Uprade Your Smoothies and Protein Shakes

Smoothie

(HealthCastle.com) People always ask me if smoothies and/or protein shakes are a good idea. They're often wondering about calories, which of course is an important consideration, but a smoothie or protein shake needn't be loaded down with calories. Smoothies are not the same as 'weight gainers' that body builders often use, nor are they the same as milkshakes. It all boils down to the quality, and portions, of the ingredients.

Boosting the nutritional content of your smoothie, or protein shake, is easy

Smoothies are a great way to get a concentrated source of nutrition. They can be based on low-fat milk, fortified soy, almond, rice or hemp beverage. I'm also OK with a small amount of 100% fruit juice, it only takes 1/2 cup to get a good dose of nutrition from say, mango nectar. The shake can always be thinned with water Alternatively you can use water and fruit (fresh or frozen) as your base.

Nutrition upgrades include:

Ground flax, or whole chia or Salba seed: for added fiber, minerals, protein, vitamin E and essential healthy fats.

Rolled oats: for fiber, phyto-nutrients, and slowly-released carbohydrate

Protein powder: lots of choices such as whey, fermented soy, hemp, pea, or brown rice

Nut butters (almond, peanut etc): for vitamin E, monounsaturated fats for long-lasting energy and protein.

Berries: for antioxidants and phyto-nutrients

Green foods (wheat grass, spriulina, barley grass, chlorella etc): adds more things than can be listed in this post such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phyto-nutrients, enzymes and protein to list a few: a broad range of health promoting ingredients.

Fish oil: most liquid fish oils are lemon, apple, mango or orange flavoured with no fishy taste - 1 tsp will give an optimal dose of these health promoting fats and a yummy taste to boot!

Wheatgerm: vitamin E, phyto-nutrients and polyphenols, phosphorus and potassium.

Raw cacao powder: super intense chocolate flavour, magnesium, manganese and polyphenols that benefit the entire cardiovascular system

Canned pumpkin, or cooled leftover cooked carrots, sweet potato, squash: including more vegetables doesn't get any easier, and you won't taste it. A great way to get more fiber, and carotenoids like beta, and alpha carotene.

Thawed frozen spinach, or cooled, leftover cooked spinach, kale, collard greens: again, more vegetables, and you'll get a good dose of potassium, magnesium and the carotenoid lutein, a plant pigment that great reduces the risk for macular degeneration, the leading caused of blindness in those over 50.

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