I don’t know when or why it happened, but a couple of months ago, I became obsessed with smoothies. I’ve made smoothies for years, but it truly turned into a daily addiction. I was having smoothies for breakfast every day and wishing I could have them for lunch, too. I was making them so much that my 20-month-old son became hooked, and he’d start to say “mine” as soon as he saw me set up the blender. His love for them was a confirmation of how yummy they were, though. If I didn’t remember to give him his super-smoothie sips, I would hear about it.
Smoothies make a great breakfast for me: They let me start my day off with tons of fruits and veggies, they fill me up, and they get me away from the kids’ toaster waffles. They’re a great way to get rid of fruits that are one their way out the door and an excellent way to hide protein powder if you use it. And my favorite? They’re the best way to pack in the superfoods — the super nutrient-dense foods we should all be chowing morning, noon, and night. Even though it feels a little weird to drink a cold morning drink now that summer’s over, they’re one way I’m hanging on to the warmer months and a good way to make sure my fruit and veggie intake doesn’t wane in the winter months.
Here are a few of my favorite superfoods that find their way into almost every smoothie I make — and a bonus few ways you can use the ingredients to work more of them into your diet!
7 Superfoods For Smoothies 1 of 8
Want to make your smoothie even more super? Sneak in these seven superfoods!
Greek Yogurt 2 of 8
With twice as much protein and less sugar than regular yogurt, plain, nonfat Greek yogurt is a super-healthy way to get probiotics and calcium into your diet. I found its thicker texture and tart taste took a little getting used to, but I don't think I could ever go back to regular yogurt! Now I only buy it in the largest container possible and put a few scoops in every smoothie I make.
Bonus use: Use in place of sour cream.
Photo credit: ninacoco, Flickr
Chia Seeds 3 of 8
Don't let chia seeds scare you. They seriously remind me of strawberry seeds; you may notice they're there and one may get stuck in a tooth now and then, but you can't taste them. One tablespoon of the chia seeds I buy at Trader Joe's has just 70 calories, 3 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber, and 2.9 grams of Omega-3 fatty acids. They're seriously a nutritional boost that is affordable and easy to add to any smoothie.
Bonus use: Sprinkle over yogurt or add to baked goods.
Photo credit: Stacy Spensley, Flickr
Flax Seeds 4 of 8
Flax seeds are also high in Omega-3 fatty acids; in fact, they came out as the number one source when compared to other healthy foods. Help your heart health by working these ground seeds into your smoothie. I use a flax/chia blend, and while it adds more texture to smoothies than chia seeds alone, it's not enough to make a difference in the taste.
Bonus use: Ground flax can also be added to cookies, breads, muffins, and even casseroles.
Photo credit: kickthebeat, Flickr
Avocado 5 of 8
Ever since I lived in California, where it seemed that they add avocados to everything, I've been a huge fan of the fruit. Avocados shouldn't scare you away because they're high in fat — the good fats in the fruit have anti-inflammatory benefits and lower our risk of heart disease. They're a good source of fiber, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin C. Plus, even half or a quarter of an avocado will add an extra creaminess to a smoothie without really affecting the taste.
Bonus uses: I use avocados on almost every salad or sandwich I make.
Photo credit: Muffet, Flickr
Bananas 6 of 8
The banana is a staple of my smoothie; I don't believe I've ever made one without it. It adds sweetness while also packing a nutritional punch. A good source of potassium and vitamins B6 and C, they can even help you better absorb calcium. I freeze bananas to throw in my smoothies if they're about to hit the overripe stage or use them straight from a fresh bunch. Either way, they make a delicious smoothie.
Bonus use: Throw in on a peanut butter sandwich for a nutritional boost.
Photo credit: libertygrace0, Flickr
Spinach 7 of 8
For a bright green color kick to your smoothie and a little extra nutritional bonus, throw in some spinach. You'll be surprised at how little it takes to color your drink leprechaun green, but you'll be doing your body good. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is important for bone health. It's also a good source of vitamin A, manganese, folate, and iron.
Bonus use: Throw it in a mixed green salad or use it in place of mixed greens altogether.
Photo credit: richard_north, Flickr
Frozen Fruits 8 of 8
So "frozen fruits" may not be a superfood, but they are absolutely perfect to have on-hand for smoothie making. Mangoes are one of my absolute faves, and while mango may not be in the superfood category, studies have been showing that its got anti-inflammatory properties along with potential blood sugar benefits. Even if it's not superfood status, in my book, it makes one heck of a super-smoothie. Other frozen fruits, like strawberries, peaches, and pineapple ensure that you'll be able to make a delicious smoothie that packs a nutritional punch any time of the year.
Bonus use: Use it as a yogurt topping.
Photo credit: Tessss, Flickr
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