As some of you may know, I’m a nutrition educator in addition to being a personal trainer. I teach at a pretty large non-profit in Harlem, NYC. My students are always asking for good smoothie recipes and such. Most of the time I oblige and tell them what flavors taste well, what veggies I find that add a little kick to a smoothie but it got me thinking about all those times I’d made smoothies without giving any thought to its potential nutritional impact. A smoothie can just be a quick jolt of sugar and vitamins or we can make it into a meal by including all three macronutrients in the mix. This is especially important for people who intend to use smoothies as a meal replacement. You have to make sure that your body is still getting the nutrients it needs.
First, let’s take a look at the word macro+nutrient. The ‘macro’ part means big. The ‘nutrient’ is a food or other substance that provides energy or building material for survival. There are three macro-nutrient groups:
Carbohydrates 225-325 grams per day (largest group)
Protein 46-56 grams per day
Fat 44-78 grams per day
Today I challenged my students to create their own smoothie recipe using ingredients I provided that encompassed all three macro groups. They could choose two carbs, a protein source and a fat source. It was interesting to research this topic for which ingredients would accommodate each category and to see how students would react to my curve ball ingredients (insert evil teacher laugh). Here’s what they had to choose from:
Carbohydrates: Apples, bananas, strawberries, pears, whole oats
Protein: Greek yogurt, silken tofu and peanut butter
Fat: Avocado and flaxseed
Of course these ingredients aren’t made up completely of any one macronutrient but they each provide a large amount of nutritional value in their respective categories. The recipes my students came up with were quite interesting to say the very least. They could choose from almond milk and pineapple juice to blend their ingredients. Have you ever tasted pineapples and peanut butter? It was a struggle! It was, however, great to watch them work to balance their smoothies, picking up certain ingredients, contemplating and opting for another. I was very satisfied with their excitement during this lesson.
Enough about them, though! Do you balance your smoothies? Do you drink smoothies as a meal replacement or just a quick way to get your fruit and veggies for the day? Got any super tasty, balanced smoothie recipes? Do share! My favorite is spinach, banana, oats, flax seed, pear, peanut butter, honey and almond milk. Please don’t knock it ’til you try it!