Blueberry smoothie with mint and heart from berries

Healthy Smoothies

By | May 5, 2017 | nutrition

Smoothies can be nutrition powerhouses and they can be decadent treats that rival milkshakes. I prefer the ones that fall somewhere in the middle. Packed full of good for you ingredients, but that still taste like a treat.

When it comes to breakfast, I’m not talking about the Jamba Juice variety made with sorbet and super sugary juice. While those are delicious, they don’t exactly help with wellness. In fact, because of the extra sugar and lack of protein, many fast food or pre-made smoothies aren’t as healthy as you might think.

The good news is that it is crazy easy to whip up a smoothie to complement your healthy diet. Because smoothies contain the whole fruit, they don’t lose out on the fiber that is missing when you make fancy juice at home. They’re more filling and good for your digestion.

Making healthier smoothies

Even better news is that you can always make any smoothie recipe just a bit healthier by adding in a power-up or two. Some of my favorite things to add to smoothies are chia seeds, acai powder and protein powder.  Chia seeds can go in just about any smoothie while acai goes best in berry smoothies and protein powders go best in creamy smoothies. You can even add spices such as turmeric to your blends to up their anti-inflammatory goodness.

If you find a recipe you want to try that is just not cutting it nutrition wise, you can try swapping a few ingredients. I love to swap coconut water for plain water or fresh juice for commercial options to add electrolytes from the former and cut added sugars for the latter. If a recipe calls for honey or agave, try adding a few dates to sweeten the deal in its place.

Three Favorite Green Smoothie Blends

Ginger Pineapple Zing

Makes 2

  • 2 cups tangerine or orange juice
  • 2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 baby bok choy (chopped)
  • 1  teaspoon minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 60-90 seconds, until smooth and no bits of leaves remain.

Green Mango Bliss

Makes 2

  • 2 cups coconut water
  • 1 pink lady apple (cored, skin-on)
  • 1 cup lightly packed mache rosettes* or baby spinach
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups diced frozen mango
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 60-90 seconds, until smooth and no bits of leaves remain.

*Mache rosettes are a mild lettuce that blend in without overpowering the fruit.

Root Power

Makes 2

  • 1½  cups water
  • 2 medium carrots turned into ribbons with a veggie peeler
  • 1 green apple (cored, skin-on)
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1½ cups frozen mango

The carrot ribbons are important for making sure your smoothie blends up nicely, especially if you don’t have a fancy-pants blender. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on high for 60-90 seconds, until smooth and no chunks remain.

Tell us about your favorite smoothie recipes and power-up ingredients in the comments below! 

Mary Fran Wiley is a well known gluten-free and positive living blogger from Chicago where she writes Curiouser and Curiouser, maintains the Chronic Positivity Project, founded the organization hope.dance and has been featured in Allergic Living MagazineCare2.com and Today.com.

View all posts by Mary Fran


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