
Macros: 475 calories; 18.6g Fat; 48.8g Carbs; 28.2g Protein