Who doesn’t love smoothies?
Who doesn’t love a cool refreshing smoothie on a hot day, or before a workout, or just for the heck of it because you are walking by a smoothie store? Smoothies are an awesome drink that can be loaded with extras to improve their taste and nutrient content and can actually taste good and be healthy for you.
Everyone has seen the smoothie shops around—Smoothie King, Jamba Juice, Starbucks, Burger King even World Gym in Houston has added a smoothie king inside their gym..it seems that you can find smoothies just about everywhere.
What is in a Smoothie-good or bad?
Most smoothies are made with fruits so they seem healthy, but when you dig down into calorie count of your average smoothie –you better sit down before you read it!
At Smoothie King a 20 oz (smallest size) Hulk Strawberry fruit smoothie has a whopping 964 calories and the 40 oz has 1928—an entire day plus a few extra calories for most people….the 40 oz has 250 g of sugar….yes that is way over the recommended 25 g daily that the American Heart Association recommends for women. Now don’t misunderstand I am not bashing fruit smoothies or Smoothie King- I love their smoothies!
But– can you enjoy a smoothie without worrying too much about calories? Even the Apple Kiwi Kale Smoothie has 62 g of sugar (277 cal) in the 20 oz serving—this is my favorite and go to smoothie at Smoothie King. I am guessing that the sugar is due to the use of apple juice in the smoothie and the kiwi juice instead of actual fruits.
What you need to make a great smoothie
Smoothies can be a great source of nutrition if made from natural ingredients. For years I have been drinking chocolate protein shakes for breakfast…As a working mother of 3 girls, I had no time in the morning to sit down and eat breakfast, so my go to was a protein shake, then something more substantial when I got to work. I was stuck on these protein shakes for years, until I discovered juicing…which then took me to green smoothies and I now have become a green smoothie fanatic!!
More about juicing in another post… but whether you do smoothies or juicing…green is the way to go.
Equipment needed to make a great smoothie
For the protein shakes I had been using a small Hamilton Beach Personal Single Serve Blender with Travel Lid, Black (51103) forever— I even took it on deployments with me so I could enjoy my shakes while away from home! Those blenders are small and easy to take anywhere in your suitcase…but for a green smoothie of epic proportions that I now hoped to make– I needed something bigger, faster….and able to transform solids to liquid!!!
Enter the Nutri Ninja Auto iQ—as part of a health promotion campaign my insurance -GEHA -had me create a profile and fill out a health questionnaire…I added my Fitbit Alta Hr to the tracker and earned points …enough to get a free Ninja!! Check out your health insurances online page and see if they have a health promotions site, they will pay you to be healthy now!!
I had this machine for months before I knew what to do with it…but once I figured out how nutritionally wonderful green smoothies were, I was using it daily…
1-2 leaves of Kale- (I don’t use the stems)
A handful of spinach (heaping)
1/4 cup of fresh pineapple (I substitute mango or blueberries if I don’t have pineapple)
1 cup coconut water and 1 cup Ice
Now I add some extras: This is how I give it the boost!
1 scoop organic protein powder and a ½ scoop of the Greens from Advocare.
1 scoop mango-strawberry Spark from Advocare
1 Tsp chia seeds
1 tsp Flaxseed oil -from GNC
Additional items which add even more to it are:
There are many nutritional benefits one can get from a smoothie. Let’s take a look at each item that I put in it.
Nutrient content of the Smoothie
Kale —Rich in vitamin K-it has 6 times the recommended daily value of Vitamin K, also has vitamin A, C, and folate and a good source of Calcium
Spinach-High in vitamin A, K and C. 1 cup only has 6 calories!
Banana-vitamin B-6 and C plus potassium and fiber as well
Pineapple-vitamin A, and B-6. has magnesium and potassium ( I use ¼ cup due to sugar content)
Organic Protein powder from Purely Inspired: has 20 g of protein, USDA organic, dairy, gluten and soy free. Non GMO too!!
Greens from Advocare: Greens and Vegetable Blend to provide a broad variety of phytonutrients and antioxidants, including vitamins A, C and E, to support overall health and well-being*. Enzyme, Prebiotic and Probiotic Blend to support digestive health*
Spark from Advocare: a unique blend of 20 vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that work synergistically to provide a healthy and balanced source of energy.* Spark contains an effective amount of caffeine to give you a quick boost, B vitamins to enhance your body’s natural ability to produce and sustain its own energy, and neuroactive amino acids that help increase your mental focus and alertness.*
Flax Seed Oil: high in Omega-3
The best thing about the Green Smoothie—it tastes great!!!!! If you don’t like to eat green veggies this smoothie is a great way to get the health benefits from green vegetables without having to eat them- you simply drink them!
When looking at my list of additives you may think that you do not have time every day to pull out 5-6 packages and containers to add things to your smoothies…well neither do I—so as a timesaver I have a bunch of small containers that I put all my additives in weekly and then I just have to grab the container and put the powders into my Ninja cups for processing. You can also prepare the greens and fruits in freezer bags and freeze them—they are then ready for use when you are!
On another note- my Ninja IQ died when I accidentally plugged it into a 220v outlet (we live overseas), so in replacing it I upgraded and now use the Ninja Nutri Bowl DUO with Auto-iQ Boost (NN102) which has worked great as well.
Give smoothies a try- you may discover the great taste and health benefits as I did!
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