Smoothies could quite possibly be the most versatile meal on the planet. Think about it: it’s basic foundation is fruit, but on top of that the options are endless. Vegetables, greens, spices, nuts, seeds, spreads, milks and even coffee or tea can add extra layers of flavor and nutrition. Pick your favorite combinations and go!
There are some smoothie additions that are more processed than others, however. Protein and superfood powders may contain some extra nutrients, but the body really benefits from being fed whole, real food. Consider adding in a dash of these all-natural boosters for extra nutrition, taste and stomach satisfaction.
1. Flax seed
Throwing ground flax seed (easier to digest than whole seeds) into a morning smoothie is a no brainer. It doesn’t alter the taste, but seriously increases the nutrition content. Think: extra omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and cancer-thwarting lignans.
One of the best ways to get finicky eaters of all ages to eat more greens is to throw a handful or two of spinach into a fruit smoothie. Not only does it turn your beverage a bright, leafy hue, but that gorgeous green means there are tons of healthy phytonutrients in there, like vitamins A, K, D and E.
A sprinkle of this spicy staple and your smoothie now helps you fight infections, lowers cholesterol and has a healthy dose of fiber, calcium, iron and manganese. Bonus points: it makes your breakfast smell like fall.
4. Chia seeds
Want a bigger omega-3 boost? Throw in some chia seeds! What about improved digestive health, cancer-fighting properties and a boost to your energy levels? Sprinkle away!
This bright orange addition, whether ground or fresh, contains a whole bunch of curcumin, an amazing anti-inflammatory compound. Adding it into your meals also boosts activity of your body’s enzymes and can lower your risk of heart disease.
6. Frozen berries
Deep, vibrant colors in produce mean they are packed with antioxidants and a slew of other phytonutrients our bodies need to perform. Frozen berries are an easy way to boost your smoothie’s nutritional value, as they keep for a long time. You can also blend just berries and bananas together for an after dinner “nice cream” treat!
Before you reach for traditional sweeteners, try throwing a pitted date or two into your smoothie. Not only do they help cut the tartness of other fruits, but they contain lots of fiber, can help control blood sugar levels and can reduce lipid levels in the blood.