The problem is most smoothies are a sugar bomb in disguise. The wrong mix can give you a hard crash.
Imagine how you would feel eating a whole banana, pounding an entire glass of apple juice, and then topping it off with a cup of berries then heading out the door.
Likely, you'd feel energy dips, mood swings, and all the negative side effects of too much sugar - even if it is natural.
Even worse, a sugar bomb like this is way too many unwanted calories. Again, even if it is from good stuff.
We breakdown how you can craft the perfect matcha smoothie for sustained energy. You'll get a balanced blend of nutrients that's good for the mind, body and metabolism.
If you're like us, you strive for healthy, whole food meals that follow a balanced plate:
- Clean protein sources.
- Plenty of nutrient dense greens.
- Quality carbohydrates.
- Good, healthy fats.
The good news is that we can use this same framework to build the perfect matcha smoothie for breakfast, lunch or post workout.
A balanced shake, just like a well portioned meal, will give you clear headed thinking, a sustainable feeling of fullness, and plenty of nutrients to fuel the body.
Include matcha, and you'll generate even more unstoppable natural energy to power through whatever comes your way.
The main points are that in order to build a better meal replacement smoothie, you'll need to start by choosing the right base, get ample protein, include healthy fats, load up on veggies, and keep fruit in moderation.
Let's get to crafting the perfect matcha smoothie....
Choose a base wisely. Every good shake starts with selecting the right base liquid to support your health and fitness goals.
Option 1: High quality nut milks, preferably brands that are cold pressed with minimal additives. Even better if the ingredient list excludes carrageenan and fortified calcium.
The best nut milks will have the shortest ingredient list.
Option 2: Filtered water is always an excellent choice - not only will it up your hydration status but you could add a small pinch of pink salt for extra minerals and natural electrolytes too. (this is great for pre or post workout!)
Option 3: Consider coconut water as a base if the shake falls around a training session. Naturally high in electrolytes, coconut water can help improve hydration status to help with workout performance and recovery.
But it does have some sugar. The naturally occurring sugar in coconut water is more readily burned as fuel when consumed around exercise.
Option 4: Good ole 100% coconut milk from a can. With zero additives, you don’t have to worry about synthetic vitamins, gums or stabilizers.
Keep in mind this option is slightly higher in fat content since it hasn’t been cut with water. You can easily dilute it yourself - 1/4 cup coconut milk with 1/2 cup filtered water is a delicious smoothie base that’s a good source of beneficial fats.
100% coconut milk gives you a certain type of healthy fat known as MCT’s or medium chain triglycerides.
These fats are more readily burned for fuel or energy by the brain and body, they have been shown to strengthen the integrity of the gut lining, and can even ramp up metabolism.
Option 5: Our personal favorite...you can use one can of Moontower Matcha for a tasty protein smoothie base. Loaded with antioxidants, chlorophyll, and mood enhancing theanine - choosing matcha tea as your base gives you the added boost of natural caffeine for even more energy.
It's perfect for breakfast smoothies or a pre-workout option. Just be sure to keep this matcha green tea smoothie base earlier in your day to avoid any sleep disturbances.
AVOID these options in your matcha smoothie.
Don't use fruit juice. Too often fruit smoothies are made with juice as the base liquid. This pseudo health move layers sugar on top of more sugar.
Don't take this the wrong way. Fruit is healthy. But for the sake of example, fruit juices are several apples condensed down into liquid. No fiber and no chewing.
Eating 1 apple is okay. But 3 of them in the blink of several sips - this amount of natural sugar is something that is far from a normal amount you could realistically eat in one sitting.
And if you’re focused on a predominantly whole foods diet, juice is likely not on your plating list anyways. It shouldn’t make the cut for smoothies either.
Another option worth avoiding is sweetened nut milks. If you’re at a smoothie shop, ask the question about how the nut milks are sweetened. Added sugar compounds quick.
Or specifically ask for an unsweet nut milk.
If you're including a naturally sweetened protein powder with some type of fruit, the added sugar in the nut milk isn’t necessary for sweetness anyways.
(If you choose Moontower Matcha Lightly Sweetened as your matcha smoothie base, you're all set! We use monk fruit for a naturally sweet taste and zero sugar.)
Get ample protein. Just how meals are focused around a protein source, the same principle can be applied to smoothies.
Protein keeps us feeling full, it’s crucial for metabolism, it's a must for muscle repair/recovery and it helps us make all our neurotransmitters for the brain.
Choose a protein powder from a brand you trust and be sure it’s naturally sweetened with stevia or monk fruit to avoid artificial sweeteners and added sugar.
Depending on your personal preference, food allergen concerns, and goals - good sources of protein can come from whey, collagen, or plant proteins like brown rice, pea, spirulina, sacha inchi, hemp and more.
Many brands include multiple plant proteins in one mix - or you can combine your own.
Other add-ins that can offer a protein boost include chia and hemp seeds.
Include healthy fats. The key to staying full between meals is making sure to have added fats, but fats also assist in the absorption of certain fat soluble nutrients - making sure you’ll get all the superfood goodness out of your favorite matcha smoothie.
Fats occur naturally in many of the foods we eat. Whether it's from whole food protein sources like eggs and dairy or foods like nuts and quinoa.
However, protein powders generally have most of the fats removed in order to concentrate the protein count. Adding healthy fats into your smoothie is a must when it comes to building the perfect shake.
This is because shakes are in liquid form and they're essentially pre-digested. The fats help slow the absorption of the shake to effectively prolong feelings of fullness.
This is good news for fighting off cravings for the supply of snacks in the break room or spanning the gap until dinner.
As mentioned above, if you use 100% canned coconut as a base, you don't need to add any additional fats. But coconut oil, coconut butter or pure MCT oil make excellent options as well.
Either of them will give you clean burning energy and prolonged satiety. All sources of fats from coconut are easily used by the body, provide gut-health benefits, and give you MCT's.
Other great fat choices include nut butters. The regulars like peanut butter, almond butter and cashew butter make solid choices. Or you can go exotic with walnut, pecan, macadamia, or sunflower seed options.
For coconut oil and nut butters, 1-2 tbsp can generally be an efficient serving size.
Avocado can also be used to boost good fats in a smoothie. And if you like your smoothies thick, this is a great option to achieve this texture goal.
For avocado, a portion ranges from about 1/4 to 1/2 of the fruit, depending on its size.
Additional ways to boost the fat content or up the variety of fats in a shake would be the addition of chia or hemp seeds or by simply adding a handful of your favorite whole nuts to the blender.
Up the greens. Going big on the greens is another crucial strategy to build a healthful meal. Just like a plate isn’t balanced unless it’s full of veggies, the same can be said for any true meal replacement shake.
Fiber slows digestion, and much like healthy fats, it will provide longer lasting feelings of fullness. The added bonus is you’ll be getting tons of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants along with it.
You can easily achieve your greens goals in a smoothie with two big heaping handfuls of spinach or kale for a delicious green smoothie. Bonus - you won't even taste it!
Other vegetables like pumpkin, carrots, or even frozen vegetables like cauliflower work well for adding more fiber while upping the nutrition in your smoothie recipe.
There won't even be any weirdness on flavor - especially when mixed with sweeter fruit options like berries.
THE MATCHA BONUS: if you're using a Moontower Matcha as your smoothie base, you're seriously going big on greens. No other single fruit or veggie on the planet has more antioxidants than matcha.
You'll get tons of phytonutrients found in plants in a highly concentrated dose. The dead giveaway is in matcha's vibrant green color!
Choose fruit wisely. The biggest mistake with smoothies is piling on too much fruit. While fruit is healthy, it also contains naturally occurring sugar.
We’ve already exposed the sweet ploy of starting with fruit juices, and these same places often start with sugary juice purees instead of fresh fruit.
…..but it’s also an issue when a smoothie uses five different types of fruit pieces all in one shake.
Let the plating framework lead the way once again - you wouldn’t eat 5 pieces of fruit in one sitting so why would you drink that much in a protein smoothie?
Stick with 1 piece or about 1 cup of fruit as a good starting point.
This could be 1 banana or 1 cup of berries - this can also be a mix of fruit that equals 1 serving in total. Think 1/2 frozen banana plus 1/2 cup frozen berries for a tasty combo.
Berries are always a good choice because they pack the most nutritional punch with minimal naturally occurring sugar.
Fruit will lend it’s naturally occurring sweetness to any smoothie, but if you’re looking to kick it up on the sweet factor, adding a couple dates as the fruit of choice can give you the extra boost accompanied by a good amount of nutrients and fiber.
Smoothie Add-Ins! The cool thing about smoothies is that the options are endless - especially when it comes to superfoods and spices.
Boost the nutritional content of your matcha smoothie with superfoods like turmeric, maca, bee pollen, cacao, reishi mushrooms, chlorella, wheat grass and more!
And if you didn't use Moontower Matcha for your superfood smoothie base, this is when you would add in your own ceremonial grade matcha green tea powder.
You can also raise the nutritional status with spices like cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, pink Himalayan salt, or nutmeg to name a few.
Not only will these add lots of flavor but in will improve the nutrient density of your energizing matcha super shake.
The right shake will give you plenty of nutrition, but also keep you feeling full, focused and fueled throughout your day! Here's our favorite recipe that hits all the nutrition high points discussed in this article:
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder of choice: whey, collagen, plant based or combo.
- 1 can Moontower Matcha Lightly Sweetened or Unsweetened
- 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1/2 frozen banana
- 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- optional: pink salt and cinnamon
Mix all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!