UAB Medicine News


Put These 5 Things in Your Blender for the Perfect Smoothie

Busy moms on the go often need a quick breakfast or lunch, but they also need energy to keep up with their hectic family schedules. Smoothies can be a quick and easy snack or light meal, but not all smoothies are created equal. While some are all sugar and calories, the ideal smoothie features a nutritional blend that’s just as healthy as any sit-down meal.

This article highlights the top five ingredients of a perfect smoothie, including the best options for protein, antioxidants, fiber, carbs, and healthy fat. So pull out your blender and give it a whirl the next time you need nutrition in a hurry!
  1. Protein options: Nearly every good meal replacement smoothie contains protein, which helps sustain energy levels throughout the day, heals the body after injury or stress, and promotes good hormonal and weight balance. But contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to eat a big steak or chicken breast to get the protein your body needs to perform at its best. An easy way to add some protein into your smoothie is to toss in a scoop of whey, soy, or hemp powder. Spirulina, which is a nutrient-dense type of blue-green algae, also is a great source of protein that works well in smoothies. Greek yogurt, raw nut butter, and soft tofu are other options for giving your favorite smoothie recipe a protein boost.
  2. Fruits with antioxidants: One of the easiest ingredients to add to your smoothie is antioxidants, because these free radical-fighting nutrients are found in many fruits and veggies. Berries are famously good options for getting your daily dose of antioxidants, so feel free to put some blueberries, strawberries, and cherries into your blender. Other fruits with high antioxidant contents include mangoes, plums, oranges, and grapes. If you’re interested in making a green smoothie, you can get antioxidants by adding broccoli, spinach, or kale to your blender.
  3. Fiber sources: Fiber is important in meal replacement smoothies because it keeps the digestive system functioning well and helps avoid bloating and indigestion. Seeds are ultimately the way to go when you’re looking to add a little extra fiber into your smoothie routine. Chia seeds and flaxseeds are two of the best choices; just one tablespoon of seeds is perfect for making a fiber-rich smoothie on the go. Wheat germ is another good option for adding some fiber to your smoothie.
  4. Healthy carbs: Carbohydrates give the body energy, which is why they belong in nutritious smoothie recipes. Carbs also play an important role in regulating the metabolism and the thyroid and adrenal glands. Fortunately, you don’t need to add a slice of bread to your smoothie to make it rich in healthy carbs and gain these health benefits. Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries contain carbs. Bananas also work great in smoothies and go with pretty much any smoothie recipe. In addition to carbs, a banana in your smoothie adds potassium, vitamin B6, and some natural sweetness.
  5. Healthy fats: Some people look at fat as the enemy when it comes to daily eating, but healthy fats are an essential part of every diet. Healthy fats actually boost the metabolism to help the body get rid of unhealthy fat, they store energy, and they protect our vital organs. You can get a dose of healthy fat by adding ingredients rich in omega-3, such as olive oil, flax oil, coconut oil, or omega-3 fish oil. Avocados also work well in smoothie recipes that are both savory and sweet. Add a quarter of an avocado per smoothie serving for a creamy and decadent treat that’s rich in healthy fats.
Pro Tips: Now that you have a better understanding of healthy smoothie ingredients, here are a few more things in mind. Every good smoothie starts with a healthy base, such as cow’s milk, nut milk, water, kefir, or juice. Many people also use flavor enhancers to make their smoothies more interesting, but stick to herbs and spices with health benefits, such as turmeric, ginger, or mint. If you’re craving something sweet, smoothies are an excellent way to curb a sweet tooth in a healthy way. Simply add a little natural honey, a few dates, or some extra pieces of ripe fruit to your blender as an alternative to binging on a chocolate bar or ice cream.

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