Smoothie Makeover with The Rungry Health Coach

I’m excited to welcome back my guest contributor, Beth Roessner, aka The Rungry Health Coach! Today Beth is sharing some tips on how to make your smoothies total nutritional powerhouses, instead of sugar and calorie bombs. You know I’m a big fan of smoothies (here’s my review of smoothie delivery service Green Blender, as well as a round up of 20 delicious smoothie recipes here) – I really like them for a small meal prior to running, to keep me fueled without that full feeling. They’re also amazing for sneaking in veggies, and Beth will give you lots of great advice on how to do that!

Be sure to check out Beth’s other guest posts for Fine Fit Day here:

In Defense of Grains

Pre- and Post-Run Nutrition Tips 

What Are Probiotics? And Why Do You Need Them?

5 Best Foods for Runners

Ready for a smoothie makeover? Check out Beth’s tips below!

Everybody loves a good smoothie. They’re delicious, fast and make great snacks and meals. They’re an easy way to ensure you’re getting in extra servings of fruits, veggies and healthy fats. For athletes, smoothies are particularly good because they’re pre-blended, meaning all the work of digestion is already done for you. This allows your body to spend more time healing your muscles and recovering, and less time on digesting food.

But, smoothies do have some drawbacks.

If you order a smoothie from a juice shop or diner, for example, they’re loaded with a variety of fruits and juices. Although fruit is incredibly healthy, it still contains large amounts of sugar. With so many fruits crammed into one smoothie, the drink becomes a sugar bomb. And many times, these smoothies don’t have much else in terms of protein or healthy fats.

But, by adding in different ingredients (items you may not have considered), you can easily increase the nutrition in any smoothie and reduce the sugar, without sacrificing flavor. Odds are, the tweaks outlined below will actually make your smoothie more enjoyable. Break out your blender…it’s time to get creative and go beyond the classic banana and peanut butter. (Although that’s a delicious combination.)

Smoothie Makeover with The Rungry Health Coach - tips on how to make your smoothie a nutritional powerhouse, not a sugar bomb!

  1. Change up your liquid. Instead of always using milk or water, try other liquids like coconut water (high in electrolytes!), green tea, herbal tea, or coffee. Stay away from juice, because it’s already loaded with extra sugars. The fruit is sweet enough.If you like thicker smoothies, decrease the liquid. If you prefer runnier smoothies, add more.
  2. Add vegetables. Neutral-tasting vegetables like frozen cauliflower or zucchini can easily be added to smoothies without adding additional taste. Instead, they add volume, which gives you more smoothie. (Score!) Beets are another great addition, and give the smoothie a beautiful hue. And, with the addition of vegetables, you can decrease the amount of fruit without sacrificing flavor. Cucumber, carrot and frozen green peas are also great add-ins. Never be afraid to pair your fruit smoothie with an additional vegetable.
  3. Don’t shy away from greens. We all know the benefits of eating greens, so don’t be afraid of adding them into your smoothies. Great additions include, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, lettuce, or spinach. You can even try fresh herbs like basil or mint. Greens are loaded with nutrients like calcium, Vitamin C and iron – all of which athletes need in their diet.
  4. Use fruit wisely. While bananas are delicious and a great carbohydrate source, try using other fruits. Berries are naturally low in sugar and are great for smoothies for this reason. Frozen watermelon cubes also give sweetness to any smoothie, including a chocolate smoothie.Other tasty options include mango, persimmon, pineapple, peaches…the list goes on. If you really want to get crazy, try swapping out fruit entirely and using frozen butternut squash, pumpkin or sweet potato.
  5. Pack it with protein. We need protein to strengthen our muscles and keep us running in tip-top shape. While protein powders make great additions to smoothies, try changing up the protein source. (Often protein powders have additional sweeteners and ingredients we don’t really need.) Great protein options include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt,, tofu, hemp seeds, chia seeds, peanut butter or other nut butters, black beans, chickpeas, quinoa and green peas.
  6. Fortify it with fat. Fats keep us satiated, meaning they keep us both energized and satisfied. We need fat to function, despite what 90’s fads made you think. Avocado is a great addition to smoothies because not only does it make a thick and luscious smoothie, it can also take the place of banana. Other great fats include nuts and nut butters, hemp seeds, chia seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut oil and coconut butter.
  7. Get funky with other flavors. For a spicy and anti-inflammatory punch, try the addition of ginger or turmeric. Cacao is high in anti-oxidant levels and gives any smoothie a rich, chocolatey taste. Other tasty options include fresh herbs, cinnamon, cardamom, chai-spice, oats and salt.

And when you’re drinking your smoothie, try to slow it down. It can be all too easy to drink it in one gulp. Take a sip and swish it around in your mouth until the temperature warms up. This not only slows you down, but also ensures you’re not shocking your system with an ice-cold smoothie.

If you’re like me and really enjoy chewing something, add toppings. Or make a small smoothie serving and pair it with something substantial to eat, like avocado toast or scrambled eggs. Then, you’re getting the best of both worlds – sweet and savory.

So the next time you start thinking about making that peanut butter and banana smoothie, try adding cauliflower, or zucchini, or spicing up your flavors, and use my tips to give your smoothie more of a nutritional punch.

The Rungry Health Coach - Smoothie MakeoverBeth Roessner is a one-time couch potato turned avid runner, triathlete and wellness warrior. Through her business, The Rungry Health Coach, she works with adults around the country to help them reach all of their wellness and running goals–from weight loss to boosting a runner’s mental game. She firmly believes that overall wellness is about small changes that help create sustainable habits. Beth lives in Washington DC, where she enjoys morning runs around the monuments, and eating a lot of vegetables.

If you’d like to connect with Beth, you can find her on The Rungry Health Coach, on Facebook and on Instagram.