If you’ve been following along on my #TaslimGetsFit journey (mostly on IG Stories) you know that I’ve been moving a lot more these days. Mid-summer this year I realized just how sedentary my lifestyle was and I couldn’t recognize this woman who kept outgrowing her clothes! That was the worst part – looking in the mirror and not seeing me. Like, even past the body. I’m a strong woman. I admire speed and strength and flexibility, and I am quite capable of all of those things. But over the last few years I had let it all slide for one reason after another. The one important reason for getting back my strength – MYSELF – was forgotten. So, on August 1, I took the plunge and actually started a program of exercise and nutrition, and it has made all the difference! When the opportunity came up to interview Registered Dietician Andrea Holwegner, I grabbed it; I needed someone to demystify smoothies for me! One of my goals is to incorporate more of a variety of these in my diet, and Andrea is the gal who works with Jugo Juice to ensure their smoothies are as nutritious as possible.

The first thing I learned when talking to Andrea was that not all smoothies are created equal. The key to a healthy smoothie is to make sure there is no sugar added – the juices and fruits you use should be unsweetened. Jugo Juice rightfully boasts this about their product. Wherever you get your smoothies, you should ensure they can claim the same.

So, what do you put in a healthy smoothie (and still have it taste great?). Here’s a helpful chart of the anatomy of the perfect smoothie.

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Breaking Down My Smoothies

So, I’m not a big juice drinker. We never have juice in the house; the kids have some when we go out for dinner sometimes or of course, they chug back a juice box at a birthday party. So, I asked Andrea about leaving out the fruit juice. While this cuts back on the sweet taste of a smoothie, it’s perfectly fine to use an alternative like a milk. I prefer almond milk or oat milk and I’m happy to stick to that.

When it comes to fruits in my smoothies, I’m a standard one banana type of girl. But Andrea encouraged me to try some frozen berries as they would add froth and make the drink more of a shake. I do add ice in my shakes which has the same effect. But if I’m leaving out the fruit juice, then frozen fruit is a nice way to add some sweetness and of course, nutrition!

Oh God, then there’s the stuff that makes it all turn green. Kale. Spinach. If you look at #3 on the chart you see some healthy vegetables which I NEVER include. Scratch that. I had tried to put greens in my smoothies but my blender just didn’t quite pulverize it enough and I ended up chewing (and gagging on) the contents. So, of course, I didn’t try that again! However, I treated myself to a new Ninja last month for the sole purpose of making healthier smoothies…and it’s still in the box. Because I’m scared to blend spinach again.

“You have to try the Mighty Kale,” Andrea encouraged. “It’s one of our most popular smoothies.” Was she kidding? I had to find out for myself so after my Zumba class on Saturday I made my way to a nearby Jugo Juice and walked right up to the counter.

“I was told to try the Mighty Kale,” I said, not sounding as sure as I tried to appear.

“Oh yes, it’s one of our most popular smoothies!” chirped the young woman behind the cash register.

I ordered one without the apple and orange juices, and asked for almond milk instead. Everything else – kale, spinach, mango and pineapple – could stay.

And this is what it looked like:

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I’m not going to lie. It took me almost the rest of the day to finish it – it was huge! I even shared some with my 3 kids. As always, it was approved by 2 out of 3 of them (I rarely get all 3 of them to like anything). But you guys, I drank kale. And spinach. And that felt great!

I’m looking forward to mixing up my daily protein smoothie with some greens, a variety of frozen fruits and some of the superfoods mentioned in the chart. I now feel like I can successfully create something that will fuel my body – and if I need to grab something on the go, I can always pop in to my local Jugo Juice and more confidently order kale in a cup.

What’s your go-to green for a healthier smoothie?