When we eat a balanced diet we feel healthy, vibrant, and in a better mood. To achieve that, each meal needs to include essential nutrients. We know we’re supposed to eat fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, etc. But could a smoothie give us everything we need in a meal?
In this article we confirm that yes, it is possible and even beneficial to occasionally drink a smoothie to replace a meal. Additionally, we’ll give you some recipes for some delicious and nutritious meal-replacement smoothies to try that will also help you reach your optimal weight.
Benefits of smoothies
In general, when we talk about smoothies we usually think of sweet dairy-based shakes (yogurt, milk, ice cream), which are high in calories and unhealthy. But a smoothie simply means that we decide to blend a group of foods together in a blender, and in this article we’re going to be surprised by the variety of ingredients we’re able to use. Up next, we’ll explain some of the benefits of drinking these meal-replacement smoothies on a regular basis:
- They are easy to digest, which is especially beneficial for people who eat too fast or without chewing enough
- They help us control our weight and can be an appetite suppressant, because they are so filling
- They prevent or improve constipation due to a high fiber content
- They are a beauty aid, thanks to their vitamin and mineral content
- They help us avoid skipping meals, because we can take them on the go when we’re away from home
- They do not contain lactose and some are gluten-free
- The whole family can enjoy them
- They are ideal for drinking before physical or mental exercise
- They are easy to prepare and can be had at any time of year
What should a balanced diet contain?
To keep our appetite satisfied and suppress hunger soon after eating, we need to provide our bodies the necessary amounts of nutrients in each meal. The following foods should be included in smoothies:
- Vegetables: raw and dried fruits, leafy greens
- Proteins: in this case of vegetable origin: nuts, cereals, avocados
- Starches or cereals: cereal beverages, bananas
- Healthy fats: oils of first cold press, nuts, avocados
Every smoothie we make should contain, to a greater or lesser extent, one of the ingredients from each of these categories, which we can adapt to our needs, age, weight, daily routine, and the time of day.
Below are some different ways to combine ingredients into a smoothie.
What ingredients do we use?
Preferably we should use organic and seasonal foods, to ensure maximum benefits. Besides, this will allow us to discover what we like and adjust to changing tastes.
We will need the following ingredients:
- Fruits: apples, pears, strawberries, papaya, pineapple, banana, avocado, etc.
- Green leafy vegetables: spinach, arugula, beet greens, lettuce
- Nuts: walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts
- Dried fruits: prunes, raisins, apricots, dates
- Vegetable oil (first cold press): olive, almond, sesame, sunflower, flax seed, wheat germ
- Vegetable drinks (oats, rice, buckwheat, almonds), natural fruit juice or water
- Optional sweetener: honey, agave nectar, brown sugar
- Food supplements: yeast, bee pollen, wheat germ, spirulina, wheat grass
Meal-replacement smoothie examples
Here we share some delicious and nutritionally comprehensive recipes for preparing smoothies:
- Green smoothie: avocado, baby spinach, ripe banana and rice drink
- Red smoothie: strawberries, cooked beets, raisins, macadamia nuts, sunflower oil and cranberry juice
- Orange smoothie: papaya, beet greens, pine nuts, dried apricots, almond oil, creamed oatmeal and wheat germ
- Yellow smoothie: pineapple, nuts, dates, sesame oil, apple juice and bee pollen
How to drink a smoothie?
Despite its liquid texture, a smoothie contains many ingredients, and some of them are raw and rich in fiber, so you should drink it slowly, tasting and almost chewing, for easy digestion and absorption, and to make it as satisfying as possible.
In the mornings we can make ourselves sweeter recipes that contain ripe fruits and natural sweeteners, which give us energy and put us in good spirits. At night however, we recommend using more mild fruits like apples or pears, and adding more vegetable content, which provide relaxing benefits that induce rest, while also facilitating weight loss.