Smoothie Queen. It’s what my friends call me. It’s a name I wear as a badge of honor because—not to toot my own horn or anything—I make a pretty mean smoothie. Banana, mango, kale, almond butter, hemp seeds and almond milk…you can thank me later. Beets, blueberries, banana, coconut water, chia seeds and almond milk…you won’t believe your taste buds. Over the years, as I’ve perfected my smoothie science, I’ve learned a few tricks. First, you MUST invest in a good blender. Whether it’s a Vitamix (my personal fave), Ninja, or something else, spend the money now so you don’t have to drink chunky smoothies later.
Second, you gotta play around with ingredients. Sure, you could drink the same smoothie every day but where is the fun in that? By experimenting with different mix-ins, you’ll open yourself up to new tastes—and health benefits. Here are some of my favorite super-packed smoothie additions that you may or may not have heard of, but the perks (Brighter skin! Stronger nails! Increased energy!) will turn you into believers.
1. Hemp Seeds
Known as one of nature’s most nutritious seeds, these little powerhouses are packed with protein, healthy Omega-3s and magnesium, and are said to help with skin disorders like eczema, aid in digestion and reduce PMS and menopause symptoms. Bonus: They add a delicious nutty flavor when blended into smoothies. If you’re not in the mood for a smoothie, I also love these sprinkled on top of salads or pastas.
2. Grass-Fed, Pasture-Raised Collagen Powder
Searching for the perfect powder that will add protein, but won’t add chalky flavor? Consider your search over. This stuff literally has NO taste when mixed with liquids so you won’t get any weird aftertaste. Adding scoops of this collagen to your smoothie will promote youthful skin, healthier hair, stronger nails and aid in joint health.
3. PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter
Love the flavor of peanut butter but don’t want the added calories? Enter powdered peanut butter. This stuff has 85-percent less calories than traditional peanut butter. And while it doesn’t have the texture of real PB, it does have all the flavor. A few scoops into your smoothie will give you a little protein boost, too.
4. Bee Pollen
Yes, you read that right. Pollen collected from bees is your next favorite smoothie addition. Rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, bee pollen is said to increase energy, boost your immune system and aid in digestion. These little granules are a perfect smoothie topper because they’re crunchy and slightly sweet. Plus, it’ll looks cool in your #smoothie Instagram pic.
5. Maca Powder
Used for endurance by the Inca warriors, this root is a true superfood. Extra energy, balanced hormones and increased fertility are just some of the benefits maca enthusiasts claim. Plus, it tastes like butterscotch, so it’s the perfect mixed in to dessert-like smoothies (and baked goods!).
6. Cacao Nibs
I’ve already expressed my love for cacao nibs here (http://www.bravotv.com/blogs/paleo-diet-snacks-you-can-eat?cid=soc_dg_fb_MostWanted) and while I love to eat them by straight by the handful, I also love them on top of my smoothies for added crunch. In addition to the benefit of delicious chocolate flavor, these nibs will give you health benefits from extra antioxidants, iron and magnesium (which is good for a healthy heart and brain!).
7. Cacao Powder
Made from the same cacao beans that the nibs come from, cacao powder is a healthy alternative to conventional cocoa. A natural antidepressant, the powder is also chock full of antioxidents and iron—perfect for vegans and vegetariants. I love to combine it with frozen banana, peanut butter, cold brew, and almond milk–tastes like a chocolate milk shake!
8. Chia Seeds
These tiny seeds pack a big punch in protein, fiber and omega-3s—but with very few calories, making them a great choice for those on a weight-loss crusade. And they’re perfect for smoothies because they absorb liquid, making your smoothies nice and thick.
9. Flax Seeds
High in soluble fiber (to keep things moving) and omega-3s (to reduce inflammation in the body), you can’t go wrong by boosting your smoothie’s nutritional content with these seeds.
10. Rolled Oats
Forget oatmeal. Blend rolled oats into your smoothie! It’ll make your smoothie nice and thick and help keep you full until lunchtime.
11. Sunflower Seed Butter
Move over, peanut butter. Catch ya later, almond butter. There’s a new “butter” in smoothie town and its nut-free, gluten-free and filled with vitamin E. Its roasted flavor is perfect blended with blackberries, almond milk, cinnamon, and ice.
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