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12 Ingredients You Should Be Adding to Your Smoothies

I’ve written before about how I’m a smoothie fanatic. They might as well be a food group in our household. It’s hard to beat a smoothie when you’re looking for a healthy, easy-to-make, on-the-go meal or snack.

In that last post, I gave you a bunch of recipes, including “The Whoorlie,” which is a family favorite. Today I want to strip that down a little bit. The secret truth is, smoothies are very forgiving, which means you don’t really need precise recipes. It’s less about tablespoons or rules and more about WHAT GOES IN IT. So let’s talk smoothie ingredients. Here are some things you ought to be adding to your smoothies for yumminess and nutrients. Do some experimentation. Make up your own recipes. Go crazy. (How else do you think I came up with The Whoorlie?)

  • 12 Ingredients to Start Adding to Your Smoothies 1 of 13

    Click through ... and let's smoothie it up.

  • Green Tea 2 of 13

    Green tea has a ton of great properties and benefits, from flavenoids that fight heart disease and cancer to catechins that increase your endurance when you exercise. Based on a number of studies, green tea drinkers seem to have a lower risk for a ton of diseases. Use it as a liquid base by brewing with a tea bag or just add a little matcha green tea powder (also available in decaf).


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  • Flaxseed 3 of 13

    First, make sure you use ground flaxseed instead of the whole kind — it's easiest to digest. Flaxseed adds fiber and improves your digestion. It also has omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation.


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  • Chia Seeds 4 of 13

    If it seems like everyone's talking about the health benefits of chia seeds these days! It's because they're practically a superfood. Rich in omega-3s, these seeds promote energy and are packed with protein and fiber (milled seeds are easiest to digest). Plus, they're gluten-free!


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  • Almond Butter 5 of 13

    Almond butter isn't just a delicious alternative to peanut butter, especially if you have a peanut-only allergy. It's packed with fiber, protein, vitamin E, iron, calcium, and potassium — and doesn't usually have the added sugar and salt that some commercial peanut butters contain.


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  • Peanut Butter 6 of 13

    Peanut butter is one of the greatest inventions of mankind, because it's delicious AND it's good for you. Peanuts and peanut butter are a great source of folate, fiber, protein, vitamin E, and vitamin B3.


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  • Kale 7 of 13

    Like chia seeds, kale is another one of those trendy foods that people are beginning to discover. It's considered one of the most nutrient-rich vegetables, packed full of potassium, lutein, and vitamins A, C, and K. Learn more about its health benefits here.


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  • Spinach 8 of 13

    Always a top-ranking veggie in terms of nutrition (not to mention Popeye-love), spinach is full of iron, zinc, folate, and vitamin B. Chop it up and your kids will have no idea how healthy their smoothie has become.


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  • Old0-Fashioned Oatmeal 9 of 13

    Not the instant stuff, but the old-fashioned kind. Add a half-cup of dry oatmeal to your smoothies to add a little texture ... and a lot of dietary fiber and cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber. (For what it's worth, I've been eating gluten-free since November 2013. Regular oatmeal isn't traditionally gluten-free, but there are a few great gluten-free options available.)


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  • Avocado 10 of 13

    If you're like me, you look at an avocado and start dreaming of guacamole and margaritas ... not smoothies. Well, if so, you're missing out on a lot of vitamin E, healthy fats, and omega-3s. And seriously: avocados make a fantastic smoothie. Here are some great recipes.


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  • Tomatoes 11 of 13

    Here's another fantastic way to sneak some healthy food into your kids' diet. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene (which fights cancer), vitamins A and C, and potassium.


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  • Frozen Fruit 12 of 13

    If you're regularly adding ice to a smoothie to give it texture, consider substituting that with frozen fruit (especially if fresh fruit isn't available or in season). Frozen fruit has all the same benefits and makes your smoothie thicker.


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  • Almond or Coconut Milk 13 of 13

    Add creaminess without the fat and calories of milk (an especially good choice for the lactose-intolerant). Use plain or non-fat, flavored or not. Your call!

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