Little Bites of Beauty by Ambra Torelli helps people with dietary restrictions live an awesome life and travel often. Recipes, motivation and travel hacks for those on Gluten Free, Paleo and Autoimmune Protocol AIP diet and lifestyle.
Smoothies are fun and delicious way to throw together a quick meal… BUT, are they actually nutritious? Follow this guide on how to make smoothies more filling to balance the macronutrients in your blender and make better smoothies that keep you full for longer!
As a matter of fact, the biggest problem people have when it comes to smoothies is that, an hour after they finish it, they start to feel hungry again and end up snacking on other foods because they can’t wait until their next meal. This does not happen when you make an actually filling smoothie for breakfast or lunch that contains a good balance of all the macronutrients your body needs to thrive.
Below, you can find the answers to some of the commonly asked questions about how to make a smoothie more filling, that will help you create delicious and creamy smoothies that are low in sugar, dairy and gluten free and paleo friendly as well.
And you are on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), scroll to the end to see how make a filling smoothie that’s AIP approved too
How To Make Smoothies That Keep You Full - FAQs
1. Is having a smoothie for breakfast healthy?
Yes. If you do a good job in combining the sugar that naturally occurs in fruit with a healthy amount of proteins, fibers and fats, you can make smoothies that keep you full and satisfied all morning.
A healthy breakfast smoothie isn’t made by just blending fruit and ice, but it combines nutrients in a balanced way, which leads us to the next question.
2. What’s the macronutrients breakdown of smoothies that keep you full?
When selecting ingredients for a smoothie, you need to go way beyond fruit. A smoothie that’s just made with fruit and fruit juices is going to be high in sugar, lead to more cravings later on and it’s also not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.
A filling smoothie includes ALL macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats and fibers that will make you feel satiated.
Here’s an idea of what a perfect, well-rounded smoothie should look like:
BASE: 1 cup of liquid (see which ones in the section below)
PROTEIN: 20 to 30 gr (1 scoop clean protein powder)
FAT: up to 2 tbsp healthy fat
CARBS: 1/2 to 1 cup fruit and steamed starchy vegetables + 1 cup vegetables
FIBRE: 1 tbsp (see question n. 6)
3. What liquid should I put in my smoothie?
To make a smoothie more filling, only opt for liquid bases that are unsweetened and low in natural sugar so that you can avoid the insulins spike that comes from fruit juices.
Unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, hemp milk or other non-dairy milk
Full fat coconut milk
Unsweetened green tea
4. What can I put in a smoothie for protein (without adding dairy)?
Proteins are essential to make smoothies more filling as they help initiate your ‘satiety hormones’, the ones that tell you are full.
Here are some ideas to add more protein into your smoothies:
Baby Spinach and Kale
Chia Seeds, Hemp Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds
Almond or Cashew Butter
Grass Fed Collagen (while collagen is proven to have great benefits for healing leaky gut, it is not a complete protein, as it does not contain the complete amino acid profile you would get from meat. Use it for a boost of protein in your smoothie but make sure to incorporate more complete protein in your diet throughout the day)
Junk Free & Dairy Free Protein Powder (make sure you always choose plain, unsweetened flavors)
5. What’s the best fat to add to a smoothie?
Adding good quality fat makes your smoothie creamier and more satisfying. Healthy fats slow down the digestion and absorption of the sugars contained in fruit helping to balance your blood sugar. Fat also helps you curb overeating and it’s a great source of energizing fuel to use during the day.
Here’s some examples of healthy fat to make your smoothies more filling:
Fruit naturally contains fiber, but when fruit is blended up in a smoothie, it’s easier (and faster) for our bodies to absorb the natural sugars it contains. Adding a good source of extra fiber to your smoothie will help you slow down the absorption of the sugars.
In addition to that, fiber is important to keep our digestive systems running smooth and to keep us full.
Here are some examples of fiber sources to add to your smoothies:
Vegetables, ½ to 1 cup. Carrots (check out my Carrot Cake Smoothie Bowl), zucchini, spinach and kale are the easiest to add to a smoothie as they have a very agreeable taste. You can also try adding steamed cauliflower, steamed kabocha squash and fennel.
Putting too much fruit in a smoothie provokes a spike in your blood sugar, and the consequent release of insulin leads to imminent energy crashes, feelings of hunger, mid-day cravings, anxiety, etc. For this reason, you need to limit the amount of fruit to 1/4 to 1 cup per smoothie and balance out the sugars from fruit with all the other macronutrients mentioned above.
To limit the amount of sugar in your smoothies:
Prefer low-sugar fruits, such as: all berries, green apple, pear, kiwi, lemon, lime, grapefruit, cranberries, cantaloupe
Prefer less ripe bananas (they contain less sugar)
Use mango and pineapple in moderation
8. How do you sweeten a smoothie?
Smoothies don’t need to have any extra sweeteners, as the fruit you put in is perfectly sweet already. There is no need to add dates, honey, maple syrup, or anything else to your smoothie if you use fruit to sweeten it.
Also, there are some ingredients that can help you achieve a sweet sensation without using extra sugar:
Consistency is important in order to make smoothies that keep you full. A smoothie with a rich and dense consistency is more satisfying to eat and gives your digestive system the impression that actually ate something rather than just drinking.
To make a smoothie thicker, make sure to add some of the following:
Frozen fruit (the best fruits to add thickness to a smoothie are mango, banana and acai)
Avocado (for an extra creamy texture)
Pumpkin puree (to make your smoothie super rich)
Flax seeds or flax meal
Chia Seeds (soak them in water for about 10 minutes before blending them in your smoothie so they incorporate easily)
10. Does adding more ice to a smoothie make it thicker?
Yes. You can either add crushed ice or ice cubes to thicken up your smoothies or even fruit-infused water that you have previously frozen to give your smoothies a boost of flavor.
11. How can you make a smoothie easier to digest?
a. Add crunchy toppings to chew on
The act of chewing stimulates the production of salivary enzymes that are responsible of activating digestion and stomach acid so that your digestive tract is fully capable of assimilating all the good nutrients you are taking in.
Here are some ideas for healthy toppings to make smoothies more filling and more digestion-friendly:
Brazil nuts (I use them as a natural selenium supplement) and other nuts
Smoothies are not meant to be drank like a drink, but to be eaten slowly and chewed on, as an actual meal. Drinking your smoothie too fast makes it hard for your body to absorb all the nutrients, and it can provoke bloating and digestive upset.
Also, by perceiving you smoothie like an actual and filling meal (instead of a drink) you will be less prone to seek for solid food.
c. Don’t make your smoothie too cold
If your stomach is sensitive to cold foods (especially early in the morning, when your digestive system is warming up), skip the ice and only use half the amount of frozen fruit and vegetables and replace the other half with ingredients at room temperature.
12. How do I make an AIP friendly smoothie?
With restrictions on nuts and seeds and on the amount of fructose one can consume per day (download a COMPLETE AIP FOOD LIST HERE), being on the Autoimmune Protocol can make it a bit challenging to make a filling smoothie.
HERE’S AN EXAMPLE to make smoothies that keep you full and are also AIP compliant and low in fruit:
Combine half a banana with 2 cups of baby spinach, ½ a zucchini (peeled), ¼ of an avocado, ½ cup water, ½ cup coconut milk, a dash of cinnamon, 1 tbsp of tigernut flour (for prebiotic fiber) and 1 scoop pf collagen. Top with some coconut shreds and tigernut flakes to activate digestive enzymes while chewing.
This concoction will help you balance out potential blood sugar spikes and keep you full for longer!
Creamy AIP Green Smoothie from "The AIP Italian Cookbook"
... Now It's On YOU!
What are your best tips to make smoothies that keep you full? Let me know in a comment below! And if you enjoyed reading article, make sure to share it on Facebook and save it on your Pinterest so you can always find it!
Is it just me, or, every time you start cooking, you end up with something totally different that what originally planned? Believe or not, these paleo plantain tortillas were actually supposed to be gnocchi!
…I should clarify. I was making the nightshade-free gnocchi from my AIP Italian Cookbook for the 50th time, but since I had some leftover boiled green plantain sitting on my kitchen counter, I needed to come up with an idea.
I am extremely jealous of my AIP Gnocchi recipe (I tested it so many times and it’s just good as regular gnocchi) and I want that to remain exclusive for those who buy my AIP Italian Cookbook. But, since I also wanted to share something delicious with you on the blog, I decided to make a food that those on grain free and autoimmune protocol diets miss very much: tortillas!
During the elimination phase of the AIP, the only thing I could think of was bread in all its forms and I even created an AIP Bread Board on my Pinterest! …Hence, I am assuming that for those who need to stay away from (gluten free) grains, these paleo plantain tortillas will be a breath of fresh air, because, YES, they taste and hold like regular tortillas!
These paleo plantain tortillas are FREE from gluten, dairy, grains, nuts and Whole 30 compliant as well!
One last thing before we get to to the recipe: make sure you use GREEN plantain for this paleo tortillas. When plantains ripen and start turning yellow, they become sweeter and acquire a subtle taste of banana that does not do well in savory dishes.
They hold well in the refrigerator for a couple days.
They are soft but not chewy and they bend well without breaking when you fold them into tacos.
NOTE: If you are looking for a grain free wrap that’s also free from eggs, make sure you check out the recipe for my Paleo AIP Piadina (a typical Italian wrap) that can be found in my “Paleo AIP Italian Cookbook“.
Peel the green plantains, chop them in pieces 1,5″ thick, and put them in a pot with boiling water. Cook for about 15 minutes or until soft.
Drain it with a skimmer and place it in a food processor. Add in the egg, tigernut flour, salt and herbs and process until you have a nice ball of dough (it’s ok if it’s a bit sticky).
Place the dough in between two sheets of parchment paper and gently start to press it down with your hands to create a circle of dough underneath.
After you flattened it down by hand, take a rolling pin and help the process along unitl 1/8″ thick.
Carefully pull off the top piece of parchment paper, cut the flattened dough in circles helping yourself with a small soup bowl and a knife.
Gently pass a large knife under the circles of dough to detach the plantain tortillas from the bottom piece of parchment paper.
Grease a cast iron skillet or non stick pan with coconut oil and heat it over medium heat.
Cook each tortilla for 1-2 minutes on each side or until brown “bubbles” form. Repeat this procedure until you are out of dough.
Serve your paleo plantain tortillas stuffed with your favorite foods or store them in an airtight container in the fridge. Reheat before use.
I can’t wait for you to try these paleo plantain tortillas and I would love to know what you stuffed them with in a comment below!
Please, share this recipe with your friends and family on Facebook so they can try it too! And make sure to save it on your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love!!
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Finding Korean beef cauliflower rice bowls when you eat out is a pretty hard challenge. Most of the times, these ground beef bowls are too greasy… And who knows what type of oil they used? …Let alone the type of beef… And did they add MSG? Or maybe flavorings that contain gluten?
Making your own is mandatory. Especially if you want to make sure that your bowls are grain free, Paleo, Whole 30 and Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) compliant.
The good news is that making this dish at home is super easy, and it doesn’t even take that much time! So, Korean beef cauliflower rice it is!!
The crunchy texture the ground beef gets is crazy delicious. And the seasoning they add to it turns this into a completely different dish than the one we usually prepare in Italy with ground beef (see my family recipe here).
5 Reasons Why You Should Try my Korean Beef Cauliflower Rice Bowls:
They’re packed with vegetables: from the cauliflower rice, to the bed of greens on the bottom, the grated veggies hidden in the meat sauce and the diced avocado on top.
They’re free from soy: soy sauce is replaced with coconut aminos. If you don’t have issues with soy, feel free to use Tamari (gluten free soy sauce) instead.
They’re free from nightshades: instead of using chili flakes (they belong to the nightshade family), I used ginger and turmeric to give it a spicy kick. Check out this post to see what foods are allowed and NOT allowed on the AIP.
They make for a really great recipe to meal prep, as, after you quickly warm this up, it’s as good as if it was just made fresh!
They are a crowd pleaser! Simply cook these Korean Beef Cauliflower Rice Bowls without telling anybody they are “healthy”, or “paleo” or “grain free”. Some people get defensive when they hear these labels as they don’t want to feel like they’re on a diet. But after one bite of this deliciousness, they’ll be totally sold!
Want to switch up the flavors in your kitchen? Next time you buy grass fed beef, alternate the recipe for these Korean Beef Cauliflower Rice bowls with some of my other favorites:
In a medium sized skillet, heat up the avocado oil and, when it starts to sizzle, add in chopped shallot and grated ginger, and lastly the ground beef, breaking it up into small bits with a wooden spoon.
Add in the grated vegetables, garlic powder, turmeric and salt, mix well and cook for about 6 to 7 minutes on medium heat before pouring in the coconut aminos.
Stir well and cook 10 more minutes, until there is no more liquid, and the meat is brown and starts to form crispy bits.
While the ground beef cooks, heat up the coconut oil in a pan, add in the cauliflower rice, salt and mix well.
Cook on medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes, adding a little splash of water if needed.
To assemble the bowls, create a bed of chopped greens, top one half with cauliflower rice and the rest with ground beef.
Sprinkle some diced avocado and chive on top of your Korean Beef Cauliflower Rice Bowls (and some bits of pickled vegetables if you want) and enjoy!!
I hope you’ll enjoy these Korean Beef Cauliflower Rice Bowls and don’t miss to share the recipe with your friends and family on Facebook so they can try it too! Also, make sure to save this article on your favorite Pinterest board by clicking on the infographic at the bottom of this post.
The recipe for these AIP Paleo fruit cookies was born to fight a craving. And a pretty hard one to resist.
Every time I am back in Italy, I am tempted to head to this store where they carry all gluten free products and buy myself a big bag of their delicious fruit cookies! I mean, technically they are fine for me to eat. They are free from gluten and dairy, and, after completing the elimination and reintroduction phase of the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP), I know I am fine with consuming some gluten free grains…
BUT, these fruit cookies have a pretty large amount of sugar. And that’s never good. Consuming more that a handful of cookies would give me a headache… and it’s pretty hard to stop when you have that bag of deliciousness in front of you
The only solution to fix my craving without regrets was to make my own AIP Paleo Fruit Cookies! And I think that the version I came up with is as amazing as the original one. As a matter of fact, I can’t stop eating them as well, just like it happens with the packaged ones I try not to go buy
Originally, I wanted to save this recipe for my “AIP Italian Cookbook”, and publish it in the dessert section, together with my AIP Cannoli, AIP Tiramisu, AIP Panna Cotta and a lot, lot more… But then I though to share it here as I wanted you ALL guys to enjoy it. And I am sure that after you’ve tried these AIP paleo fruit cookies, you’ll definitely want to go grab your copy of AIP Italian Cookbook”
These AIP Paleo fruit cookies, are pretty much suitable for every diet: they are FREE FROM gluten, dairy, grains, eggs, nuts and seeds. And they are absolutely free from sugar as well!! All the sweetness comes from the sweet spices, and the dehydrated fruit!
To make these AIP paleo fruit cookies, I used the dough recipe of my paleo AIP tea cookies and played around with spices and dried fruit to recreate the flavor and texture of the fruit cookies I love.
I love them plain, served with some berries and coconut yogurt, or even dipped in some warm coconut milk with a dash of vanilla. But I can’t wait to hear from you how YOU like to enjoy these in a comment below!!
Ingredients you'll need for these AIP Paleo Fruit Cookies:
Here’s the FOUR secret ingredients that will make your AIP Paleo Fruit Cookies taste legit:
Freeze dried banana: there is only one ingredient, no added sugar and a TON of flavor. And I love that, once smashed in little chunks, they look like crushed nuts.
Freeze dried strawberry or raspberry: this are an absolute must to give your fruit cookies a complex, well rounded flavor. Freeze dried berries add tanginess to the dough and make your cookies taste delicious!
Candied orange zest: This is really what gives these AIP Paleo fruit cookies ALL the flavor!! To avoid using store bough sugar coated candied orange zest. You can make your own, by caramelizing some organic orange peel in a tiny bit of maple syrup and valilla extract.
Fruit Liquor: Liquor, if used in limited amounts, is fine for cooking and baking even during the AIP, as the alcohol will evaporate while cooking. You can either use a gluten free fruit liquor you have at home, some Limoncello or even a sweet wine like Moscato or Passito. If you want to stay away from it, replace this with some unsweetened apple juice.
Wash the orange well, slice into quarters, remove the pulp and as much of the white pith as possible with a knife.
Dice the orange zest in little bits, add them to 1/2 a cup of water and boil for 20 minutes. Strain them, add 1/4 cup of water together with maple syrup and vanilla to the pan and bring to a boil. Let the zest simmer on low for 20 minutes adding more water of needed.
For the AIP Paleo Fruit Cookies:
Preheat the oven to 345 F (175 C).
Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl (except for the dehydrated fruit and candied orange), mix and knead well until you get a nice and smooth ball of dough. To save time, you can combine them all in a food processor like the one I use and make the process a lot faster).
Place your ball of dough over a sheet of parchment paper, cover it with another sheet of paper and flatten it down with your hands.
Sprinkle the crushed freeze dried fruit and candied orange bits over the flattened dough, cover it again with parchment paper and roll down again until ¼ of an inch thick.
Carve out cookies using your favorite cookie cutter.
Bake for 15 minutes, let them cool down and enjoy!!
I am super excited for you to try these AIP Paleo fruit cookies, and please, make sure to share the recipe with your friends on Facebook!!
Put the coconut flour, milk and shreds into three soup plates and prepare one empty dinner plate to arrange the shrimp once coated.
Add salt and dried oregano in the coconut flour plate, mix well and toss in all the shrimp. Mix around with your hands until each one is well coated with flour.
Dip one shrimp at the time into the coconut milk bowl, then into the coconut shred plate and finally place the shrimp in the empty dish. Continue this procedure until you run out of shrimp.
Heat up the coconut oil in a non stick pan, and, when it starts to sizzle, add in your AIP paleo coconut shrimp (gently add the shrimp one at the time to prevent the coating from falling off).
Cook over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side.
To prepare the basil avocado mash, wash the basil leaves and chop them finely. Mash the avocado, add in the olive oil and chopped basil and mix well.
Stick 3 or 4 shrimp on a skewer and serve accompanied with some avocado & basil mash.
Enjoy these AIP Paleo coconut shrimp and don’t miss to share the recipe with your friends and family on Facebook so they can try it too! Also, make sure to save this article on your favorite Pinterest board by clicking on the infographic at the bottom of this post.
What better recipe could I come up with for April (asparagus month), if not a delicious and healthy asparagus omelette inspired by a classic yet simple Italian dish?
Here in Italy, spring is not really spring if you don’t consume a generous amount of eggs with asparagus while they are in season (or “Frittata con gli Asparagi” as we call it). Unlike it is in the US, eggs are not considered a breakfast food in Italy and frittata it’s typically consumed as a “secondo”, a protein based meal that most people have for dinner.
This is a recipe my family has been making since I can remember. And to keep it even more local and seasonal, my parents even swap store bought asparagus for hand picked wild asparagus whenever possible to give it a more earthy and intense taste!
Also, you can personalize this recipe by swapping prosciutto for another kind of gluten free cured meat and topping the dish with some dairy free cheese of your choice. Sprinkling some toasted sunflower seeds on top can help you give your healthy asparagus omelet a crunchy kick too.
This recipe is of course, free free from gluten and dairy, paleo and Whole 30 compliant as well!
Wash the asparagus, grease a non stick pan with olive oil and, when it starts to sizzle, arrange the asparagus on the bottom of the pan like you see in the photos. Cover the pan with a lid and let cook on medium heat for a 3 to 4 minutes.
In the meantime, crack the eggs in a small bowl, add in the coconut milk and a pinch of salt and beat them with a whisker until they foam a little.
Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus, put the lid back on and finely chop the prosciutto on a cutting board until you have crumbs of it.
Sprinkle the prosciutto bits over your healthy asparagus omelette and cook for 4 more minutes, always with the lid on.
Top your omelette with some fresh thyme, a pinch of flavored salt and a drizzle of Balsamic glaze, cut it in half and serve over a bed of baby spinach seasoned with extra virgin olive oil and salt.
I am sure you’ll love this healthy asparagus omelette and I hope you’ll want to share it with your friends and family on Facebook so they can try it too! Also, make sure to save it on your favorite Pinterest board. And don’t forget to subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love!!
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If you are looking for fun (and Instagrammable) recipes to set up a photo-worthy healthy brunch, these paleo sweet potato egg nests are for you! Like all other recipes on this site, they are free from gluten and dairy, and suitable for those on grain free and Whole 30 diets as well!
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber, vitamin A and potassium. I love to serve these cute egg nests together with some greens and pickled vegetables (great for your gut health), some avocado (I still have to meet someone who’s not in love with it) and some toasted pine nuts and it really makes for a complete, filling and nutritious meal!
In this fun brunch recipe, spiralized zucchini or sweet potatoes become a delicious nest to hold your eggs (for those who are not familiar with the term, “spiralized” means cut in thin noodle-like strips with a spiralizer).
These paleo sweet potato egg nests are definitely my new favorite grain free recipe with to make with spiralized veggies. …Even though, my love for “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) is still pretty strong, as you can see in the following posts:
Peel the sweet potato (or zucchini), shape it into noodles with a spiralizer and cut the length in half with a pair of kitchen scissors.
Heat up 1 tsp of coconut oil in a wok on medium heat, add in the sweet potato noodles and toss them around with tongs and let them cook with the lid on for a couple of minutes, until they start to soften.
Heat up some coconut oil in a small pan with a 4.5 inch diameter and arrange a handful of sweet potato noodles into a nest leaving a hole in the middle. I find that using a small pan makes this procedure easier, but it you don’t have a small pan, just arrange the sweet potato nest in a regular pan.
Crack one egg on top, sprinkle some Za’atar, salt and black sesame seeds cover with a lid and cook the egg until the yolk has reached your desired texture.
Repeat this procedure until all your 4 paleo sweet potato egg nests are done and serve right away with pickled vegetables, some greens of choice and some toasted pine nuts.
I hope you enjoyed the recipe for my paleo sweet potato egg nests and that you want to share it with your friends and family on Facebook so they can try it too! Also, make sure to save it on your favorite Pinterest board, and subscribe to my weekly newsletter so that you never miss a post!!
Lots of love!!
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