(StatePoint) There’s no better time than a new year to embrace healthy habits. And it’s easier to embrace a “new me” mentality by fueling your body with the goodness it needs now. You can incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your daily regimen with one simple snack hack: smoothies! Smoothies are convenient, fast and easy to make -- all you need is a liquid base, frozen or fresh ingredients and a blender.
However, not all smoothies are made equally. It’s easy to overlook the amount of sugar we’re sipping, which can make your “healthy” smoothie the sugar equivalent of a candy bar. Yikes! The secret to making a better-for-you smoothie is cherry picking the right ingredients that not only taste good but are good for you.
Here are four tips for blending healthful smoothies that will help you reach your wellness resolutions in the New Year:
1. Sacrifice sugar, not taste. Smoothies made with fruit-flavored juices or sweetened with frozen yogurt might taste great, but can wreak havoc on your health, often adding up to more than an entire day’s worth of added sugar. Cut back on the excess sugar by making them at home, where you can control what’s inside. Consider smart swaps, like no sugar added Mooala Bananamilks. These dairy-free milk alternatives add great-tasting flavor with sustainably-sourced bananas, roasted sunflower seeds and a touch of cinnamon and sea salt. Whether you’re making a green smoothie, something sweet and creamy or packed with tropical flavors, the Original, Chocolate and Strawberry Bananamilk varieties are packed with real ingredients and won’t leave you with a sugar crash.
2. Turn flavor into function. Make your smoothie as efficient as you are. Multitask with ingredients to provide your body with all it needs without adding excess calories. Blend in a scoop of collagen for better skin or a dash of turmeric to decrease inflammation. Also consider adding extra fiber, which takes longer for your body to digest, making you feel full longer and on fewer calories. Functional foods can help fill in nutritional gaps of your diet while pairing added benefits.
3. Incorporate a dairy-free base. Over 65 percent of the population experiences a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy, so if you’re experiencing unexplained bloating after meals, it’s possible that dairy could be the culprit. Daiya, the tasty brand known for creating plant-based versions of favorite comfort foods, now offers delicious dairy-free yogurt cups in fruit flavors, like strawberry, peach and more. These yogurt cups are made with coconut cream, are low in sugar and pack in a healthy dose of B12, calcium and 6 grams of protein per serving. Plus, the coconut cream provides a satisfying creamy texture without the discomforts associated with dairy.
4. Plan ahead. Let’s face it, busy lives require time-saving measures, and making smoothies is no exception. Prep smoothie packets the night before or, even better, for the week ahead. It just takes a few minutes to portion out the right amount of fruits and veggies, throw them in a baggie and into the freezer. Measuring the night before also ensures you don’t overindulge in the morning rush, plus you won’t have to add ice cubes, which lets you pack in more antioxidants while simplifying the process.