Think that smoothie you bought at the health store or made at home is actually healthy? Your smoothie is only as healthy as what goes into your blender so it's important to make sure you include the necessary ingredients to ensure you are putting wholesome nutrients into your body! Read on to learn the Top 7 Ways to Make your Smoothie Healthier!
This week's Nutrition Tip: Top 7 Ways to Make your Smoothie Healthier
A smoothie is a quick way to include extra nutrition in your diet and can help sneak in servings of fruits and vegetables into your meal plan to help you reach the recommended 5-9 servings daily. A smoothie is only as healthy as the ingredients used to make it, however, and it’s important to be aware of what goes into your smoothie (and into your body)! It is easy to load up on sugar and empty calories with the WRONG ingredients, like added sugars and artificial, chemical-loaded ingredients! This is especially true when you buy your smoothie from a restaurant / health store or (even worse) buy a pre-made "sugar-bomb" smoothie from your local grocery store or Starbucks! Be sure to choose the RIGHT combination of the RIGHT ingredients!
Top 7 Ways to Make your Smoothie Healthier
Whether you buy or make your own, every smoothie should have these seven important ingredients to provide you with the biggest nutrient bang for your bucks!
#1 - Use an unsweetened liquid as the base (provides the liquid and hydration without the added sugars)
- Organic cow's milk or unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, coconut milk, or rice milk
- Unsweetened black coffee or unsweetened tea
- Coconut water or unsweetened (100% fruit) fruit juice
#2 - Include 2 fruits and 2 vegetables (provides the antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber)
- Frozen banana or any berries
- Fresh fruit of choice (peeled and chopped up if needed)
- Frozen riced cauliflower or zucchini (peeled and chopped prior to freezing, then let thaw a bit before adding it to the blender)
- Fresh leafy greens (organic spinach, kale, dandelion greens...)
#3 - Include a lean Protein (provides satiety and essential amino acids for muscle tissue repair and growth)
- Whey or Vegan protein powder
- Collagen peptides
- Plain Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
- Natural nut butter
- Tofu or liquid egg whites
#5 - Include a healthy Fat (for satiety, absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, heart & brain health, and hormone regulation)
- Natural nut butter or coconut oil / coconut butter
- Chia seeds, ground flaxseed, hemp seeds…
#6 - Include a clean complex carbohydrate (optional as a "meal replacement" smoothie, for longer-lasting energy and extra vitamins, minerals, and fiber)
- Plain dry rolled oats or cooked oatmeal
- Cooked (and cooled) quinoa, sweet potato, butternut squash, pumpkin…
#7 - Include a SUPERFOOD for a boost of health benefits!!
- Acai berries – prevent atherosclerosis, lowering cholesterol, and killing cancer cells.
- Aloe Vera - slow tumor growth, lower cholesterol, reduce inflammation, prevent kidney stones, relieve muscle and joint pain, improve digestion, relieve constipation, stabilize blood sugar levels, and hydrate with electrolytes.
- Cacao - increase blood flow, lower bad cholesterol levels while raising levels of the good type, lower blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, and improve brain function, vision, and mood.
- Chlorella and Spirulina – can detoxify your body by removing heavy metals.
- Cinnamon - reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and inflammation, while also reducing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, cancer, and PCOS.
- Coconut Oil - proven to aid weight loss, lower LDL, or bad cholesterol and raise HDL levels, and even help to reverse the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Coconut oil has also been shown to have an antibiotic effect.
- Collagen Peptides - help to repair the digestive tract (improve gut health); strengthen bones, joints, muscles, and skin; and naturally suppress appetite and improve sleep and mood!
- Goji Berries - help protect you from heart disease and improve your eye health; can boost the production of human growth hormone, which produces anti-aging effects; and can improve the functioning of your immune system and even help those with serious autoimmune disorders.
- Flaxseeds & Chia Seeds - reduce inflammation. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants.
- Hemp Seeds - good for your skin, help to increase your metabolism, lower cholesterol in your bloodstream, decrease inflammation, improve immune system functioning, improve brain health, and regulate blood sugar.
- Honey and Bee Pollen - strong antibacterial properties and contains antioxidants, can also combat seasonal allergies, ease coughing and the inflammation of a sore throat, treat asthma, indigestion, anemia, acne, arthritis, fatigue, and may help with allergies.
- Maca - improve energy and mood, lower stress, and to increase sexual function and fertility.
- Matcha – boosts metabolism, detoxifies, calms the mind and relaxes the body, enhances mood and aids in concentration, provides fiber, vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium, prevents disease, and lowers cholesterol and blood sugar.
- MCT Oil – “MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that has numerous health benefits, ranging from improved cognitive function to better weight management.
- Turmeric – long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that it can be helpful in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.
Whoa! That was a long list of Superfoods! Now it's your turn to start making your smoothies the healthier way and try adding 1 or 2 superfoods to your favorite smoothie recipes for an additional nutrient boost!
Here's one of my favorite smoothie recipes using the Top 7 Ways to Make your Smoothie Healthier!
Lean and Green Smoothie (makes 1 serving)
- 1 cup (8oz) unsweetened almond / coconut milk
- ¼ cup dry plain oats
- 1 frozen banana
- 2 cups Organic* spinach & ½ cup frozen zucchini
- 1 scoop vegan protein powder
- ¼ Avocado
- 1 tsp Matcha powder
Hope you enjoyed reading about the Top 7 Ways to Make your Smoothie Healthier and start using the 7 main ingredients in your smoothies today!
I would love to hear from you! Please let me know if you tried adding any of the above superfood ingredients to your smoothies and if you have any questions!