Fruit, vegetables and herbs can all be used to whip up a delicious smoothie. Lots of people now have a smoothie in place of an entire meal or have dedicated ‘fasting days’, where they just have smoothies or juices all day long. But not every smoothie is completely healthy, so it's worth being aware of which ingredients are particularly good for a delicious smoothie that makes you feel full. This article also reveals how best to store smoothies, plus lots of delicious recipes for your Monsieur Cuisine.
Smoothies: when to drink them
The optimal daily intake of fruit and vegetables is five portions a day. You can often achieve this with one smoothie alone, so making your daily nutritional requirement is that much easier with the right smoothie. What’s more, they are particularly good at delivering healthy energy, along with important nutrients.
But what’s the right time to have a smoothie? It’s not just about the time of day, but also about the ingredients you use!
What can go in your smoothie: Fruit and vegetables, liquid (e.g. water, plant-based milk, juice or even coconut water), nuts, herbs, seeds, oatmeal and spices like cinnamon or vanilla. The possibilities are endless.
Morning: Everything goes first thing. You need energy if you have a whole day of being active ahead of you. This means that the morning is also the perfect time to get some carbohydrates on board. They give you a quick burst of energy that can be used up over the course of the day. Healthy fats and proteins are also essential, as these ensure that energy is supplied steadily, over a long period of time. A smoothie packed with fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables and protein powder is perfect and will see you through the day.
Lunchtime: Drinking a smoothie right after lunch is not recommended. A whole meal plus a nutrient-packed smoothie will be difficult for your body to digest and comes laden with far too many calories. If you work a smoothie into your meal plan as a dessert and just have a little one, this isn’t a problem. If you’re having a smoothie in place of lunch, opt for green smoothies with plenty of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats.
In the evening or as a snack: A small smoothie that is low on calories is a good choice as a snack between meals. You shouldn't have a smoothie after your evening meal if you want to have a good night’s rest and not tax your body too much. This would overly stimulate your digestive system and your body would only be able to wind down slowly.
The benefits of smoothies
- Smoothies are always quick to make: all it takes is a blender and some fresh fruit and veg. It’s ready in a matter of seconds. These days, you can also buy freshly made smoothies here, there and everywhere.
- You can have them anytime, anywhere: whether you're on the train, at work, at a picnic or on the beach, a smoothie makes the perfect thing to take along with you.
- Good food: if you’re making your smoothies yourself, you always know exactly what’s in them. And that will mostly be unprocessed foods. A smoothie often makes a much healthier alternative to snacks or even meals.
- Less waste: You might have a banana with a few brown spots, a slightly limp lettuce or an overly ripe avocado, but they can all go into your smoothie without impairing the taste whatsoever. Smoothies are great for using up leftovers, so you don’t end up with masses of food waste.
- Simply healthy: with the right ingredients, a smoothie can be a true elixir of health. It can detoxify your body, replace whole meals and supply you with energy, vitamins and lots more nutrients.
It’s true that consuming only smoothies isn’t a good idea. But why, exactly?
Although a smoothie does make getting your daily recommended intake of 5 servings of fruit and vegetables an absolute breeze, it’s actually better to eat fruit and vegetables whole. For one thing, your body is able to make better use of the vitamins that way, and the fibre isn’t damaged by the blending process. Our bodies need fibre to process fructose, for starters. The fructose remains even after the fruit has been blended, but the fibre doesn’t. Of course, drinking smoothies is perfectly fine, but it makes sense to eat fruit and vegetables whole, too.
Another reason why you shouldn’t just have fruit and vegetables in liquid form is that this precludes the need for chewing. As soon as you start chewing food, your body sends a signal to your brain to say, “Hello, I’m eating here! Let me know when I’m full.” This signal doesn't get sent if you're only consuming food in liquid form, and you won’t get that feeling of being sated, either.
Be particularly mindful of the ingredients that go into shop-bought smoothies. Preservatives, colourings and added sugar can all be included, so what appears to be a healthy smoothie may actually be sugary water with lots of kilocalories.
How to make it really healthy
First and foremost, make your smoothies yourself. It doesn’t take long at all, and you know exactly what's in them and can tweak the ingredients according to your personal preferences. Tip: For a cooling version in summer, simply pop a couple of ice cubes into your Monsieur Cuisine.
Sweet smoothies are delicious, but they’re not always all that healthy. It’s best to give refined sugar a swerve and opt for the natural sweetness provided by fruit instead.
The greener, the healthier! Another way of reducing the sugar content of your smoothie is to use more vegetables than fruit. Everything goes, from lettuce to spinach and broccoli. You can use frozen veg, too: this will cool your smoothie down and allows you to get the servings exactly right.
If you're having a smoothie instead of a meal, don’t do without foods that contain fat, as these fill you up. Nuts and plant-based milk are particularly good for this purpose. Not only are regional and seasonal ingredients healthy for you, but they also have a low carbon footprint. Just give them a try! They're great for ensuring that you get enough variety in your smoothies.
The fresher, the better! The more that a smoothie is exposed to light and room temperature, the more nutrients it loses. If you can’t consume it as soon as you’ve made it, we recommend storing it in a dark-sided container in the refrigerator.
If you don’t want to do without chewing, simply make a smoothie bowl. Often it’s enough to add less liquid, so that you get a thicker, fruity pulp. Topped with fruits, nuts and seeds, you can eat the smoothie bowl with a spoon, and it will require some chewing. It makes the perfect breakfast. ;-)