9 Tips to Up Your Smoothie Game
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Smoothies are always a good idea when it comes to eating healthy. I’ve been obsessed with smoothies since I was a wee teenager, but mostly because they were like dessert in a glass. In recent years, I’ve experimented with ways to increase the health benefits of my smoothies without compromising on flavor and yumminess.
Are you ready to take your smoothie game to the next level? Check out these tips that are sure to make your smoothies healthier and tastier, no matter your reason for smoothie indulgence.
1. Use Frozen Fruit:
Instead of using ice and watering down your smoothie, try using frozen fruit for an icy, cold smoothie.
2. Freeze Your Own Fruit:
Frozen fruit can get pricey, but you can save money by cutting up fresh fruit and freezing it yourself. You can even freeze bananas to add them to your smoothies!
Pro-tip: For bananas, I usually remove the peel, slice and put in freezer bags, being sure to put 2 bananas worth in each bag in case I want to make something else that requires a specific amount of banana like banana bread.
3. Add protein for meal replacement:
If you want to use your smoothies as a meal replacement (which I often do for breakfast), you should make sure to add protein in one form or another. This will leave you feeling full longer. There are quite a few different protein options and you should pick yours according to your preference and dietary restrictions.
Greek yogurt is a great option for folks who aren't sensitive to dairy. Greek yogurt packs a lot of protein and makes for a creamier smoothie. It’s also a great way to add more probiotics to your diet.
Pro-tip: Get plain yogurt to avoid added sugar, the fruit will make your smoothie sweet enough. Get FULL fat, pretty please. (To learn why good fat is healthy, read Read Food Liz’s post. To read about the low fat dairy myth, read this time.com article.)
Protein powder is a pretty great way to get protein as well, but make sure you read the recommended instructions on serving size and consider starting with less in case your stomach is sensitive to it. If you are sensitive to whey or soy, you can also get plant based protein powders like hemp or pea protein.
Pro-tip: blend protein powder and your liquid first and then add the rest to ensure there are no surprise clumps.
4. Add flaxseed or chia seeds:
Flaxseed and chia seeds have so many benefits and can blend into a smoothie quite well. Add a tablespoon of either to your smoothie each morning for antioxidants, fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and many other health benefits.
5. Add a handful of greens to every smoothie:
Okay, not every smoothie if you're not up for it, but this is a great way to get in your vegetable servings without even noticing. You can't even tell; scout’s honor! Green superfood powders are a good alternative as well, but its always recommended you opt for fresh green vegetables whenever possible.
Pro-tip: If you’ve got wilting greens, don’t throw them out just yet! Toss them in the blender with a little bit of water, freeze them in an ice cube tray and pop a few green cubes in your next smoothie!
6. Add a banana to sweeten it:
Prefer a sweeter smoothie? Skip the sugar and add a banana. A banana will sweeten any smoothie up to perfection.
Pro-tip: You should also consider the sugar content of the other fruits and juices you choose. Avoid too much sugar! (If you’re sensitive to banana, you can try dates, agave or honey instead.)
7. Make your smoothies in advance:
You can make your smoothies in advance and freeze them in wide mouth mason jars! Take a jar out in the morning when you wake up, let it thaw while you get ready and drink it on your way to work.
8. Spice it up!
Add spices to your smoothie for additional flavor and health benefits. Adding turmeric or ginger will help with inflammation. You can also add cinnamon to boost your immunity and get a dose of iron and calcium. I know, right? Mind blown.
Don't get stuck using the same old recipes week after week. You’re likely to get bored. Experiment with different flavors every so often. You can add avocados or nut butters for creaminess, switch out the juices or try milk substitutes instead. The options are endless!
Pro-tip: Peanut butter and berries tastes like a PBnJ. Srsly.