Building the perfect smoothie

KATHARINE BRIGHT FROM THE HEALTH BOOST TALKS US THROUGH HER FAVOURITE RECIPES FOR THE PERFECT SMOOTHIE.

If you go into a supermarket the array of smoothies you can now buy is overwhelming. We find more and more people are reaching for a smoothie as a healthy choice.

However, many of the shop bought smoothies are very high in fruit and contain very small amounts of vegetables. This makes them very sweet and palatable. While this is great for increasing the amount of fruit in one’s diet, it does mean that we often get a blood sugar spike.

Without any protein or fat to slow down the absorption you get the same effect as reaching for a sugary drink. A blood sugar spike results in an inevitable blood sugar crash a few hours later, which leads to cravings for more food (often unhealthy food) as your body needs the energy fast!

Katharine Bright is a Registered Nutritional Therapist with a clinic in Sevenoaks. To book an appointment call her on 07769 636352 or email kat@thehealthboost.co.uk. She is co-founder of The Health Boost (thehealthboost.co.uk) – a website dedicated to providing a family friendly solution to healthy eating. For day-to-day healthy inspiration and new recipes follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

The solution is to make your own smoothies! You will need a high-speed blender or a Nutri bullet as you want to make sure your smoothies are smooth.

The basics
Greens
– a smoothie is a great way to add some green vegetables to your diet as I often find this is low or lacking. Spinach is a great start and ideal for children as it’s mild in taste and so they won’t know they are devouring it. We always keep some frozen spinach balls in the freezer as they are ideal for adding to smoothies. Other good greens for smoothies include kale, watercress, rocket, peas, broccoli and lettuce.

Protein – this will help to fill you up. If you don’t include some protein in your smoothie then you will be hungry after a few hours. You can buy many different types of protein powder – whey, hemp, pea, rice or collagen and all are fine to add to your smoothie. You can also add nuts and seeds for some protein. Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts and walnuts all feature in our smoothies.

Healthy fat – this, along with the protein, will help to keep your blood sugar stable. ½ avocado, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, some nuts (about 10), 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, some seeds such as flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp or pumpkin seeds. Or you could include some coconut milk as your liquid and this will also contribute to your healthy fats portion.

Fruit – you will need some sweetness, but make sure you include no more than 1-2 servings. Any fruit works – berries, banana, kiwi, melon, mango, apple, pear, peach, apricots, plums, oranges or pineapple. We always keep some frozen berries in the freezer. Also, when your bananas start to go brown in the fruit bowl, then just peel and chop them up and keep them in the freezer. These frozen can then be added to smoothies.

Other vegetables – the options are obviously endless! We use beetroot, carrots and cucumber the most, in addition to the greens listed above.

Liquid – you will also need some liquid. You could just use water – but other suggestions are coconut water, unsweetened coconut milk, oat milk, unsweetened almond milk or yoghurt. Fresh lime or lemon juice are also good choices to add some extra zing.

An extra boost
A smoothie is also a great way to sneak in a few added extras.

Spices – ginger and turmeric give a good zing and can help disguise a strong flavour. You can use either in fresh or powder form. Cinnamon is good for stabilising blood sugar and offers a sweetness.

Cacao powder – this hasn’t been roasted at a high temperature and so retains a lot of its nutrients – unlike cocoa powder.

Bee pollen – this gives a sweetness and can be sprinkled on top of smoothies. As well as a sweetness, bee pollen is packed with amino acids and antioxidants.

A smoothie bowl
Sometimes drinking a smoothie can feel like you haven’t eaten. If you find this, then make your smoothie with a bit less liquid and pour into a bowl to eat with a spoon. You can also add texture to the bowl by adding some extras on the top such as oats, nuts and seeds.

See below for some of our favourite smoothie recipes or visit www.thehealthboost.co.uk for more inspiration.

Roots & mango smoothie

Roots & mango smoothie
Has protein from the chia seeds, healthy fat from the flaxseed and a good mix of vegetables with a touch of sweet from the mango.

Ingredients
• 1 raw beetroot, peeled and chopped
• 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
• 100g mango
• handful of kale chopped
• 1 tablespoon of chia seeds
• 1 tablespoon of flaxseeds
• 200ml of coconut water

Method
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth. You might need more or less coconut water depending on how thick you like your smoothie.

Apricot & almond smoothie

Apricot & almond smoothie

Ingredients
• 3 ripe apricots, chopped
• 1 medium carrot, grated
• 1 tablespoon almond butter
• almond milk
• 1 teaspoon raw honey (optional)

Method
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth. You might need more or less almond milk depending on how thick you like your smoothie.

Creamy green smoothie

Creamy green smoothie
Suitable for children – the first time I made this my daughter drank most of it! There is some protein from the avocado, but not much, so if you want to drink on its own then you might want to add a few nuts.

Ingredients
• 1 banana, peeled and chopped
• 1 kiwi fruit, 1/2 avocado, both peeled
• Handful of spinach
• A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
• 150ml coconut water

Method
Place all the ingredients in a high speed blender and process until smooth. You might need more or less coconut water depending on how thick you like your smoothie.