Gluten Free Man tells me that I have a magical 20 minute window in the day when I am up for going swimming. If I miss this opportunity - forget it – there is no way I am getting to the pool. I think he exaggerates somewhat. However, it is true I like to swim on a morning, on an empty stomach, but before hunger starts to bite and my energy slumps. So I have very definite ideas on what makes for a good swim.
When I’ve stayed in bed that little bit too long, when I can feel that 20 minute window closing, when I know that I’m going to be starving the second I get out of the pool, smoothies are a perfect breakfast solution. Throw a bunch of ingredients into a blender, blitz, transfer to my drink bottle and I’m ready to go.
If Instagram is any benchmark I’m not the only smoothie fan. Pictures of vibrant, rainbow coloured smoothies and smoothie bowls topped with all kinds of interesting additions attract plenty of likes on social media. However, if like me you are using a smoothie as a meal replacement, there are some things you should bear in mind.
Portion Size: What would you normally eat for breakfast? Is it a similar quantity to the contents of your blender or have you just blitzed up two bananas and a full punnet of strawberries with a couple of tablespoons of coconut oil? Its very easy to blitz a large amount of ingredients into what seems like a reasonable size glass but that doesn’t mean you should. I satisfy myself that I would be happy with my ingredients being served up to me on a plate and use plant milk or water to get my smoothie to my preferred consistency.
Balance: I think about which items in my smoothie are going to keep me satisfied until lunch. That may include complex carbohydrates which release their energy more slowly but it will also include protein and fats. Today that’s a spoonful of nut butter and a handful of oats. Tomorrow it might be protein powder and avocado.
Flavour: Food is all about flavour for me. I want to savour and enjoy what I’m eating. Likewise I don’t want to drink some dreadful tasting sludge because its packed with nutrients and superfoods. I have a number of different smoothie recipes that I enjoy. I get variety by having these on rotation rather than throwing everything into a glass at once. I don’t always add vegetables to smoothies. I eat plenty of vegetables in my other meals. If you’re not a fan of the leafy greens then a smoothie is a good way to up your veg count but balance the flavour with cinnamon, vanilla or blueberries (rather than dates or syrup to mask any bitter taste).
Chew: I started this post by talking about the smoothie as a perfect breakfast when you are in a rush – this doesn’t mean it should be treated as breakfast on the run. To allow your body to properly digest any meal, and to get the most of all those nutrients you have just ingested, you should take your time. So find a moment of calm, less gulping and more enjoyment of those flavours!
I'm Kim Adams, founder of SAVI Nutrition. A Nutritional Therapist who is passionate about healthy, tasty food. Here I share with you my thoughts on food and health alongside a few of my favourite recipes.