When made correctly, smoothies are a great way to get a filling and nutrient dense meal. There are a few things every smoothie needs to have in order to pass the STAT Wellness test, which includes greens, protein, and fiber. The rest is up to you!
Before giving you the immune boosting recipe, I wanted to discuss some common pitfalls when making a smoothie.
Too much fruit or sugar:
Keep it REAL fruit, don’t use any fruit jams, fruit syrups, fruit juices or other sweetened fruit products. The natural sweetness of fruit is plenty. I recommend keeping fruit at 1-2 servings per smoothie; try asking yourself “would I sit down and eat this much fruit at one sitting”? For example, I have had people tell me they put a handful of mangos, pineapple, 5 strawberries, 1 banana, and half an apple in their smoothie. That is going to spike your blood sugar and leave you feeling hungry in a few hours.
When considering what is a “serving” of fruit, here are some references:
- Raspberries: 1 cup has 8 grams of fiber and about 64 calories
- Strawberries: 1 cup has 3 grams of fiber and about 49 calories
- Blueberries: 1 cup has 4 grams of fiber and about 84 calories
- Pineapple: 1 cup has 2.3 grams of fiber and about 82 calories
- Banana (7″) has 3.1 grams of fiber and and about 105 calories
- Apples (3″ diameter) has 4.4 grams of fiber and 95 calories
Not enough fiber to keep you full:
Fiber is crucial not only to keep you full longer, balance your blood sugar, aid in digestion, help with cholesterol elimination, but it is also a PREBIOTIC feeding the good bacteria in your gut. I recommend getting 30 grams of fiber per day (where the SAD or Standard American Diet only contains about 5-10 grams of fiber). Smoothies are easy ways to up your fiber but you want to start gradually if you aren’t used to that much fiber to prevent GI upset. Also remember the more fiber you consume the more water you need to drink to prevent constipation. Aim for at least 10 grams of fiber in your smoothie. As you saw above, fruit naturally has fiber with raspberries clearly being the winner but here are some other fiber additions that are easy to add to your smoothie.
- Ground flaxseed: 2 tbsp 4 grams of fiber
- Chia seeds: 1 tbsp 5 grams of fiber
- Acacia fiber: 1 tbsp 12 grams of fiber (1 tsp 3 grams)
- Organic Psyllium husk: 1 tbsp 12 grams of fiber (1 tsp 3 grams)
**warning these fibers will thicken your smoothie so make sure you drink it right a way or you will have a pudding**
Virtually no protein
Protein needs are different from person to person, but everyone needs some protein to help with lean muscle mass and satiety. You can get protein from whole food ingredients in your smoothies but sometimes adding a scoop of collagen or protein powder can be the easiest. See our guide below.
- Pumpkin seeds: 1/4 cup has 9 grams of protein (and 2 grams of fiber)
- Almond butter: 2 tbsp has 7 grams of protein (and 3 grams of fiber)
- Collagen: 2 scoops has 18 grams of protein (brands can vary)
- Hemp seeds: 3 tbsp has 10 grams of protein (and 12 grams of fiber)
- Plant based protein powder: we use Ora Organics with 21 grams of protein per serving
- Whey protein (if no issues with dairy): 1 scoop 20 grams of protein
Not enough veggies
I know it sounds weird to put a bunch of veggies in your smoothie but if you have a good blender you won’t even taste them; especially if you incorporate the veggies below:
- Baby kale
- Swiss chard
- Frozen cauliflower (makes it smooth and creamy)
Another great way to increase your greens is by adding a high quality alkalizing greens powder. We use the Easy Being Green by Ora Organics daily – try a scoop in your smoothie today.
NOW what you have all been waiting for, the perfect immune boosting smoothie.
Some of the key components we are looking for when building an immune boosting smoothie include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Fiber for gut health (after all 80% of our immune system stems from there)
Immune Boosting Recipe
- 1 cup kale (134% of your daily vitamin C)
- 1 scoop of pure acerola cherry powder (800% of your daily vitamin C)
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (20% of your daily zinc)
- 1 cup of frozen organic strawberries (134% of your vitamin C)
- 2 tsp acacia fiber (6 grams of fiber for gut health)
- 1-2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk (25% of daily vitamin D) depending on your thickness preference
- 1 large lemon squeezed
- 2 scoops of collagen for protein
Blend and enjoy!! This vitamin C and antioxidant rich smoothie will help boost your immune system today with all the stores running out of vitamin C supplements the pure acerola cherry powder is MUST have in your cabinet. If you don’t have the cherry powder, you can make the rest of the smoothie without it no problem.
Let us know what you think!
Looking for more individualized attention? Book a medical visit, health coaching, or nutrition/dietitian consult today.
In good health,
Kristin Oja, DNP, FNP-C, IFMCP
Founder of STAT Wellness