Drinking a smoothie can be a great way to start your day. Not only do they help provide your daily allowance of fruits and veggies, but they are quick and easy to make for those who are on the go. Here’s a list of 10 must-have ingredients to throw in the blender to make your favorite healthy smoothies.
Lynice Anderson, RD, CDE, LD, registered dietitian with Renown’s Health Improvement Programs, breaks down her top 10 add-ins that she recommends as the healthiest smoothie components — those that are most beneficial to maintaining a diet full of good fats and protein.
Top 10 Smoothie Ingredients
- Whey protein: Whey protein enters your bloodstream faster than any other protein and tends to be higher in the amino acid leucine, which is crucial for maintaining and building muscle. It is best to consume whey protein about an hour after exercise.
- Soy protein: Soy protein is made from ground soybeans and is a great option if you are vegan and want a plant-based protein to help build muscle, stay full or simply to help reach your daily protein quota.
- Kale, spinach and other dark greens: Adding greens to your smoothies is one of the best ways to eat your veggies without even realizing it. Green smoothies are low in calories and high in fiber, which makes them very filling and a great source of energy.
- Beets: Beets contain betain, a natural anti-inflammatory, and have been known to also help lower your blood pressure. Beets contain fiber, potassium and magnesium, along with Vitamins A, B and C. Beets are probably not the first ingredient you think of when you make a smoothie, but with all of the benefits they provide, they are a great and beautiful addition to any smoothie.
- Greek yogurt: Greek yogurt is a good source of protein and calcium. Not only that, but it is packed with probiotics, which are essential to proper digestion and help to keep our immune system on track. Greek yogurt is very versatile and will enhance the flavor and texture of your smoothie recipes.
- Flaxseed: Flaxseed adds a slightly nutty and sweet flavor to your smoothies. Flax is a great source of omega 3 fats and fiber. Flaxseed is high in fat (the good kind), and it is recommended to use just about 1 tablespoon in your smoothies.
- Hemp protein: Hemp is a word that may draw some controversy. Don’t let that fool you, as hemp seeds used in protein are full of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. They help aid in brain health and weight loss, and if you are diabetic, eating hemp protein can help to regulate your blood sugar levels.
- Cinnamon: Spice up your smoothies with some cinnamon. It tastes good and has numerous health benefits. For starters, it has a very high mineral count, including calcium, fiber, iron and manganese.
- Almond milk: Almond milk has fewer calories than regular milk, containing only about 60 calories per cup. Make sure to use the regular, plain almond milk for fewer calories and sugars.
- Avocado: Avocados are a great base for a high-energy smoothie that will keep you full and energized for hours. They are high in fat (the good kind) and are high in folate, which is great for your heart.