This article was done in conjunction with a partnership with BCBSM's A Healthier Michigan.
I always struggle with fast and easy meal or snack options that are still healthy. Sites like Pinterest make it easy to get ideas and try new options. Smoothies are a great—and quick—meal and snack option because of how nutrient rich they can be. Additionally, smoothies are entirely tailored to your favorite tastes and dietary needs, and you could hide less tasty oils or supplements behind the other ingredients.
Smoothies have a number of health benefits, but should incorporate natural ingredients rather than packaged mixes. A truly healthy smoothie is nutrient-dense and includes dietary fat, hydrating ingredients, and calcium. Dietary fats help to assimilate the vitamins and help stave off hunger pains and cravings for empty calories. Milk, yogurt, and ice cubes all contain a good amount of water, which aids tremendously in hydration throughout the day. Calcium aids in bone strength, and just eight ounces is about a third of our daily intake recommendation. Additionally, fruits themselves pack a high punch of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Try some of these smoothie recipes, packed with key ingredients like milk, yogurt, whey protein, bananas, berries, and healthy fats such as peanut butter or flax seeds.
Weight Loss Smoothie: This smoothie is best to replace breakfast or lunch, as it is low-calorie, but still filling. Blend together: 1 tablespoon chia seeds, 1 scoop whey protein powder, ½ medium banana, 1 cup frozen mixed berries, ¾ cup milk (skim, almond, or soy), and 3-5 ice cubes.
Immune Booster Smoothie: The immune booster has zinc, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, which all aid in immune system strength. Blend together: 1/3 cup ground almonds, 1 cup chopped cantaloupe, ½ cup cubed pineapple, 1 banana, 1 cup mango (peeled, pitted, and cubed), ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, and ice cubes.
Post-Workout Smoothie: This smoothie is best thirty to sixty minutes after a workout, and helps hydrate and replenish. Blend together: 1 dash cinnamon, 1 tablespoon peanut butter (or almond butter), 1 medium banana (frozen adds creaminess), 1/3 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, ½ cup almond milk, and 1 cup ice.
What are your favorite smoothie recipes?
Written by: Kristin M. Coppens is the West Michigan writer for A Healthier Michigan. She has written freelance for numerous outlets in Grand Rapids, and previously worked in marketing and public relations. A self-proclaimed foodie, techie,and political nerd, Kristin is a huge promoter of Grand Rapids, and of Michigan as a whole. Photo: stock.xchng