It can be a challenge to get a our recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals. Green smoothies have became very popular, packing in plenty of fruits and veggies into on portion, creating a super healthy drink.
In the eSports world, Optic Gaming’s Personal Trainer/Life Coach, Michael “Flamesword” Chaves is a huge advocate of green smoothies for himself and the team. He prefers to have them for breakfast as a great start to the day. Green smoothies are a perfect meal or drink to have on your desk while gaming.
There isn’t a “perfect” smoothie out there, we all have different goals, needs and preferences. But we can go through the different options you have to put in a smoothie, which are more beneficial, and what should be avoided.
Your smoothies should have a varied amount of colours. Different colours will contain different vitamins. The dark green vegetables like Kale and Spinach will contain plenty of Vitamin A,C, K. Both of these are great for you and should be included. These dark green veggies are better than their lighter counterparts as they have less water and more chlorophyll, which contains vitamins with multiple health benefits. In general, try to avoid the lighter greens like lettuce. These vegetables also contain plenty of fibre, which aids in digestion.
Orange vegetables, like carrots, are also recommended. Carrots help maintain eyesight, as well as including potassium, B Vitamins and anti oxidants. Other orange vegetables suited to a smoothie include pumpkin and butternut squash.
Red vegetables get their colour from Lycopene, known for its cancer fighting properties. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C, copper, potassium and manganese.
Fruits are generally very healthy. You do need to be wary of sugar though. The fruits that taste sweeter (such as bananas, or strawberries) will have higher levels of sugar.
In Flamesword’s smoothie, he uses two bananas. This is nearly 30 grams of sugar, 6 teaspoons, comparable to a can of Coke! We need to be careful with which fruit we use. Generally, the sweeter fruits have higher amounts of sugar (such as grapes, bananas) but it’s nice to add a small amount in for taste.
As with vegetables, keep it varied. Fruits, such as avocados contain healthy fats, and are encouraged to be added. Follow the link for a good guide to fruits ranked by their nutrition. In general, try not to go above 20 grams of sugar in a smoothie.
As well as being great for muscle development, protein fills you up too, so you don’t feel the urge to eat more later. Avoid the high sugar, sweetened whey protein shakes. I recommend raw, organic or vegan protein shakes, such as Sunwarrior Proten Blend.
Flamesword added Peanut Butter. I prefer to stay from this due to the unneeded extra calories, though his powder substitute is perfectly fine to include.
You can never go wrong with water. How much water you use depends on how large you need your serving to be. If you do want to add a creamy base, go for unsweetened almond milk, the key word being unsweetened! This has much less sugar than the sweetened version and milk.
This is the process I go through in creating my smoothie
-Put some water into the blender for the base
-Cut up vegetables, 2 handfuls of Kale/Spinach, 1 carrot, ginger. 1 small tomato.
-Blend thoroughly to remove chunks
-The healthiest fruits. 1 avocado, a handful of the healthier berries (black, raspberry and blueberry)
-Small handful of a higher sugar fruit as a sweetener, I prefer strawberries or grapes
-Scoop of Sunwarrior Protein Blend
-Continue to blend until it is smooth. Add extra water if needed.
If storing in a refrigerator, consume the smoothie within 24 hours, as it will begin to lose its nutritional content after that. Store a smoothie in the freezer if you need to keep it for longer.
Do your research into other super foods you can add, there are plenty out there! But just watch out for rising calorie, sugar and fat levels as you add more ingredients.