Should you be drinking smoothies for breakfast?
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Breakfast is complicated. What you eat in the morning probably comes down to whether or not you’re a morning person and how much time you have before rushing out the door.
In our humble opinion, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It’s important to eat something that fuels your body for the day and keeps your blood sugar under control so you don’t board the snack-all-day train. If you find yourself munching throughout the day with an almost insatiable appetite, it’s time to evaluate your breakfast situation.
Breakfast should consist of protein to keep us full and satisfied, healthy fat to fuel our brains and balance our blood sugar, complex carbs for energy, and fiber to slow down the digestion of those carbs. It’s amazing what a balanced breakfast can do to balance our blood sugar and calm down those hunger hormones throughout the day. You wouldn’t think that what you ate for breakfast would impact your food choices at 3:00 pm, but it does! Yay for science.
There are a number of things you can eat for a balanced first meal and we encourage you to switch it up and find what works for you. Smoothies are a favorite for breakfast because they’re an opportunity to pack loads of nutrition into your mornings and increase vegetable intake. Yes, we put veggies in our smoothies! They also make a great on-the-go option for those of us who have to take our breakfast on the road with us.
In addition to keeping us full for hours, the fiber in our smoothies keeps our digestive systems moving. Plus, they’re gentle on digestion because they’re already blended. It isn’t all rainbows and butterflies though - smoothies can really rack up in sugar, which can cause your blood sugar to spike only to crash a couple of hours later. Here is the formula we follow to build a balanced, nutrient dense smoothie that will keep us full until lunch:
Choose a milk for the base of your smoothie. We like to use an unsweetened creamy nut milk! Just beware of most store bought nut milks as they often contain added gums and fillers such as guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum, or xanthan gum. These are added in order to give the milk a creamy, consistent texture but they can cause digestive upset and bloating in some. You can make your own nut milk at home, which we will share with you at some point, or look for milks with simple ingredients.
Add fiber! Fiber will keep you full and slow digestion, helping to even out your blood sugar throughout the morning. We like chia and flax seeds because of their omega-3 fatty acid content. Research has found both of these seeds to have blood sugar lowering effects.
Get your greens! If you’re new to the idea of veggies in your smoothie, start with a handful of a mild green, like spinach. You can slowly work your way up to a few handfuls. With the right ingredients, you won’t even taste it! You can also slice, steam, and freeze zucchini or cauliflower and throw them into your smoothie. This makes them easier to digest. It sounds a little strange, but these make for the creamiest smoothies.
Add ¼ - ½ cup frozen fruit. We keep the amount of fruit in our smoothies minimal to prevent our blood sugar from spiking and keep us from dipping into the candy jar at work. The possibilities are endless with the wide variety of frozen fruit that is available at the grocery store.
Don’t fear fat! Adding 1-2 tbsp of healthy fats is great for balancing blood sugar and keeping you satiated until lunch. Plus, certain healthy fats allow us to reap the benefits of improved brain function and skin health. Certain vitamins, like the A, K, E, and D found in spinach and other veggies, are fat soluble. This means that we are increasing absorption of these nutrients by adding fat to a meal.
Choose a protein powder with minimal ingredients! We love Vital Proteins Collagen powder or Primal Kitchen's Collagen Fuel because the ingredients are clean and don’t leave us bloated like some other processed powders on the market can. If you don’t have protein powder, try adding in some plain greek yogurt, which is packed with protein and probiotics.
Worried about flavor? Use unsweetened milk and rely on cinnamon, fruit, and/or vanilla extract for flavor to avoid excess sugar. And trust us on the veggie part - once you add in everything else you won’t be able to taste them!