Raise your hand if you love smoothies! Smoothies are everywhere and for many good reasons.
With countless tasty combinations, a smoothie can be a satisfying meal replacement when made correctly, so you still have the right balance of nutrients to both nourish the body and keep you feeling full. However, if you overdo it on certain ingredients, you can end up with a smoothie that's more like a milkshake.
Some of these ingredients you may have heard of before and some may surprise you. No matter which combination you choose, you'll be on your way to creating a smoothie that is as nutritious and it is delicious.
1. Flaxseed Oil -- Add some healthy fats like omega-3s to your smoothie was a tablespoon or two of this nutty oil, produced from flax seeds. Look for a cold-pressed flaxseed oil, which keeps as much of the beneficial nutrients intact as possible, since the oil isn't processed at high temperatures. Next, make sure it comes in a dark bottle to block out light. Lastly, put it in the fridge to keep the oil fresh.
2. Peppers -- Who says a smoothie has to be sweet? With more and more people beginning their day with a green drink, there's no reason you can't add some heat to cut the taste of that kale. Peppers, like jalapenos, have capsaicin (the compound which gives them their heat) that can help ramp up your metabolism, so you burn more calories throughout the day. Start with a small amount or even a liquid extract. Weight loss smoothie anyone?
3. Coconut Oil -- Another great source of healthy fats is coconut oil, which adds a slightly sweet, nutty taste to your smoother as well as a rich texture. Try combining it with tropical fruits like mango or papaya for a more exotic flavor. A tablespoon or two is all you need to get this oils benefits. This oil will be opaque and solid at room temperature, but blends nicely with your other ingredients to a clump-free consistency.
4. Avocados -- Avocados seem like the food that can do no wrong and they can be. Avocados contain plenty of healthy fats, like essential fatty acids, but they also contain fiber. Fiber is especially important to include in your smoothie because it will help fill you up and keep those hunger pangs at bay until your next meal. The mild flavor and creamy texture will also make your smoothie seem more decadent. Just go easy -- an average avocado can contain around 300 calories.
5. Dark, Leafy Greens -- Kale and spinach are two great greens to throw into the blender. Providing vitamins and minerals like calcium, dark, leafy greens should be a staple in any smoothie maker's arsenal of ingredients. Throw in a handful to enjoy the energizing benefits and feel satiated for hours after. These greens can be bitter, but fear not, some berries or ginger (which we'll get to in a minute) can help cut the taste.
6. Berries -- A berry smoothie is probably among the first smoothies you had and with good reason. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries are brimming with antioxidants that fight free radical damage. That damage ages the body inside and out. Add a variety to your smoothie to sweeten it up and enjoy all the amazing benefits of antioxidants. Other great berries to get your hands on if you can are acai and goji berries, which are superfoods.
7. Chia Seeds -- Remember what we said about the fiber? Chia seeds swell and expand within liquid because they're packed with soluble and insoluble fiber that turns them to a gel-like consistency. Perfect for adding bulk as well as nutrition to your smoothie, chia seeds have a very mild flavor and plenty of omega-3 essential fatty acids. You can grind them into a meal if you want before adding for a smoother texture.
8. Protein Powder -- Protein makes your smoothie more satisfying, especially after a workout. Protein also supports the development of lean muscle mass, which burns more calories at rest. That's right, more weight loss benefits. Choose any flavor you like and pair it with fruits, vegetables, Greek yogurt, almond milk or whatever else suits your fancy. Protein shakes are typically used for meal replacement, so make sure you have carbohydrates, fat and fiber in the mix, too.
9. Raw Honey -- A great way to sweeten up your smoothie is with some raw honey, which also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory benefits. This kind of honey isn't processed like the shiny stuff in the bear, leaving it thicker in consistency with more matte, opaque appearance. That being said, it'll blend perfectly into your smoothie and can help counteract the bitterness of veggies.
10. Ginger -- One of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatories, ginger also supports proper digestion and helps settle the stomach. Grate some fresh ginger root when you can get your hands on it or use a pinch of dried ginger to get the benefits, just start small, since the flavor is very strong. Not only will your smoothie taste great, your stomach, heart and immune system will thank you.
Start making better smoothies with quality ingredients from eVitamins. Let us know your favorite combination!