People are more aware of keeping their immune systems boosted with everything that's going on with Covid-19, but this is really something we should always be striving to do!
Fruits and vegetables are packed with antioxidants that protect our cells from viruses and diseases.
We need a lot of antioxidants because they can easily plummet if we get sick or even have a stressful situation. They can go down so much that it would take a few days of eating lots of whole, plant-based foods to get them back up!
Eating lots of fruits and veggies consistently will keep you healthy. One of the easiest ways to get lots of them in is smoothies!
So here's my basic smoothie guide. I don't always follow a specific recipe, but I do follow these steps here.
It also comes in handy when you need to use up some produce.
I always put my liquid in first. My rule is, one cup of liquid per person. So if you're making a smoothie for 2 people use 2 cups of liquid.
All you really need is water, but I do like to use cashew milk, almond milk or soy milk. These milks also up the protein. Soy milk has 9g of protein per cup!
I usually add 1-2 cups or large handfuls to my smoothies. If you're a green smoothie newbie I suggest start with spinach as it's SO easy to hide the flavor! Kale gives a smoothie more of “green' taste, but it's my second favorite to use.
You can even use things like the greens on beets or Swiss chard. It's a great way to use older, wilted greens too.
This step could be skipped, but smoothies are a simple way to get more leafy greens in! They're one of the healthiest foods we can eat and packed with lots of health benefits so I don't suggest skipping them on a regular basis.
Fruit makes a great sweetener and also hides the taste of those greens, if you're not a fan. My favorite fruit sweetener to use is dates! If that's the only fruit I'm going to use, I'll add anywhere from 3-5 dates depending on their size.
If adding other fruit like berries, mango, cherries or banana I'll use maybe 2 dates plus 1 cup of the other fruit. I like to stay stocked up on frozen fruit just in case I don't have fresh available. Frozen fruit helps make smoothies thicker.
If you're someone who is scared of sugar from fruit please read more research to see the body does not process fruit sugar like it does processed sugar. This is the sugar your body needs to thrive, and studies have shown eating fruit actually promotes weight loss.
Besides leafy greens, other vegetables I like to add is frozen cauliflower or frozen broccoli. Cauliflower is more mild tasting. I never know it's in there. Broccoli can be detected a little more, if you have the right amount of fruit you can easily hide it too.
This is why I always say taste your smoothie before you pour it from the blender and adjust it if you don't love the taste. I only add about 1/4th cup of these types of veggies because I prefer more of sweet smoothie.
I haven't experimented with too many others but I know peppers, mushrooms and even garlic are popular choices of veggies to add to smoothies.
This is an important ingredient to remember to add because healthy fats actually help our body absorb more of the nutrients from the other foods.
My go-to for smoothies is flaxseeds because they're loaded with benefits like cancer fighting properties, assist in balancing hormones and boost immunity! I do 1 tbsp per person.
Other good ones are chia seeds, avocado, nut butter, hemp seeds or pumpkin seeds.
Extra Flavor and benefits
Some other items you could add for extra flavor and extra health benefits are:
ginger root or powder
turmeric root or powder
cinnamon or other herbs and spices.
I hope this helps you drink more smoothies! I've got smoothie recipes here or on my Instagram highlights where I make them almost daily.