Healthy food tips

Superfoods to Add to Your Smoothies

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We start almost every morning with a smoothie. Smoothies are the easiest way to provide your body with the best and healthiest fast food and flood your system with nutrients.

I start every smoothie with the same base of fresh fruits and vegetables, because the most powerful nutrition is found in the delicate enzymes of raw produce. I then add in seasonal produce and a variety of mix-ins for an extra boost of nutrients and plant-powered support for our day. 

What Liquid Can I Use in my Smoothie? 

Well, you can use water if you must, but I find water doesn’t lend itself to a well-blended smoothie. I prefer using plant milk. While I have used almost every kind of plant milk available right now (so far I’ve tried almond, soy, cashew, hemp, and oat), I typically get the unsweetened almond milk from Aldi and pour in about a cup or so each morning until I get the desired consistency. I tend to like different plant milks for different uses, and almond goes very well in my smoothies. Obviously, use whichever plant milk you prefer. 

What Produce Can I Use in a Smoothie?

Keep in mind my morning smoothie feeds myself and my two sons, so the proportions of fruits and vegetables are more than if I were only feeding just myself or just my sons. When fully blended, our smoothies fill our 64oz blender.

I start each smoothie with 2 bananas, 1 cup of spinach, and a half a zucchini.

From there, the ingredients depend on what fruit I found at the farmer’s market (or the frozen section at Aldi). I try to stick with seasonal produce as much as possible for maximum nutrition and a good variety of food options. Since peaches are currently in season, I’ve been enjoying blending peaches into our morning smoothies, sometimes adding blueberries in for another layer of flavor. My favorite blends currently are peach/blueberry/walnut and cherry/avocado/cacao. 

Balancing Fats, Carbs, and Proteins

When I first went plant-based, I focused so much on raw fruits and vegetables that I completely forgot about fats. Considering your brain is entirely made up of fat and every nerve fiber in your body is coated in a layer of fat, cutting out fat is no bueno. While refined fats (coconut oil, olive oil, etc) are not healthy for your cardiovascular health in larger quantities, consuming oil within its natural whole-food form is the most natural and beneficial way to get your daily fat requirements. This is why I put in an avocado (whenever I have a ripe one) in our smoothies.

Smoothie Ingredients for Healthy Fats:

Walnuts – Being a softer nut, walnuts blend very well into smoothies. Walnuts help regulate blood sugar and decrease inflammation. 

Chia seeds – Chia seeds contain a fiber-rich source of omega 3 fatty acids, as well as being a good source of iron and calcium. 

Pumpkin seeds – Aside from the fatty acid punch, pumpkin seeds are also high in zinc, magnesium, and protein.

Flax seeds – Flax seeds also contain a decent amount of lignans, which help inhibit the growth of cancer cells. The fiber in them is also very beneficial for gut health.

Hemp seeds – Hemp seeds don’t contain THC, but do have a high level of protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids. They also contain energy-boosting B vitamins and potassium. And no, they don’t taste anything like weed. They have a slightly nutty flavor that blends well into any smoothie.

Avocado – Healthy fats, fiber, most of the vitamins in the alphabet, iron, zinc, and calcium…there’s a reason guac costs extra. 

Superfood Smoothie Mix-Ins:

Beet powder – Beets contain nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels, which increases oxygenation to the cells and lowers blood pressure. This particular effect is also referred to as “nature’s Viagra,” so…there’s that. 

Chlorella powder – Chlorella is a deep green algae, high in protein, vitamin B12, iron, and vitamin C. Some research also indicates that chlorella attracts heavy metals from the body to aid in removing those substances from the body.

Wheatgrass Powder – Wheatgrass powder is a concentrated source of iron, chlorophyll, calcium, and several vitamins. 

Goji berry powder – Goji berries are high in vitamin C, antioxidants, and beta-carotene. Some information suggests it could have a positive effect on psychological function

Om Mushroom powder – I’m obviously a big fan of plants as medicine, and mushrooms are pretty powerful little medications. Mushrooms have antiviral and antimicrobial properties, support the immune system, even give you a boost of energy or a shot of zen. I typically get this brand’s Immune Support blend, but my nails have never been stronger than when I was adding the Beauty Blend to my smoothies each morning. 

Vegan protein powder – While my smoothie mix-ins have plenty of protein and we get a solid amount of plant-based protein in our diet already, I like to add in a scoop of protein powder to make everything creamy and smooth and add just a touch of sweetness. My current favorite vegan brands are Orgain (make sure it’s the vegan version) and Ideal Raw. Be sure to check out the blog post I wrote about comparing the chocolate versions of several brands awhile back

Where to Buy Smoothie Mix-ins? 

I order all the powders for our smoothies from Thrive Market. I find the best prices for everything I need, with fast shipping (which is free for orders over $49). If you shop like I do, the annual membership fee pays for itself in savings within your first few orders, plus one annual membership also covers a membership for a low-income family, or the family of a first responder. Try it out risk-free and get $25 off your first order. 

What kind of blender makes the best smoothies?

We have a NutriBullet Blender 1200 watts for our smoothies. It has a 64 oz carafe with the blade at the bottom. I have found this style to be the best for smoothies, especially with all the various things I add to them, because the force of the blades pulls everything down towards it. A blender with a center tower blade throws everything away from it when it swirls. Chewing a smoothie is not a fun sensation. I don’t recommend it. 

As you can see, it’s super easy to start off our mornings with nutrition from 20+ plants, most in their whole-food form every single day. These smoothies provide me with fuel for my day that keeps me going until my lunch break without needing a mid-morning coffee jolt, and it gives my boys the solid nutrition their growing bodies need. They love the smoothies, and if there is any leftover, they are poured into these adorable silicone popsicle molds and they have them for snacks later in the day. 

Do you drink smoothies in the morning? What kinds of things do you add in? 

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