Why You Should Drink Smoothies

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I could be just a bit biased, but I think smoothies are one of the greatest ideas ever.  Now, I am not talking about smoothies you buy at a Starbucks or a Smoothie King.  Those are just sugar-loaded desserts in a cup.

I am talking about smoothies you make yourself in your own kitchen.

I know it sounds like a fad.  You've seen websites touting smoothies for detox, weight loss, and every chronic condition you can think of.  But if you wanted to come up with a food or drink that would be healthy, loaded with vitamins and minerals, and still be delicious, you would be hard-pressed to come up with a better idea than a smoothie.  

Here are 5 reasons why homemade smoothies are fantastic for you.

1.  You control the ingredients.  Unlike the smoothies made at a commercial smoothie bar, you control exactly what goes into your smoothie.  And there is a whole world of possibilities at your fingertips.  Most fruits and vegetables are fair game.  You can mix up any combination that strikes your fancy (or that is in season at the farmer's market).  Use your liquid of choice - whether that is dairy, nut milks, yogurt, or just plain water.  You get to experiment and you are totally in control.

2.  Low or no added sugar.  Unlike commercial smoothies that are loaded with sugar, when you make a smoothie at home, you are in control of how much or how little sweetener you use.  You can go all natural, with nothing sweet at all, sweeten your smoothie with a banana or low glycemic index fruit or naturally sweet vegetables like beets or sweet potatos, or use a substitute like stevia.  It is all up to you.

3.  Smoothies are loaded with nutrition.  When you make a smoothie at home, you can load it up with fruits and vegetables that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.  Add protein and a healthy fat, and you have a high quality meal in a glass.

4.  Smoothies can be low in calories and high in fiber.  If you are trying to lose weight, low calorie high fiber foods are your friends.  They won't pack on the pounds, but they will help you to stay full for longer.  As long as you don't add high sugar foods like ice cream, you can be sure that the calories you are getting are healthy.

5.  Smoothies are easy to make.  As in, Super. Simple.  All you need is a blender.  Throw in a mix of fruits and vegetables.  Add liquid.  Add ice cubes.  Turn on the blender.  Quick and easy anytime of the day.  And refreshing.  Oh, did you make too much for one glass?  No problem - just freeze the rest into ice cube trays and then pack the cubes away in the freezer in baggies.  They are ready for a quick whirl in the blender on days when you are rushed to get out the door for work or school.

Here is my quick and easy go-to smoothie recipe for breakfast:

1 frozen banana (remove peel)

1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

1 handful of mixed power greens (spinach, chard, kale)

1 scoop grassfed whey protein

1 tbsp flax seeds

1 cup almond milk

5 ice cubes

Blend well.  Add a little water or almond milk if desired.  Bottoms up!