Smoothies are refreshing summer treats that can suit anyone’s unique tastes. You can choose your very own blend of fruits, vegetables, proteins and sweeteners to make a delicious concoction! It’s easy to dump a bunch of ingredients into your blender and hit the power button. However, mastering the perfect healthy recipe takes practice.
National Smoothie Day is right around the corner, giving you the perfect opportunity to revamp your go-to smoothie recipe. Check out these tips for crafting a smoothie bursting with healthy nutrients.
Fruit provides a healthy, sweet-tasting base for nearly all smoothies. Fruits contain natural sugars that eliminate the need for artificial sweeteners and pair well with honey, agave nectar or maple syrup. No matter which fruit is your favorite, it’ll also be a great source of fiber that can regulate bowel movements and keep you full for longer.
While fruits are packed with fiber, vitamins and minerals, it is possible to go overboard. The average woman needs two to three servings of fruit per day. About three-fourths of a cup equals one serving, so keep that in mind as you experiment with different recipes. The greater variety of fruits you add, the more you should pay attention to the number of servings.
You can add either fresh or frozen fruit to your smoothie. Both options have the same nutritional content. However, frozen fruit lets you pack in more vitamins and minerals because you won’t need to add ice. Frozen berries are a great choice because they’re low in sugar but high in fiber. Plus, their antioxidants fight free radical damage for slower aging and greater immune defense.
A smoothie is one of the best ways to sneak in your daily vegetable requirements. Adults need about two to three cups of vegetables per day, which can easily fit into your favorite smoothie recipe. Vegetables go well with fruit smoothies because the fruits’ natural sugars make the vegetables’ flavor virtually undetectable.
Popular choices for leafy greens include kale and spinach. One cup of kale provides more than a day’s worth of vitamins A, K and C. This superfood also contains nutrients found in the vitamin B complex. Kale is nutrient-dense and extremely low in calories, making it a must in every smoothie. Its health benefits range from weight management to a lower risk of heart disease.
Spinach is another smoothie ingredient that’s rich in fiber. This leafy green is also a great source of vitamin K1, which is necessary for blood clotting in open wounds. In fact, you can satisfy your daily requirements for vitamin K1 with a single spinach leaf! Spinach is also known for its iron content, a mineral that helps deliver oxygen to cells throughout the body.
Naturally sweetened liquids
Smoothie lovers should choose their liquid additives wisely. Fruit juice is a popular choice, but it often contains added sugars with little nutritional value. Vitamins and minerals are found in fruit fiber, which gets removed in the juicing process. Since fresh and frozen fruit contain plenty of natural sugars, adding fruit juice would overdo it.
Swap fruit juice for a low-sugar alternative like milk, coconut water or green tea. You can use cow’s milk or plant-based milk, both of which offer protein to help fill you up. Coconut water gives you an extra boost of hydration, and it’s naturally sweetened to give your smoothie a tropical flavor. Green tea is a great source of antioxidants and boosts your green smoothie with even more phytonutrients.
On top of your fruits and veggies, a quick and easy way to boost your smoothie’s nutritional value is by mixing in a scoop of your favorite powdered supplement. A mushroom supplement, in particular, blends medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane, reishi, chaga, maitake and cordyceps for a synergistic effect. These mushrooms are packed with powerful compounds to support immune health, cognitive function and stress relief. Plus, the organic cocoa and monk fruit add a subtly sweet taste to your smoothie!
If you’re looking for extra flavor, mix in a golden milk powder that offers a robust blend of spices. Golden milk beverages have grown in popularity due to a flavor profile filled with cinnamon, turmeric, vanilla, ginger, cardamom and black pepper. Turmeric reduces chronic inflammation, and additional ingredients like ashwagandha root lower cortisol levels to help you kick sugary food cravings.
The greatest thing about smoothies is that you can make them however you want. While most recipes are healthy, it’s important to remember that not all smoothies are created equal. To maximize a smoothie’s health benefits, pay attention to added sugars as well as fruit and vegetable servings. Celebrate National Smoothie Day with a treat that’s tasty and healthy!