It's mid-morning, and you are down a glass of juice to tide off your hunger till lunchtime. A few minutes in, you feel yourself becoming ravenous again… Sounds familiar?
That's because juices are devoid of fibre from the fruit but have the carbs (sugar) which can shoot your blood sugar levels up, only to bring it down again super fast as the insulin hormone begins its work (thus leaving you with an almost uncontrollable hunger).
Solution? Try smoothies.
A smoothie is a thick, smooth drink usually made of fresh fruit pureed with milk, yogurt or ice-cream. But why is it a better bet?
Drinking smoothies is one of the easiest way to add some fruit to your diet. It is also a great option when you are on the go and don't have time, as it is much better to have a smoothie than filling yourself with junk or unhealthy options.
Make It More Virtuous
Smoothies are a satisfyingly quick way to get nutrients into your body, but only when you choose the ingredients carefully and make it right. Here are some simple tips to help you make your perfect smoothie:
Pick fruits with a low glycemic index, like apples and pears.
Choose a green leafy vegetable as the base. Spinach usually works well, and pairs up well with banana, dairy or almond milk. A good ratio to follow is 7:3 (70% veggie and 30% fruit).
To have an extra shot of protein, instead of milk or yoghurt, opt for Greek yogurt, which has a higher protein content.
Add a beetroot, as it is high in fibre and vitamin A, and also adds a wonderful texture and taste to your drink.
Add amla, as it is a great way of getting loads of vitamin C. Just grate some in every smoothie you make.
Add the following seeds: chia, pumpkin, flaxseeds to the smoothie, for a boost of fibre.
If you are lactose intolerant, go for soy milk; its smooth texture works best for smoothies, or opt for coconut yogurt as that is a perfect dairy-free alternative and is packed with fiber.
Make It Diet-Friendly
Even though smoothies sound like a dieter's dream, they can very easily go wrong when you begin to make them decadent and rich.
Keep it simple and resist the temptation of adding too many ingredients.
Steer clear of the known diet offenders: ice cream, humongous amounts of sugar, cream, chocolate, peanut butter, coconut milk, etc, which are high in fat and calories.
Opt for low-fat yogurt and milk, or opt for juice as base; sherbets and sorbets can also help keep the fat content down.
Keep it low on sweets. Fruit like bananas, citrus fruits, berries and peaches will add enough natural sweetness.
Looking to detox? Use a combination of berries with ginger. The berries turn on detoxifying enzymes and ginger stimulates the digestion in the body.
Don't Forget To Add These Too!
Flaxseeds: to score omega 3
Spirulina: to boost protein and EFAs (essential fatty acids)
Wheatgrass: to score vitamins (A, C, E) and to detoxify the body
Wheat bran: to boost fibre content and vitamin B complex
Sesame seeds: to boost calcium and trace minerals like copper, zinc, and selenium
Almonds and peanuts: for lots of iron and vitamin E
Coconut flakes: to score medium-chain triglycerides that provide a stable source of fuel for your brain and boost memory.
Finally, Stay Prepared
If you're not prepared, making a smoothie can turn into a big hassle. So make DIY smoothie packs: Prep all the fruits and greens you use in your smoothies, and freeze individual serving sizes in freezer bags. Making a smoothie will be easier this way.
(Kavita Devgan is a nutritionist, weight management consultant, and health writer based in Delhi. She is the author of The Don't Diet Plan: A no-nonsense guide to weight loss, Fix it with Food, Ultimate Grandmother Hacks, and Don’t Diet! 50 Habits of Thin People.)