Cooking with Karina: A Guide to Smoothies
Karina Arnold, summer intern at The Buzz, is a rising sophomore at the University of Oklahoma who’s passionate about healthy cooking. Stay tuned every Monday this summer for creative, healthy recipes and tips on clean eating from Karina.
Many often assume that a smoothie consists just of assorted fruit and juice with ice. But there’s more to the art of smoothie making. Simply mixing fruit and juice does not keep you full or provide a steady source of energy. Due to fruit and juice’s high sugar content, you are likely to experience a sugar crash and left hungry within the hour. Lucky for you, I have an easy equation to making a healthy, nutrient-packed and filling smoothie!
The Equation: Fruit + Greens + Seed/Protein Powder + Liquid Base
Breaking it Down:
Fruit: Fill your blender about halfway with your fruit of choice. The fruit can be frozen or fresh, but frozen is best because it helps make your smoothie cold. Some easy-to-blend, tasty fruit options are oranges, bananas, strawberries (or any berry), pineapple, peaches or mangoes. Fruit provides you with numerous vitamins and minerals including fiber, vitamin c and potassium. You can read more about fruits’ benefits here.
Greens: Fill the other half of your smoothie blender with a “green” or vegetable. This includes spinach, avocadoes (although technically a fruit), kale, sweet potato or carrots. Greens are energy dense (meaning they are low in calories but high in nutrient content) and contain fiber. People with diets rich in vegetables generally have healthy blood pressure, skin and eyes and a reduced risk of developing kidney stones and bone loss. See more about veggies' benefits here.
Seed/Protein Powder: Having some protein in your smoothie keeps you satisfied and helps prevent a sugar crash. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, soy beans, a handful of your favorite chopped nut, peanut butter, or whey protein powder are great options to boost your smoothie. Just throw in one scoop or serving in the blender. After discussing the benefits of protein with my nutrition teacher, David Lantis, at the University of Oklahoma, I learned that nuts, soy products and seeds are an excellent source of protein and great energy boosters. I learned that adding more protein to your diet can contribute to muscle development, effective weight loss and reduced risk of cancer.
Liquid Base: This will give your smoothie a creamy consistency. Milk (regular, chocolate or almond), plain Greek yogurt, coconut water or even just water are great additives. Try to avoid adding juices because those usually have a lot of sugar and the fruit added already gives you the flavor and sugars you need. Note that the more liquid you add, the less creamy your smoothie will be.
Extras: Feel free to garnish your smoothie after blending with granola, cinnamon, coconut flakes or even sprinkles on top.
Note: Drinking a smoothie alone should not replace a meal. Smoothies are a great pre- or post-workout snack. Add a small bowl of oatmeal or toast for breakfast with a smoothie for a full meal. You can also try making a Smoothie Bowl with granola. My personal favorite is this tasty Berry Smoothie! What are your favorite smoothie combinations?
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