Localicious: The Splendor of Summer Smoothies

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The smoothie craze has arrived and is here to stay. There is no better way to satisfy the taste buds with the flavors of summer than with a delicious, creamy smoothie.

Of course, all smoothies are not created equal – many are loaded with sugar. Here are some tips to help you determine what makes a smoothie healthy, and how to make the best smoothies from your own kitchen.

Fruit & Juice

There are many health benefits to eating fresh, seasonal fruit. Fruit contains powerful antioxidants, valuable vitamins and minerals, and dietary fiber. Fruit also contains a lot of sugar. People often make the mistake of eating lots of fruit to be healthier, without realizing the amount of sugar they are also taking in.

It’s always a good idea to be mindful of the amount of fruit you put into a smoothie. Two or three choices are typically more than enough for a whole day. Tropical fruits tend to have higher sugar content and are best used in moderation. Adding juice to your smoothies not only increases the sugar content of your drink, but also spikes blood sugar levels, so use sparingly.

Maintaining healthy blood sugar levels is very important to the health of your body. Try adding your favorite non-dairy beverage, like coconut milk or almond milk, instead of juice.

art-615-loca2Make it Complete

Adding protein and healthy fats to your smoothie not only provides better nutrition, but keeps your body satisfied longer. 

Protein Sources. Whey protein powder (made from cow or goat milk) is easily digestible and absorbed by the body. Other protein powders include soy, rice and pea. Tahini (ground sesame seeds) and nut butters like almond, cashew and peanut are good protein sources, as are cottage cheese and yogurt (skip the non-fat; whole milk or low-fat are best for maintaining healthy blood sugar levels).

Healthy Fat Sources. Include flax seeds and flax oil, chia seeds, coconut butter, and avocado.

Add a Boost

There are many beneficial additions you can add to make a smoothie more nutrient-dense and flavorful. Here are a few ideas that will add zing to your smoothies:

Culinary Herbs & Spices. Fresh herbs like parsley, basil and mint provide a fresh flavor, aid in digestion, and help support the kidneys. Fresh ginger aids in digestion, stimulates circulation, and has anti-inflammatory qualities. Cinnamon helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and stimulates circulation.

Fresh Greens. Kale, chard, spinach and dandelion greens pack a punch nutritionally by providing chlorophyll, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Blue-green Algae. These include spirulina, chlorella, and wheat and barley grass. They are loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals (especially iron and B-12) and chlorophyll. These “super greens” can typically be found at your local health food store, either individually or combined in a “greens” formula.

Bee Pollen. Provides protein, B vitamins and other nutrients. Bee Pollen, especially local sources, can help desensitize pesky seasonal allergies.

Delicious Smoothies To Go

Sky’s Pure Food in Redding serves smoothies, fresh juices, raw desserts and other culinary delights … be sure to try the Vitality Smoothie! They are located at 2471 Athens Ave.

Wild Oak Café in Chico serves fresh juices, smoothies, coffee, tea, breakfast and lunch. They are located at 196 Cohasset Rd., Suite 150.

Berryvale Grocery in Mt. Shasta serves smoothies, salads, sandwiches, wraps and more. Try their Violet Flame smoothie with local bee pollen. Find them at 305 S. Mt. Shasta Blvd.

Smoothies are an excellent way to add valuable nutrition to your daily diet. Be sure to make that nutrition complete with the addition of protein and healthy fats, and don’t be afraid to experiment with added boosters. I’ve included two of my favorite original recipes for smoothie inspiration.

Smoothies Right From Your Kitchen!

Mix these ingredients together in a blender (on high):

Women’s Vitality
1 banana, 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen), ½ cup fresh parsley, 1 cup cranberry water (⁄₄ cup pure cranberry juice & ¾ cup water), 1½ cups coconut milk, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1 heaping Tbls flax seeds, 2 Tbls flaxseed oil, ¼ tsp ground cinnamon.

From the Tropics
1 banana, 1 cup pineapple (fresh or frozen), 1 cup dandelion greens, 1½ cups coconut milk, ½ cup orange juice, 1Tbls coconut butter, 1 scoop whey protein powder, 1-inch piece fresh ginger (or ½ tsp ground ginger).

Michelle Cave
About Michelle Cave

Michelle Cave is a certified Nutrition Consultant & Nutrition Educator and has been practicing for over 13 years. She studied Holistic Nutrition at Bauman College, in Berkeley, CA and is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Find out more: www.familynutritionconnection.com

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