Harley Pasternak is a celebrity trainer and nutrition expert who has worked with stars from Halle Berry and Lady Gaga to Robert Pattinson and Robert Downey Jr. He’s also a New York Times best-selling author, with titles including The Body Reset Diet and The 5-Factor Diet. His new book 5 Pounds is out now. Tweet him @harleypasternak.
I love smoothies. That’s no secret — I based two whole books around them (The Body Reset Diet and The Body Reset Diet Cookbook). They’re the perfect way to have a filling, delicious meal filled with protein and fiber, with an infinite combo of ingredients. I love frozen fruit smoothies in particular, especially during this heat wave we’re going through!
You can also get a good portion of your daily fiber requirement in a smoothie, starting with berries and other fresh fruits, and a little healthy fat from almonds or avocado. And what could be easier that tossing a few items into a blender and with the press of a button transforming them into a satisfying, filling and delicious drink? With the right combination of ingredients, a smoothie can also be an integral component of your weight management strategy.
1. High Octane Protein
A great smoothie must not just tickle your taste buds, but also keep your energy on an even keel so you’re less likely to fall prey to the temptation of a sugary midmorning snack or overeating at lunch. Protein and fiber team up to create satiety. In fact, eating protein at breakfast has been proven to reduce food cravings and intake throughout the day. Protein powder is one way to go. Choose from dairy (whey or casein), egg white or vegetable (soy, pea or peanut) options. Or substitute plain, nonfat Greek yogurt or skyr (Icelandic yogurt, like Siggi’s). Skyr adds a pleasing smooth thickness and tons of protein to a smoothie.
2. Fruits & Veggies
Fruits and veggies are not only high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, but also provide us with much-needed fiber. In addition to all its gastrointestinal benefits, fiber fills you up, working hand in hand with protein to create satiety.
My favorite summer fruits are fresh (or frozen!) strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries at their flavorful peak. Their tiny seeds are fiber powerhouses, too!
I know you’re thinking: fruits are a smoothie no-brainer, but veggies?
We all know vegetables are a primary source of fiber, but fewer than 10 percent of Americans consume enough vegetables (and fruit). If you don’t always get enough veggies into your meals, slip a handful of spinach, kale, parsley, arugula or another leafy green into a smoothie for a great vanishing act. The fruit and/or berries mask the flavor and you get the benefit of all the great vitamins — and fiber — for which greens are renowned.
3. A Little Bit of the Right Fats
Healthy fat is an important component of any meal, and when you can get both fat and fiber from the same food, you’re in luck. Nuts and seeds supply good fats and fiber, and another strong contender in both realms is the avocado. A quarter of an avocado lends a lovely creaminess without overdoing the calories. Seeds and nuts are great sources of fiber, as well as good fats and protein. Flaxmeal is a particularly good source of omega-3 fats, but almonds, macadamias, walnuts and chia also make the grade in terms of both fiber and healthy fats. Avocado is a good source of oleic acid, a kind of monounsaturated fat that helps keep your skin looking good.
For smoothies to start your late summer mornings off right, try these recipes, and check out the blender I designed with Salton: The Harley Pasternak Power Blender, also available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s.
Sweet Spinach Smoothie
2 cups spinach leaves, packed
1 ripe pear, unpeeled, cored and chopped
15 green or red grapes
¾ cup Siggi’s skyr, plain (or plain nonfat Greek yogurt)
2 tbsp. chopped avocado
1-2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
½ cup water or nonfat milk
In a blender, combine the spinach, pear, grapes, yogurt, avocado and lime juice to taste. Blend until desired consistency.
Very Berry Smoothie
Note: Feel free to vary the berry with the season for this sweet treat. Nothing in season? Frozen berries work perfectly!
¾ cup fresh or frozen raspberries
¾ cup fresh or frozen cherries
½ – ¾ cup milk (almond or nonfat dairy)
1 orange, peeled
2 tbsp. vanilla or unflavored protein powder
In a blender, combine the ingredients. Blend until desired consistency.
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