Imagine taking a bite of carrot cake. Now imagine it being good for you too. That's what this carrot cake smoothie is all about. It combines your favorite carrot cake flavors and spices, but made healthy enough to enjoy any time of day! It's naturally sweet from frozen bananas, fresh carrots and a touch of applesauce and luscious and creamy with a slight tang from plant-based Greek yogurt and milk. Ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon add that familiar carrot cake flavor. And how could we ignore that beautiful orange color? It's a reminder that spring is just around the corner!
Are Smoothies Really Healthy?
From a nutritional standpoint, I prefer smoothies over juicing. Juicing removes a critical component from fruits and vegetables, the fiber. As we are finding out, fiber plays a critical role in supporting a healthy gut and immune system. So we should generally not pass up any opportunities to benefit from it whenever we can. Fiber also helps regulate the body's response to rising blood sugar, so there is no need to worry about the natural sugar present in the fruit itself.
Having said that, the health benefits of smoothies obviously depend on what they're made of.
Some smoothies, like ones you might buy in coffee shops or chain restaurants for example, can be loaded with sugar and fat (especially if they are made with full fat dairy like milk, ice creams or yogurts). Many times they'll also add additional sugar, using juices, syrups and sweeteners. You think you're doing something good for your body, when in fact you are just getting a nutrient poor drink loaded with sugar and fat.
But, it's definitely possible to make a nutritious smoothie, especially when you follow some of these tips below.
How To Make A More Nutritious Smoothie
The best smoothies are the ones you make at home where you can control the ingredients. The sky is the limit when it comes to delicious combinations.
To make a nutritionally packed smoothie, don't just think fruit. Using vegetables, like I did in this week's carrot cake smoothie recipe, is a great way to get the nutrients we may be lacking from our regular diet. Other great veggies to use in smoothies are cooked beets, avocado, spinach, kale, zucchini, cucumbers and cauliflower. Check out this link for more veggie packed smoothie recipes.
Using different types of nuts and seeds like chia, flax, almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts, can help us meet our omega-3 fatty acid requirements. Replacing dairy with unsweetened plant-based milks and yogurts is also a great way to cut back on saturated fat and added sugar (I personally love Kite Hill's Greek style yogurt). Using nutrient fiber packed sources of sweeteners like dates, frozen bananas or applesauce can provide a natural sweetness without going overboard.
Smoothies can also be great vessel to get in a quick dose of protein. Adding protein from nut butters, yogurt, silken tofu, or even protein powders can help you meet any additional requirements, such as after workouts.
If you like this recipe you may also enjoy this Chocolate Pumpkin Pie Smoothie.
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This post was not sponsored. All opinions are my own.
Carrot Cake Smoothie
- high powered blender
- 1 cup frozen bananas
- 1 carrot medium to large size, roughly chopped
- 5 oz plain unsweetened greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon applesauce you can also sub in a small pitted date if you don't have applesauce
- ¼ cup almond milk or favorite plant based milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender.
- Blend until smooth.
- Adjust with additional spices as desired.