For most of us, there’s some room for improvement in our daily diets. Whether it’s protein, fruit or those dreaded vegetables, there’s likely something lacking in the nutrition department. Luckily, there are many easy and healthy smoothie recipes that can help us fill in the gaps in our diets.
Once you’ve recognized an area where your nutrition might need a boost, it’s easy to start filling in the voids with smoothie ingredients. It’s common to assume that smoothies are made from fruit because, well, a lot of them are. But fruit isn’t the only beneficial ingredient in a smoothie. A smoothie is the perfect vessel to sneak lots of other nutrition into your diet without sacrificing taste.
Blend it up, blend it in
I could probably go over a week without willingly consuming a single vegetable. Lecture me all you want, but I still don’t want to eat broccoli. Realizing that there are truly some benefits to consuming vegetables on occasion, I started to look for ways I could eat vegetables without actually having to eat any vegetables.
I quickly discovered that the best way to eat a serving of vegetables is to completely hide them. I managed this by blending them into my daily smoothie.
In that one cup of spinach, there’s vitamin A, vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and even a gram of protein. Not to mention there’s only 5 calories. But you know spinach is healthy, I don’t have to prove that to you. I also don’t have to tell you that not everyone enjoys eating spinach.
A full cup of spinach can mix into almost any smoothie without changing the overall flavor of the drink. While it may tint your drink green, you wont even be able to tell that you’re ingesting an entire serving of vegetables. A whole serving!
Super easy spinach smoothie recipe
The simplest way I found to drink a full serving of spinach is so easy, you won’t even believe it.
It’s only three ingredients and one of them is water. To make this super simple smoothie, blend 1 cup of spinach and one single serving packet of lemonade with 8 ounces of water. Yes, I am actually suggesting that you should make spinach lemonade.
Though the drink will be a bright green color, you won’t be able to taste the spinach. It’s an easy way to sneak an entire serving of vegetables into a meal.
Other leafy greens
Kale can also be added to smoothies, however, kale is a much stronger flavor than spinach. While spinach can easily be hidden, you have to work a little harder to mask the flavor of kale. A powerful flavor combination like strawberries and pineapple are a great match for the kale.
Try this strawberry, kale and pineapple smoothie:
Believe it or not, celery can be added to smoothies to add an extra green power punch. It’s another easy to blend flavor that can go unnoticed in a smoothie. Despite being a rather crispy solid, it blends up very easily when mixed with water.
Try this green smoothie:
Easy ways to up your protein
A smoothie is the perfect opportunity to add extra protein into your diet.
According to webmd.com, the average adult needs between 46g – 56g of protein per day. For some people, protein comes from meats, chicken and fish. But there are plenty of other ways to add protein rich foods, and many of them can easily be blended right into your smoothies.
To start, there’s protein powders. Protein powders easily mix into smoothies, adding a high concentration of protein into your drink. Protein powders come in a wide range of flavors, from basic vanilla to peanut butter to cake batter and beyond.
A simple and easy smoothie recipe is to blend ice, milk and protein powder together for a thick, milkshake like drink in whatever flavor you want.
Don’t feel like buying protein powder? No problem. There are plenty of other protein packed foods that you can blend into your smoothies.
Add thick and creamy protein
Making your smoothie with milk is already a step in the right direction. Milk is packed with protein, as well as other fantastic nutrients. To step up the protein and make your smoothie an even thicker texture, add some yogurt into your smoothie mixture.
While some people don’t enjoy the thicker texture of Greek yogurt, it typically has more protein and less sugar than plain yogurt. When blended into a smoothie, the texture is typically smoothed out and more enjoyable. To avoid adding excess sugar into your smoothies, stick with plain yogurts rather than flavored ones.
Speaking of texture, adding two table spoons of peanut butter to your smoothie will add about 7 grams of protein and makes it thick and creamy. Try chopping a small banana into a cup of milk. Add two tablespoons of peanut butter and two tablespoons of cocoa powder and blend everything together. In this simple and easy smoothie, you’re drinking over 16 grams of protein.
Using almond butter instead of peanut butter typically doubles your protein per serving.
Nuts and seeds for protein
Most seeds and nuts are packed with protein and other beneficial nutrients, like fiber and fatty acids. While a great addition to any smoothie, adding seeds can be overwhelming to a smoothie novice.
I suggest that you start small when adding seeds to smoothies, as too many seeds can cause the texture to seem gritty. Some protein packed seeds that are easy additions to smoothies are chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
Nuts like walnuts, peanuts and almonds can also be blended into smoothies for added benefits. I recommend that you blend the nuts on their own before mixing in your other smoothie ingredients. That way you can be sure all the nuts get ground up evenly.
Another protein packed smoothie ingredient is oats. Oats pack a whopping 11 grams of protein per cup. Maybe you already knew that oats were awesome for you, but did you know you could blend them into your smoothie for added oomph?
Try this easy and healthy banana oat smoothie recipe
You can also try adding cooked oatmeal to your smoothie. This will give you the benefits of oats and a thick, creamy texture.
Pro Tips and Tricks
Smoothies are the perfect forum for experimentation. There are an endless number of ways to combine flavors and textures to make easy and filling drinks.
Here are a few tips and tricks for making even better smoothies.
Use frozen fruits in place of ice cubes. The end result won’t be as watery and the smoothie will be thicker overall. Berries and chopped bananas work great for this.
Prepare single serving, ready to blend packages for even easier smoothie making. Combine ingredients in Ziplock bags and freeze them for grab-and-go smoothies.
If frozen fruit isn’t your style, try freezing milk into ice cube trays. Use the frozen cubes in replace of adding milk and ice to your smoothie. This will keep your smoothie from becoming too watery and give it a milkshake-like texture.
For early mornings (or mornings that follow late nights), put all your ingredients into your blender ahead of time and then put the entire thing in the fridge. That way when you’re ready to blend, you don’t have to worry about measuring ingredients or making a mess. Simply take the pitcher out of the fridge and hit the start button.
Smoothies are a quick and convenient way to get nutrition on the go. Smoothies also provide an easy base for creating nutrient dense drinks that are easy and healthy. Whether you’re looking to add hidden servings of vegetables to your morning routine or pack extra protein into your day, there’s a smoothie recipe for you!