Whether you drink them each day, enjoy them once in a while, or have never tried them before, smoothies are perfect for summer. For starters, they’re often made with ice or cold ingredients, so they’re the perfect treat to beat the summer heat. But beyond that, when packed with healthy, superfood ingredients, smoothies are an easy way to take in lots of great vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in a flavor-filled easy to drink snack or meal.
Need proof of even more benefits? Sure! If you’re a picky eater, which means your meals may lean low on veggies, blending them in with fruit is a great way to take in the fiber-rich and nutrient-dense produce a healthy body needs. Maybe you’re trying to take in more protein–after all it’s an essential building block of muscle. You could increase your lean meats and cottage cheese intake, but sometimes that’s just too much food over the course of a day to sustain. A smoothie packed with protein can help you stay full while at the same time not feeling stuffed.
When supplementing your meal plan with smoothies, it’s important to fill them up with quality foods. If you’ve been using or have considered pre-packaged smoothies or smoothies made at fast food restaurant, be sure to know what you’re taking in. Some of these can essentially be sugary, fat-laden beverages that are the nutritional equivalent to a can of soda. That’s where superfoods come to the rescue.
As you likely already know, superfoods are essentially nutrient powerhouses, loaded with antioxidants, polyphenols, vitamins and more to keep your body at it’s best while helping to fight off illness and disease. While there are many foods that grace this list, the following are good to keep on hand if you’re going to up your smoothie intake:
Berries: No matter which you pick, studies report that blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and more are a natural way to reduce the effects of aging while also improving your heart health. When they’re in season, get them at your local farmers’ market. Otherwise, buy bags of frozen fruit that won’t go bad as fast.
Greek yogurt: Talk about protein! Plain Greek yogurt (that means no added fruit, sugar, or flavoring), can provide about 10-15 grams of protein per serving.
Spinach: In just a little leaf, your whole body can benefit when eating spinach. Dark leafy greens like spinach help improve bone, skin, and hair health, while also providing protein and iron. If spinach is too bitter for your liking, smoothies are the solution as the color will be the only way you know there are veggies lurking within.
Chia seeds: Looking to take in more fiber without eating bowls of cardboard-like cereal? Add low calorie chia seeds, whose carb count is made up almost entirely of fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, but even better, will help you feel less hungry longer.
Avocado: In addition to an amazing silky smooth texture to your blended beverage, avocado adds healthy fats your body needs to keep hormones regulated. Make avocado a staple in your superfood diet, and you’ll glean the benefits of glowing skin and satisfied tummy, too.
Smoothie recipes are endless online, which is a great place to start for beginners. But to really help your body be its best, focus less on fixed recipes and more on the healthy foods your body is craving. When your body is in need of a vitamin, mineral, or nutrient, it usually shoots off a flair in the way of hunger. Listen to what your body needs, and balance it with healthy proteins, carbs, and fats. Throw it all in a blender, and you have a snack or meal that can actually improve your health and keep you on track with fat-burning goals.
What’s in your favorite smoothie? Share with others in the comments!