A smoothie can be an excellent and healthy meal alternative. It is also extremely convenient for those who detest cooking and are not morning people.
So, should you replace your breakfast with a smoothie? Yes, you can replace your breakfast with smoothies as they are easy to prepare, portable, convenient, and healthy. But the ingredients should be carefully selected to suit your nutritional and taste needs. Only then can smoothies be a good and sustainable replacement for breakfast.
If you go on YouTube, you will find most health enthusiasts making smoothies for breakfast. Why are smoothies preferable to a regular hearty breakfast? As they say- “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. So why compromise on the most important meal of the day with a smoothie?
Here in this article, you will find all the nitty-gritty on the smoothie alternative for breakfast. You can replace your breakfast with a smoothie as long as the ingredients such as sugar, milk, peanut butter, processed fruit juices, etc. are reduced. Smoothies can be healthy as well as unhealthy. While smoothies conjure up an image of a healthy lifestyle it can easily be turned into unhealthy junk food by adding in unhealthy items.
So, your smoothies are as good as you make it. Now with regards to the question as to why you should replace your breakfast with smoothies here are some reasons:
- Convenience: Smoothie can be easily blended in the blender and can be sipped. Eating and chewing on pancakes and cereal is arduous and time-consuming especially if you have work to attend to after that.
- Healthier Option– Smoothies if made with healthy ingredients such as greens, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats can be much healthier than a sugary or greasy breakfast that is loaded with unwanted calories. Also, since multiple ingredients are blended in you will be able to add in healthy stuff which you would possibly avoid because of the taste and not notice it when in the smoothie.
- No cooking needed– There is no cooking involved, you have to put the ingredients and blend, that’s all it takes! Anyone can do that – no recipes to look up, no standing in front of the stove. And cleaning? The cleaning up is very easy as you have just the blender and the glass to clean.
- Portable – Smoothies are easily portable and can be carried in a securely covered cup and you can sip it on the way to work while walking and even take it to the gym for consumption before or after the workout.
- Meal Replacement- It is an excellent meal replacement in case you are looking to lose weight and want to avoid hidden sugars and calories that come from regular meals cooked at home.
How to make Healthy Smoothies to replace your Breakfast
Smoothies will include fresh ingredients and need to have a blend of carbs, proteins, and fats. Some will include sources of vitamins and minerals as well. A smoothie can be made out of anything. The ingredients you add and the blend of the various nutrients will determine if your smoothies are healthy or not. The ingredients that you add will depend on the type of diet you follow.
If you are into a vegan diet any fruit (usually bananas) berries, chia, or flax seeds can be used. If you are in paleo you could also include eggs, yogurt, kefir as well as berries.
Let’s look at the components of a smoothie. This could possibly ignite some ideas for your smoothie breakfasts.
Liquid base – This requires you to have water or plant-based milk or any nut milk as the liquid which allows the watery consistency of the smoothie.
Fruits – Fruits add sweetness. You would not want to add sugar or honey or maple syrup if you want a healthy smoothie. Using berries, bananas or dates can add the sweetness that you require
Vegetables – Most of the popular vegetables that are included in the smoothies include carrots, beets, and cucumbers. These taste very good in smoothies but real health enthusiasts will add cooked and pureed pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes, and even cauliflowers
Greens – Healthy smoothies always contain green as they bring the necessary phytochemicals, vitamins A, C, and K. Also, the necessary fiber for gut health. The smoothies are excellent ways to incorporate leafy greens in the diet as some people find it difficult to consume them in their leafy forms even when cooked. Some of the best choices for leafy greens include kale, spinach, and swiss chard.
Protein – Here it depends on how much protein you need to consume. For example, if you were in the bodybuilding mode you may need to add in more protein or if you are in the weight-loss mode you may reduce the protein.
The choicest proteins for vegans are coconut milk, coconut yogurt, nut milk, peanuts butter, chia, flax seeds, hemp seed, and sesame seeds. For those who are okay with dairy, you could include organic milk, yogurt, and whey.
Fats – The nuts and seeds that you add will give the necessary fast along with proteins.
For the non-vegans, the options can also include dairy products.
Additional Possibilities – Other than these some may add spirulina, cinnamon, turmeric, cacao powder, parsley ginger, nutmeg, etc. This will depend on the taste and nutrition preferences of the person.
Now let’s look at some ingredients that you should NOT add to smoothies:
- Sugar – All kinds of sugar (brown or refined), even jaggery or maple syrup should be avoided as it tends to work counter to your health goals. You can also avoid artificial sweeteners as they are unnatural and, in some cases, unhealthy too. You could add bananas or dates for the sweetness and even then, it is better to keep it less sweet.
- Fruit Juices – Store-bought fruit juices contain sugar and lack the fiber needed for our bodies. It is just like taking a swig of sugar water. Adding an apple or orange directly in the smoothies in a much better option than pouring in store-bought juices.
- Granola – Granola does provide the crunch and is great tasting in smoothie bowls but its better to avoid them as store-bought granola is just another sugary treat. Indulging in it will defeat the purpose of replacing breakfast with a smoothie.
- Protein Powders – Avoid adding protein powder directly as they contain processed ingredients for increasing muscle mass. Choose natural sources of protein at all times.
- Too much dairy – Even if you are not vegan it is better to reduce the milk and yogurt that you use in the smoothies. It adds up the calories and creates unnecessary heaviness to the smoothies. You want a smoothie ultimately and not a milkshake.
- Other things to avoid include sweetened coconut flakes, vitamins, or other nutritional supplements, salt, etc.
Tips on adding Smoothies as Breakfasts
- Restrict consumption to only one glass – You need to stick to only one serving of the smoothie regardless of how hungry you feel. Remember smoothies have calories and drinking your calories is not advisable.
- Add variety – Having the same smoothie every day can be boring, try different tastes and flavors. There are so many ingredients that are good for you which you can experiment with.
- Don’t go overboard with nuts. While peanuts and cashew, almonds, etc are healthy, they tend to add fats and for some, they may even be allergic to them. When you add them ensure that they are salt and sugar-free.
- Try adding herbs and spices like ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, or turmeric even though it changes the taste. They have a lot of benefits when added to the diet.
- Try using a spoon for eating your smoothie rather than drinking it in one gulp. Too many calories can be ingested in a condensed form as you get in a smoothie. This when consumed quickly, without chewing, can lead to bloating.
So in conclusion, smoothies can be an excellent idea to help you meet your health goals faster. But a clear understanding of the nutritional aspects of the ingredients along with bringing a balance in the carbs, fats, and protein will ensure that it is a truly healthy, breakfast alternative.
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