Healthy Drinks

answer is the often vague and elusive response that is elicited by so many nutrition questions: it depends.

A smoothie is only as good – or bad – as what’s in it.

Smoothies can be an easy and taste bud-friendly way for kids and adults to up their servings of fruits and vegetables. They offer a quick way to fill up on quality nutrient-rich ingredients.

However, they can also be full of sugars and not actually carry that much of a fruit and veggie punch. Chances are if you are buying pre-made smoothies, they are falling into the latter category. Frozen smoothie packs and store-bought smoothies often contain ingredients such as frozen yogurt or fruit juice.

The trick to a healthy, convenient smoothie is to stick with whole food ingredients that support whole-body wellness. Don’t get stuck in a milk-fruit-yogurt rut. Add leafy greens, – baby spinach has an indiscernible taste and texture – try a savoury all-vegetable blend, or try fruits and vegetables beyond berries and bananas.

Digestion begins in the mouth with an amylase, an enzyme in our saliva that breaks down carbohydrates. Rather than gulp your smoothie back, take the time to feign chewing it. This will give you a chance to savour the flavours while amylase begins the digestion process.

Happy Green Veggie Smoothie

1 handful spinach

2 medium tomatoes, quartered

3″ long piece of cucumber

pinch of cayenne pepper to taste

Optional: add a quarter of an avocado for a creamier consistency

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

½ cup pumpkin puree (not the kind made for pie – just straight pumpkin)

2 medium carrots or 1 large carrot, chopped

2 empire apples, cored

1″ cube ginger, peeled

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp nutmeg

water to achieve your favourite drinking consistency

Chia tea

Chia seeds are tiny black or white (depending on the variety) seeds cultivated in South America. These seeds are loaded with fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. While it doesn’t take many to enjoy the health benefits, it can be a challenge to incorporate a sufficient quantity into your diet. An easy way to have two to four tablespoons a day is through chia tea.

When chia seeds are added to liquid, they bulk up and form a gel-like coating. In a small amount of liquid, they have a thickening effect. In a glass of liquid, however, they don’t affect the overall texture of the drink.

Make a strong brew of your favourite fruity herbal tea and let it cool. Add two tablespoons of chia seeds to 500 mL of tea in a Mason jar or water bottle. At first they will float on top. Give it a good shake and then allow them to sit and gel. Once the seeds have expanded, shake again to distribute them more evenly. Chill in the fridge, or drink right away. If you feel like there are too many chia seeds, simply add more tea. Or, if you want more, just add more seeds and give them time to gel before enjoying.

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