When it comes to meals on the go it doesn’t get much easier than smoothies. The right smoothie can serve as a complete meal replacement, and you can even use meal prep techniques to create savvy shortcuts, so you can get out the door both quickly and healthfully.
To craft a smoothie that mimics a meal, be sure to include veggies. One of the easiest and most nutritious is a generous handful of ready-to-eat bagged kale. Next, choose a protein source. If you dislike protein powders, opt for almond flour, which is a pulverized form of this whole plant food. A quarter cup provides 8 grams of protein, and an almost equivalent amount of heart healthy fat. Next up is fruit. I like to use a combination of frozen blueberries and a few pre-soaked dates. Dates provide natural sweetness, bundled with antioxidants, fiber, and key nutrients, like potassium, which supports healthy blood pressure and heart function, muscle contractions, prevents muscle cramps, and helps maintain muscle mass.
Here’s a smart smoothie trick. The pigments in greens and berries are both beautiful on their own, but they tend to clash when combined, to create an unappetizing, dull color. To brighten up your smoothie, add a peeled raw baby beet. Beet pigments overpower greens, which results in a bright, gorgeous hue. Fresh beets also add bonus nutrients, including folate, which is needed for healing and mental health, and magnesium, which improves mood and sleep. Finally, sprinkle in some all natural, anti-inflammatory seasonings, like fresh ginger root and a combo of ground turmeric and black pepper. Now your smoothie contains all of the puzzle pieces found in a well, balanced meal. The result: a quick and simple dish you can take with you and easily sip, that will leave you feeling full, satisfied, and energized for hours.
To plan ahead, take some time on the weekend to create smoothie kits. Gather about five freezer safe containers. If you crave variety, mimic the above formula to create mix and match combinations that include different foods from the same food groups. For example, instead of blueberries use frozen cherries, banana, or a chopped green apple, choose collard greens in place of kale, chickpea flour or sprouted pumpkin seeds instead of almond flour, cinnamon rather than ginger, etc. Fill each container with all of the ingredients that go into one smoothie except for the liquid. Seal and stash in the freezer. When you’re ready, simply grab a container, transfer the contents into your blender, add water or nut milk, blend, and you’re ready to go!
A smoothie can replace breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And pre-prepping the ingredients in advance is a savvy way to ensure that in a pinch you’ll have a healthy, well-balanced meal in your hands in mere minutes. Give it a try, and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear about your favorite combinations, and how smoothie meals make you feel!
Find the recipe for Cynthia’s Make Ahead Superfood Meal Replacement Smoothie HERE!