Nutrient Dense Must Add Foods For Your Breakfast Smoothie
The Breakfast Smoothie Facts!
By now, you are probably aware of the importance of the first meal of your day and its ability to revitalize your body after your workout. However, in today’s fast-paced world, getting all the nutrients your body requires can be difficult.
Enter the nutrient dense and delicious breakfast smoothie! A breakfast smoothie can be easily personalized with all sorts of fruits and vegetables and in a matter of seconds, can provide you with all the vitamins and minerals your body needs to start your day right.
Now you may find that a breakfast smoothie won’t leave you feeling satiated over the course of the entire morning, especially if you aren’t adding in the right ingredients. You can’t just add-in protein powder, and frozen berries then expect to feel full. A nutritionally balanced smoothie requires healthy fats and fibre to help to stop the mid-morning munchies.
In today’s day and age of convenience, frozen fruit is easy and affordable. Frozen fruit helps, not only with taste but consistency, reducing the need for ice when making an outstanding smoothie. Other items can contribute to creating a healthy smoothie such as avocado and chia seeds.
What to Add to Your Breakfast Smoothie for Texture and Nutritional Value
Avocados will give your breakfast smoothie extra thickness and a silky smooth texture. Avocados are a fruit with 71 to 88% of their calories coming from healthy fat. In an average serving approximately 5 g of the fat will be monounsaturated, which is a healthy fat, while another 1 g is from polyunsaturated fat. Monounsaturated fat helps decrease the risk for breast cancer, reduces cholesterol levels, lower risk for heart disease and stroke and helps with weight loss. Avocados are a full and healthy fat which leaves you feeling fuller longer.
There are a multitude of nut butters including cashew, almond, macadamia nut, and many more that are available in your local grocery store and farmer’s market. Nut butters contain a number of important nutrients, including protein, healthy fats, fibre, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals depending on the particular nut. According to the Mayo Clinic, nuts help improve cholesterol levels because many of them are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. However, keep in mind if you eat too many nuts they will cause weight gain. Nut Butter also adds flavour, creates texture and has some fibre which also helps to decrease hunger.
Hemp seeds have 8 or more grams of fibre per serving and 13-20 grams of protein depending on the brand and type you choose. Hemp is also an excellent source of magnesium to support blood sugar levels, helps with muscle recovery, and boosts mood due to the omega-3 fats it contains. While hemp does have many nutritional benefits, there are two things that you should keep in mind when adding it to your diet. Hemp seeds are about 45 percent fat, and two tablespoons contains around 9 grams of fat and 100 calories. Calories can add up if you start adding too many of them to your smoothie. Despite hemp protein’s diverse amino acid profile, it has only 0.6 g of leucine per 15 g protein, so don’t rely on hemp to provide your protein base.
Kale is one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. This green leafy vegetable has only 33 calories per 2.5-ounce serving. Kale is known to be an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese, copper, vitamin B6, fibre, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin B2; and a good source of iron, magnesium vitamin B1, omega-3 fats, phosphorus, protein, folate, and vitamin B3.The health benefits of kale include detoxification, heart support, cancer prevention and with fruit or lemon juice, is surprisingly good in a smoothie.
Flaxseed is high in fibre and omega-3 fatty acids and can help keep your cholesterol levels in a healthy range. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, known as “good fats”, have been shown to have a healthy effect on the heart. One tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of omega-3s. Flaxseed also has lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains more lignans than other plant sources. Flaxseed contains both the soluble and insoluble fibre. Ground flaxseed is easily absorbed and is commonly used to help with constipation; so watch how much you intake or you can just imagine what happens if you eat too much of it.
Chia Seeds have antioxidants and fatty acids that are linked to healthy cholesterol levels and good heart health. Chia’s health benefits include healthy omega-3 fatty acids, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, antioxidants, and calcium. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contains 139 calories, 4 grams of protein, 9 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrates and 11 grams of fibre. They also add texture and a nutty flavour to your smoothie. Don’t use more than a tablespoon or so, or you’ll end up with a thick jelly substance.
Berries are an integral part of many smoothie recipes because they are low in calories and high in antioxidants and fibre; they are the super foods of the fruit world. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, called anthocyanins, which help keep your memory sharp as you age, and raspberries contain ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. They also help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease. All berries are great sources of fibre which is important for a healthy digestive system.
Pumpkin has many advantages including being high in fibre. It has a delicious smooth flavour and helps with creating a thicker consistency for the smoothie. Two tablespoons will give you 4 grams of fibre and has trace amounts of starch, so it is easy to digest. Pumpkin is also an excellent source of iron, potassium, and has a high water content which provides optimal support for energy and electrolyte levels. The fibre, potassium, and vitamin C content in pumpkin support heart health.
Consuming carbohydrates and protein after an intense workout refuels your muscles so you don’t have undue fatigue during your next workout. Oatmeal can increase both the carbohydrate and protein content in your smoothie. Add a 1/4 cup of raw oats to increase the protein content of your shake by 3 grams. Oats are a source of B vitamins, including thiamine, niacin and riboflavin. They also increase your iron, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium content in the smoothie. Oatmeal contains traces of the minerals copper, zinc, manganese and selenium. Many people add raw rolled oats to their smoothie when they have a high power blender to thicken it. You can add cooked, cooled oatmeal to your smoothie if you prefer if you don’t like the texture of dry oatmeal.
Nutrition – An Important Part of Any Pre- And Post-Workout Plan
Nutrition is an important part of any pre- and post-workout plan. It can’t be said too many times that 75 – 80 % of achieving your goals is what happens in the kitchen. Your body needs extra, high quality nutrients to offset the physical stress of exercise and to help grow. Smoothies are a quick, efficient and delicious way to get all of the extra nutrients your body needs!
Cathie Glennon – BCRPA/SFL, Rehabilitation Specialist.
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