Full Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the a2 Milk Company ® , but all thoughts are completely my own. I only work with companies whose products are awesome and I would personally use!
Seriously, have you ever met someone who said they don’t like smoothies? I sure haven’t! Whether their function is a as a meal, snack, pre-workout or recovery shake, or convenient to-go meal, your smoothie is only as healthy as you make it!
5 Top Smoothie Tips
- For a 16 ounce smoothie, use up to approximately 1 cup of fruit, ¾ cup of liquid and ½ cup Greek yogurt.
- Don’t be scared to throw veggies into your smoothie for lots of added nutrients and fiber.
- To reduce added sugars, always use unsweetened milks, plain yogurt, unsweetened nut butters and watch your portion size of added sweeteners. Protein powders are also often a hiding spot for added sugars.
- Don’t have time to make breakfast in the morning? Prep a smoothie for breakfast the night before and take to work in a to-go cup.
- Don’t want to take the time to clean a blender? Use an immersion blender.
Now let’s talk about 2 ingredients folks can get very passionate about when describing their typical smoothie rituals: fruit and liquid. Adding fruit to a smoothie isn’t going to make you fat. Yes, fruit has naturally occurring sugars, but it also has so many vitamins, minerals, immune enhancing & anti-aging antioxidants and phytochemicals, plus fiber! The recommended daily amount of fruit for healthy men and women is 1-1/2 to 2 cups, so adding fruit to a smoothie is a great way to get your daily fill.
Now the liquid. Assuming you’re not vegan or don’t have an allergy to it, my #1 liquid to use in a smoothie is milk. In addition to containing calcium, magnesium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, cow’s milk has 12 grams of carbs and 8 grams of protein per cup, ideal for fueling muscles and assisting in recovery. Nut and coconut milks are super trendy, but unless you seek out an unsweetened one, many brands contains lots of added sugars and hardly any protein. If your reason for not using cow’s milk in a smoothie is that you think your belly can’t tolerate milk, lactose may not be your problem. Your issue may lie with the type of protein. I recently found out about the a2 Milk Company ® and can’t believe I didn’t hear about it sooner!! For many of you who thought you couldn’t drink milk, this brand will be a game changer!
Here’s the deal. Back in the day when they were first domesticated, all cows used to only produce the A2 beta casein protein. Fast forward to today where cows produce either A1, A2 or a most likely a combination of A1 and A2. Whether a cow has the A1 or A2 protein is a genetic variant, just like 1 person having blue eyes and another having brown. The A1 protein has been shown to cause digestive discomfort after drinking a glass of milk because of just 1 amino acid that breaks off early during digestion, forming a complex that attaches to different receptor sites in the gut. That’s when you start feeling crappy.
Now on to the good news. The A2 protein has been shown NOT to cause post dairy digestive discomfort! Emerging research has also shown that those with lactose intolerance may even be able to drink a2 Milk® without any discomfort!
The a2 milk isn’t adulterated in any way because it’s just milk! Nothing else! The a2 Milk Company ® identifies the cows that only produce the a2 protein by performing a simple genetic test using the hair from the tail of the cow. They then separate those cows into their own special VIP club and milk them. That’s it! So, if you used to enjoy milk, but stopped drinking it due to digestive discomfort, I suggest experimenting with a2 Milk® !
Keep your eyes open for upcoming research because I predict that this is going to be HUGE once more people find out about it. Fun fact: a2 Milk® is the most popular milk in Australia and has been around for many years!
The sky’s the limit on the number of flavor combinations you can create! Here are some ingredient suggestions to get you started!
Fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, cherries, apples, orange segments, bananas, mango, pineapple, pears, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, etc.
Veggies: dark leafy greens like spinach or kale, zucchini, yellow summer squash, cucumber, carrots, cooked beets, pureed canned pumpkin, cooked sweet potatoes.
Protein: Greek yogurt, soy yogurt, cottage cheese, silken tofu, chia seeds, hemp seeds, milk powder, your favorite protein powder, nut/peanut butter, peanut butter powder.
Add-ins: oats, granola, unsweetened cocoa powder, matcha green powder, spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, turmeric, herbs like mint or basil, extracts such as almond, coconut, vanilla or orange.
- Sweeteners: honey, agave, maple syrup (just remember that even if a sweetener is “natural”, it’s still sugar, so use sparingly).
Healthy fats: avocado, nut butters, peanut butter, flax seed, hemp seed, chia seed.
Liquid: cow’s milk such as a2 Milk®, unsweetened alternative milk, coconut water, 100% fruit juice or vegetable juice, unsweetened iced green tea or other tea, unsweetened iced coffee.
This plant based smoothie gives you 2 servings of veggies! If your fruit isn't super sweet and ripe, try adding just a little bit of honey, about 1/2 teaspoon. For added protein, use your favorite vanilla protein powder.
- 1 cup packed baby spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup sliced Persian or English cucumber (leave skin on, unless you are using a cucumber with waxy skin)
- 1/3 cup frozen strawberries
- 1/3 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/3 cup ripe banana slices
- 1/4 of a small avocado
- 3/4 cup a2 Milk ®
- Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.