Smoothies are an incredibly easy and delicious way to get nutrients into your day, but have you ever wondered how to make your smoothie even healthier? Here are five ways to bump up the nutrition!
1. Add those omegas!
Omega-3’s are essential for us to include into our everyday diets. Some common plant-based sources of omega-3’s include flaxseeds, chia seeds and hemp seeds. I recommend adding in 1-3 tbsp of one of into smoothies for an omega-3 boost! They also contain protein, fibre, iron and magnesium. To learn all about omega-3, read my article here.
2. Include leafy greens
We’ve all heard time and time again that eating dark green vegetables is good for us, but sometimes it can be challenging to get enough. Smoothies are the perfect opportunity to load up on greens. Adding just a handful or two of leafy greens to your smoothie will go virtually undetected by your tastebuds, and will boost the nutrient content of Vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and magnesium.
I recommend adding kale or spinach to maximize nutrition with very little flavour change, but romain, swiss chard, and parsley can be great additives as well if you don’t mind a more earthy flavour.
3. Choose the right liquids
Liquid is the part of smoothies that not many people talk about, but it can be super important! I’ve always been in the camp that adds water or occasionally plant-based milk to my smoothies, mostly for the cost-saving of not having to add another ingredient to the smoothie when I don’t feel that it adds much to the flavour, anyway!
My philosophy on adding juices to smoothies is this: If you want to add a splash of juice to smoothies, go for it! However, you’re already getting tons of nutrients, flavour AND beneficial fibre from the fruits, veggies, and seeds that you’re adding to the smoothie, so adding juice isn’t really necessary. Juices purchased from the store are often pasteurized, meaning they actually don’t contain many nutrients for our bodies, and also don’t contain any fibre. If you really feel that you can’t part ways with juice in your smoothies, try to adding half juice and half water for a boost of flavour without the extra sugar.
If you’re looking for an alternative that isn’t water, I recommend adding unsweetened plant-based milk, such as soy, cashew or almond. These plant-based milks are typically fortified with calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D so they add some extra oomph to your smoothie (make sure you check the label to ensure they’re fortified).
4. Add a source of protein and healthy fat!
Whenever I’m eating a smoothie as a meal, I try to make it as balanced as possible. This means that I typically try to add a source of protein (learn more about protein here) and healthy fats (learn more about fats here), such as nuts, nut butter, or even frozen edamame (learn all about soy here)!
There’s no need to add protein powder when simple foods like nuts, seeds, nut butters, or even a handful of frozen edamame gives smoothies an extra protein punch while also adding beneficial nutrients such as fibre, vitamins and minerals.
5. Use whole fruit instead of sweeteners
Fruit truly is nature’s candy. Using fruit instead of added sugars like male syrup, honey, agave or juice means that you’re getting the benefits of the whole food rather than from an isolated source. Fruits are rich in fibre (a common theme in this article!), vitamins, minerals, and water, which helps to keep us hydrated!
My favourite fruit additives are frozen bananas, which make the smoothie extra creamy. Try buying bananas that are spotting and “overripe” at the grocery store, as they’re often 50% off, and try peeling and freezing them in chunks. I also love to add frozen strawberries and blueberries, which can be bought frozen to save some money as they tend to be less expensive and still are chock full of nutrients!
Check out my Instagram @tastingtothrive_rd for my everyday smoothie recipe!