Smoothies are great because you can get lots of protein, fiber, and healthy fats all in one glass! Plus, you can throw in leftover fruits and veggies to get even more nutrients, all while cleaning out the fridge! Score! I concocted this delicious smoothie in honor of Chocolate Covered Katie’s Hug a Fat Month, which aims to get people to love some fats, rather than fearing them all. I actually consider myself quite the expert on the subject of healthy fats, because I recently wrote a 2,000 word article on the history of fats (oooOooo) and the difference between all the various types. To contribute to Katie’s goal of spreading some fat love, I thought I’d share my knowledge with you and explain why avocados are my favorite way to get a healthy dose of necessary fats!
The facts behind healthy fats.
Fats are actually an integral part of our body’s ability to function properly. They provide energy, construct cell membranes, aid in producing some hormones and allow vitamins A, D, E and K to absorb as completely as possible. There’s even evidence suggesting that these healthy fats can aid in heart health and overall cardiovascular function. From best to worst, here’s what you need to know about fat!
Monounsaturated fat: These are often found in natural sources like veggies, nuts, seeds, and fish. They’re the fats people get obsessed over when they talk about a Mediterranean diet! These fats can help absorb vitamins, reduce blood pressure, and raise good (HDL) cholesterol levels.
Polyunsaturated fat: This type of fat can’t be manufactured by our bodies, so you have to get it through foods like salmon, flaxseeds, walnuts, and canola oil. They’re known for their superpowers like preventing, and possibly treating, stroke and heart disease.
Saturated fat: This fat isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. Throughout the 20th century, saturated fats were thought to be our worst enemy. Current research shows saturated fats aren’t that bad, as long as you eat them in moderation. This type of fat is found in red meat, whole-milk dairy products, cheese, and all those deliciously processed baked goods. They’re known to spike total cholesterol levels, but limiting your intake to between 5-6% of your calories each day, or 13 g, likely won’t do your body any harm.
Trans fat: This is the bad guy in the fat world, and for good reason. Trans fats are manufactured with the intent of increasing the shelf lives of foods. It masquerades as “partially hydrogenated oil” on food labels and can increase bad (LDL) cholesterol, stimulate inflammation, and increase the risk of heart disease. Fun fact though: a dude named Paul Sabatier actually won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1912 for developing the process that makes trans fats possible!
Now that you have a nice background on why you should give your body some loving fats, let’s get down to smoothie making!
What you need (makes one 16-oz. serving):
- 1 medium avocado (3.5 oz, peeled and seeded)
- 1 banana
- About 1/2 cup blackberries
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 serving plain or vanilla protein powder (check out Naked Nutrition’s for a one ingredient option!)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp acai berry powder or spirulina, optional
What to do:
- Roughly chop the avocado and banana.
- Add everything to a blender and flip it on until everything is mixed.
- Pour into a glass and enjoy!
This is a great recipe for the oh-so-popular “smoothie bowl.” It’s super thick, so if you enjoy scooping your smoothies instead of drinking them, poor it in a bowl and dig in!
Nutrition Info: 500 calories, 41 g protein, 58 g carbs, 32 g fiber (whoa!), 27 g sugar, 17 g fat, 4 g cholesterol, 115 mg sodium Bonus: 1,863 mg potassium—over half the daily recommended value!