10 Unusual Smoothie Add-Ins You Have to Try!
You probably have your a.m. milk-fruit-greens-plant protein smoothie routine down to a science and can make it in your sleep (and DO make it half asleep). Nothing wrong with that.
But there is a treasure trove of out-of-the-box smoothie hacks out there that can seriously hike up your shake’s nutritional mojo to soaring new heights.
These nutritionally dense Superfoods may not be widely known for their super smoothie prowess, but after experimenting with them for yourself, you’ll wonder why not. Try these blender mind benders to rapidly amp up the nutritional profile of your favorite smoothies.
10 Weirdly Awesome Healthy Ingredients You Should be Adding to Your Smoothies
- Beans. Yes. Beans. Unseasoned cooked beans like black beans, white beans and garbanzo beans have a surprisingly mild taste that can be easily masked in a smoothie (some raw cocoa and pureed dates do the trick nicely), while they seriously punch up the fiber, phytonutrient and protein status of your blend. And, once incorporated smoothly, beans also give your smoothie a nice thick creamy texture without the need for dairy or other fats.
- Sea veggies. Adding sea weeds to your smoothie like kelp powder, dulse flakes, chlorella or spirulina is an easy way to boost your intake of magnesium, potassium, folate, vitamin K, vitamin E, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, selenium, B complex vitamins, healthy fatty acids and protein. To ensure that their somewhat salty “ocean” taste doesn’t overpower your smoothie, add no more than ½ to 1 teaspoon. These actually work great in fruity and chocolatey smoothies, as the touch of salt actually serves to naturally enhance the contrasting sweet flavors.
- Squash. Steamed sweet potato or squashes like butternut, acorn, pumpkin or even zucchini pack in fiber and immune-enhancing antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C and magnesium into your smoothie. They make your smoothie feel far more filling and satiating for longer, while also giving your shake a beautifully light, whipped and creamy texture without the need for dairy or other fats.
- Kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented black tea that is rich in probiotics. It’s also slightly bubbly, which gives your smoothie a fun and interesting kick. You can buy kombucha ready-made from the store or can brew it up yourself with a self-starter kit that you can purchase at many health food stores.
- Fresh Herbs. You may have already cultivated your green thumb when it comes to cramming dark leafy greens into your smoothies. But one group of greens that often gets overlooked is members of the fresh herb family, which can add powerful detoxifying and antioxidant advantages to your smoothie as well. Herbs like cilantro, parsley and basil can also add a cool and invigorating freshness to your smoothie, pumping up its flavor and energy.
- Roots. Roots like beet, carrot, turmeric, ginger and maca harness incredible amounts of precious phytonutrients and antioxidants while also rich in flavor and incredible color. Play with complimentary flavor and color combinations that will rock your taste buds while powering up your health, like a summery orange mango turmeric smoothie, or a cinnamon apple ginger carrot cake smoothie, or a pinkalicious strawberry maca beet rhubarb smoothie.
- Matcha. Boost your metabolism, antioxidants and alertness by adding a teaspoon of green matcha to your smoothie. Matcha is a high-quality powder made of carefully dried and purified green tea leaves that fuses brilliantly with non-dairy mylks like coconut milk or other nut milks in smoothies.
- Mushrooms. Shroom shakes take advantage of the adaptogenic health properties of mushrooms. You can try adding a small amount of fresh or dried adaptogenic mushrooms to your smoothie like reishi, shiitake, or oyster mushrooms, or simple add a teaspoon of a mushroom infusion powder purchased from a health food store, which contains more exotic shrooms like agarikon, blazei, chaga, cordiceps, maitake and others.
- Mesquite flour. This powder is made from the seeds of a mesquite tree, which are rich in soluble fiber, many vitamins and minerals, and also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. The best part: mesquite adds a decadent caramel flavor to your smoothie that punches up its sweetness without the bad effects of sugar.
- Peels. Not just for your compost. Fruit and veggie peels are the unsung heroes of the health world. Many peels aren’t just edible, but some of them actually contain even more fiber, antioxidants and nutrients then the fruit and veggies they surround, while low in calories, fat and sugar. AND. They’re FREE! When using apples, citrus fruits, kiwi, cucumber, mango, banana, stone fruits, carrots, pears, or even watermelon in your smoothies, consider leaving the peel on when you toss them into your blender (but only do this when using a very powerful blender and organic produce, and wash the peel surfaces very well before blending).