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Posted on 2/20/2016 by Keith Knittel
In this article, I'd like to share with you my personal steps I used to integrate smoothies into my diet. This article wont be about recipes or a specific diet, but it's a "high level" overview of the steps I took when getting into blending.
Depending on how many calories I'm trying to put into my body, I found it difficult to get my proper amount of nutrients when I was on the go. Making smoothies to take with you is great, but sometimes it's not that simple. Making the same smoothie over and over is a good way to burn out quickly, and thats what I did. To help myself get back on track, I tried a lot of new recipes and broke the overall process into 4 steps. Discovery, Gathering, Planning and Execution.
The core of transitioning into a healthy diet is building on the foundation of what your taste buds already like. Eating clean shouldn’t be a chore, it’s a reward to your body. Find out what you love to eat and try mixing them together until you find a recipe that you fall in love with. Recipes online are a great starting point, but take some of them with a grain of salt.. everyones taste buds are different and there is no “one recipe fits all” out there, but they are very good resource to start with.
Once your comfortable with your ingredients, try something new. Certain ingredients interact with other ingredients in ways that might surprise you. If you want to add more kale to your diet but don’t prefer the taste, start small and see which other ingredients you like adding with kale. (My favorites with kale are bananas and anything vanilla! Vanilla whey protein, vanilla greek yogurt, etc.)
The discovery phase is all about finding out what you do and do not like. You’re eventually going to make something that you don’t like. We’ve all been there. Treat it as a learning experience and keep an open mind. Congratulations, now you know what you don’t like!
I was talking to a reddit user who has recently switched a few ingredients in their go-to smoothie and noticed it no longer tasted good to them. They thought it tasted bitter and unpleasant. While their ingredients weren’t expired and they weren’t adding bitter ingredients to their recipe, the reduction of sweetening ingredients made their smoothie taste bitter to them. Sometimes it’s not what ingredients you add, it’s about which ingredients you remove- which is another thing to consider when your experimenting with your recipes.
Notice this step is after the ‘discovery’ phase. Sometimes ingredients you think you'll love, turn out to taste differently when added to other ingredients. No need to buy ingredients in bulk that you won’t need! Keep in mind, some of the ingredients keep for longer than others, and you can buy in bulk more easily (flac seed, almonds, etc), while fresh fruits perish within a week. When shopping, I tend to buy ingredients that will keep for a while in bulk to just lighten the load for later. Going to the store on a weekly to buy large amounts of your go-to fresh ingredients becomes cumbersome enough, why make things more difficult?
Containers to hold your smoothies often go overlooked. I quickly learned this after making enough smoothies for 2 days for myself- I needed 4 containers (covered in the next section). Then, I blended a batch of smoothies for my girlfriend too. 8 containers in the refrigerator?! Yes. 8 containers of delicious smoothies. It’s a beautiful sight.
I started out using bap-free plastic bottles with a large mouth for my smoothies, but I learned these take up a lot of room in a refrigerator. I tried buying smaller plastic containers, but the storage space benefit was marginal. I settled on buying a pack of Ball mason jars and using them for storage while I was able to drink my smoothies at home. I still used the wide mouth plastic containers for when I needed a smoothie on the go, but I only needed one or two larger plastic containers in the fridge instead of 6-8.
Playing off of your gathered ingredients for the week or so, you can begin planning your meals and building your diet. I like to eat my “heavier and sweeter” smoothies in the morning (the ones with oats and protein powder), and start to introduce more vegetables as the day goes on! If you're on a diet, taking into consideration what you need to eat when is easier when you have all the ingredients and containers to take your meals with you on the go.
This is the step where all of the discovering, gathering and planning payoff, when it's time for your meal and you can make exactly what you body needs and your taste buds prefer! When I knew what foods I liked when combined with other ingredients, making meals became less of a task, I began looking forward to it and actually craving them!