10 Easy Ways to Make Smoothies Healthier
Make your homemade smoothies even better with a few tricks.
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Smoothies often get an automatic health halo, but blending up too many high-calorie ingredients will leave you sipping copious amounts of calories and fat. While writing the new cookbook Healthy, Quick & Easy Smoothies, I learned lots of tips and tricks to build a better smoothie with five ingredients or less.
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Antioxidants fight inflammation and protect cells from damage. Many high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables are already smoothie staples, but to get the most of these important phytochemicals opt for berries, spinach, matcha powder, nuts, kale, cranberries and beets.
Give an Omega-3 Boost
Omega-3 fats are oh-so-important for everything from skin to heart to eye to brain health! Since most folks fall short of getting enough of these essential fatty acids, add a daily dose to your smoothie with ingredients like chia seeds, flax and walnuts.
Infuse With Electrolytes
A steady intake of fluid and electrolytes on a hot day or after a sweaty workout is crucial for keeping muscles healthy. Infuse smoothies with liquids high in potassium like coconut water and orange juice and add a sprinkle of sea salt for some sodium on extra sweaty days.
Give a Burst of Caffeine
A small dose of caffeine can help promote circulation and puts some extra pep in your step. Since caffeine only works as a stimulant, adding brewed tea or coffee to an otherwise calorie-packed smoothie really gives you the energy to fuel your day.
Choose Lower-Calorie Liquids
A major pitfall in many smoothies is too many calories from juice. Instead of reaching for the sugary stuff, opt for liquids with little or no calories like water, brewed herbal tea or flavored seltzer.
Add Whole Grains
Grains? In a smoothie? Trust us on this one! Blend in a serving of rolled oats, wheat germ, quinoa or granola for a dose of fiber that will also help to thicken the smoothie.
Opt for Fruits and Veggies
Fruits are an obvious choice in smoothies, but you can also experiment with flavorful veggies like leafy greens, carrots, avocado, cooked squash and cauliflower. Give it a try with this recipe with cauliflower and almond butter.
Give Your Gut Some Love
Choose high-fiber ingredients like oats, wheat germ, dried prunes and flax seed to help promote regular digestion. Prebiotics and probiotics from banana flour, lentils, yogurt and kombucha will also help promote healthy bacteria in your gut.
Add Healthy Fats
No one wants to be hungry 10 minutes after drinking a smoothie. Much like fiber, fats can help balance a smoothie and make it extra satisfying. Blending nuts or nut butters and avocado into a smoothie not only gives it great texture, but also an ample dose of those heart healthy unsaturated fats.
Don’t shy away from those slightly intimidating green drinks! Combine healthy green ingredients like spinach, kale, avocado and kiwi with naturally sweet ones like banana, coconut milk or soaked cashews and splash of fresh citrus for a delightfully sippable balance of flavors.