Smoothies are a fast and easy-to-go meal. They’re great for breakfast, quick lunch, and post-workout snacks. To get the most out of your smoothie with regard to nutrition and taste, you’ll want to put in a little something extra. Sure, mango banana smoothies are delicious, but a few extra ingredients will increase the amount of protein and nutrients that you consume. Here are the top 5 ingredients to add.
Dark leafy greens
For people who don’t like to eat leafy greens, you can hide them in your smoothie to get all the benefits without actually tasting them. It’s totally understandable. Recent studies have shown that some people are genetically able to taste the bitter flavor in vegetables. Grab a handful of spinach or kale and set the blender on high.
It’s important to note that some vegetables should never be blended, juiced, or eaten raw because… well because they taste awful. These include broccoli, collard greens, bok choy, and Swiss chard. This is especially true for people who are sensitive to the bitterness of cruciferous vegetables. Don’t ruin a good smoothie, just stick to the spinach.
Nuts or nut butter
One problem with smoothies, even ones made with fresh fruit, is that they’re full of sugar. Fats and proteins are what triggers that feeling of being full. To fill up on a smoothie, balance out all that fruit sugar with nuts or nut butter. Almond butter is a good choice, but any nut butter will work. Make sure to buy ones that don’t have added sugar, you’ve already got plenty of that!
Spirulina is one of the best substitutes for leafy green vegetables. This seaweed is full of antioxidants and vitamins. You can buy spirulina in powder form and simply dump a scoop into the blender. This way of getting micronutrients won’t leave you with chunks of leaves in your drink. Of course, you want to make sure to eat other vegetables as part of your meal throughout the day for variety.
Unsweetened yogurt or skyr
Do you hate the way protein powder tastes? Try unsweetened yogurt or skyr instead! Both these dairy products contain protein that your body needs to rebuild muscles after a workout. They blend easily into a smoothie and give your drink a nice, creamy texture. The difference between yogurt and skyr is that the latter is made from skim milk and contains almost no fat.
You probably already make your smoothie with certain berries, but for a high dose of antioxidants and flavor, skip the other fruits and use all the berries. Strawberries and blueberries tend to make the smoothie sweeter, while raspberries and blackberries add tartness to the drink. To maximize sweetness, choose fresh, ripe or a-bit-over-ripe berries. They blend easier and taste better.
Smoothies contain less processed ingredients than meal replacement shakes or protein shakes. This means that they’re more nutritious. Add some or all of the ingredients in this list to your smoothie and you will never have to force-chug another chalky protein drink ever again!