Beverage/Smoothie · Nutrition · Recipe

Smoothies; 3 ways

Please forgive my poor food photography skills. Although, not too shabby for my dimly lit studio and Fujifilm pocket-sized camera.

Smoothie-making has always seemed like a lot of work to me. Maybe it’s the idea of unearthing my blender from the pile of pots and pans or the clean up afterwards that has prevented me from making them. However, all of  that changed the day I tried a spin on this “green smoothie” recipe from Watch Your P’s blog. I had been looking for a way to increase my veggie intake and I really think that getting creative with smoothies is the answer.

When thinking about creating some new smoothie recipes, I had several criteria: 1) at least 1/2 cup vegetables per serving, 2) <30g of carbs per serving and 3) a good amount of protein so that they would be useful as a post-workout meal/snack. I came up with 3 different recipes, each incorporating a different type of vegetable/fruit combination. The vegetables that I chose (spinach, pumpkin, zucchini and cauliflower) are each known to be an excellent natural source of vitamins and anti-oxidants, which can help to prevent inflammation and cancer. Since a single post could be dedicated to each one of these super  foods, I though I would provide a quick bulleted list about each of the veggies and what they provide our bodies.

Spinach: 1 cup of raw spinach provides > 200% of our recommended daily dose of Vitamin K, a vitamin that is essential for maintaing proper bone health. Two key functions of Vitamin K include: 1) it inhibits activation of osteoclasts, a cell that promotes bone degeneration and 2) activates osteocalcin, a molecule that helps to make bones stronger by promoting calcium retention.

Pumpkin: Winter squash is high in vitamins A and C and is a great source of fiber. Winter squash is a good source of cucurbitacins, a molecule that is thought to play a specific role in inflammation by targeting several major inflammatory pathways in the body (NF-ΚB, nitric oxide synthase or cyclo-oxygenase).

Zucchini: Zucchini is high in folate, potassium, vitamin A and manganese. The anti-oxidants found in zucchini include, carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin, each of which contribute to promoting eye health by preventing macular degeneration and cataract formation. I chose to include the skin and seeds in this recipe, since they have additional antioxidants and omega-3 fats.

Cauliflower: Cauliflower is high in vitamin C, vitamin K and contains 3 different glucosinolates, which activate detoxifying enzymes in the body. Cauliflower’s phytonutrients (beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, caffeic acid and others) also work to lower oxidative stress, a known contributor to carcinogenesis.

I hope that you enjoy these recipes as much as I do and feel free to comment if you make additional changes.

Green Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

Reagents:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 frozen banana, cut into slices
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, almond milk
  • 1 cup of spinach
  • 1 scoop of vanilla, soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract

Nutrition per serving: 145 calories, 19g carb, 3g fat, 14g protein, 9g sugar, 3g fiber

Orange Smoothie (makes 2 servings), a play on this smoothie recipe from paleOMG

Reagents:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 can of 100% pure, organic pumpkin puree (this different than “pumpkin pie mix”, which has added sugar…be careful because they are right next to each other and have very similar labels)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, almond milk
  • 1/2 zucchini, cut into small pieces
  • 1 scoop of vanilla, soy protein powder
  • 2 tbs almond butter
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tsp of stevia or your preferred sweetener
  • Cinnamon and nutmeg to taste
Nutrition per serving: 224 calories, 17g carb, 11g fat, 19g protein, 7g sugar, 8g fiber

Purple Smoothie (makes 2 servings)

Reagents:

  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 frozen banana, cut into slices
  • 1 cup of steamed cauliflower (cooled)
  • 1 cup of unsweetened, almond milk
  • 1 tbl almond butter
  • 1 scoop of vanilla, soy protein powder
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
  • Fresh ginger (optional)
Nutrition per serving: 217 calories, 26g carb, 7g fat, 17g protein, 16g sugar, 6g fiber

Protocol:

  • Add all ingredients to a blender and pulse until a smooth consistency is reached.
  • Serve and enjoy.

Tips:

  • These recipes make enough for two, perfect for you and a roommate or workout buddy. They also keep very well overnight in the fridge. Just give it a quick stir and you’re good to go!
  • I also plan to play with these recipes in the future and incorporate high protein greek yogurt, flaxseed meal and Chia seeds.
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