I’ve written a little about smoothies here at It’s a Love/Love Thing, because smoothies were a recent addition to our morning routine in 2013. We love them! They are a quick, simple way to round out a family breakfast, and even our one-year old daughter can enjoy them with us! They are fun and kids can get involved in choosing what goes in them, which is always a good thing.
Today I just wanted to give you our favorite smoothie add-ins, so you can try something new or take your smoothies to the next level.
…That’s What Smoothies Are Made Of
Generally, smoothies consist of a few basic elements:
- the base, or the liquid that helps blend everything together
- fruit or vegetables, added in for flavor and health benefits
- ice or frozen fruits/veggies, added in to lower the temperature and make the smoothie more refreshing
- lastly, what I call Superchargers: extremely beneficial foods or supplements that will boost any smoothie, and therefore: YOU!
Begin with the Basics
Every smoothie needs a base. Surely you’re making your smoothie to add a healthy beverage to your day, so you’ll want to make your base healthy, as well!
Popular Choices for Bases
This can be your favorite choice of milk. My children are allergic to dairy for now, so we go with canned or homemade coconut milk. (Learn how to make your own fresh coconut milk.) I personally don’t recommend commercial nut or rice milks – they are full of anti-nutrients. And please hear me when I say: try your best to stay away from soy milk! But, I know from experience: work with what you have. Any step toward health is a step in the right direction!
Kefir is sort of a thinner version of yogurt. It is made from some type of milk and contains up to 35 different strains of beneficial bacteria. It has a tangy flavor, also like yogurt, and it is very healthy for you.
>>Learn how to make kefir.
>>Learn how to make dairy-free coconut kefir here.
>>Here’s a simple guide to yogurt and kefir.
Water kefir is also a fermented beverage. It is sparkly and fizzy and filled with heavenly enzymes, vitamins, and again, beneficial bacteria. It will add a nice tang to any smoothie. Don’t make water kefir the whole base though, unless you are used to drinking larger amounts.
>>Learn how to make your own water kefir.
Along the same lines as water kefir, you can add Kombucha as a base. Kombucha is another fermented beverage (can you tell we love fermenting around here?) which contains Same thing goes, don’t use too much unless your body is used to it.
We’re all familiar with yogurt! Back in the days when we could have dairy, I loved the plain Bavarian style I found at the grocery store. I’m sorry to stay, the popular commercially flavored and sweetened yogurt will not do you any favors. But if you can find the plain stuff, this makes a great smoothie add-in.
You can always add plain water to a smoothie, although it will render it a little less flavorful. But if it’s all you have, then go for it! Except try to stay away from plain tap water. (Where to find water filters)
If you have some pure fruit juice on hand, feel free to add a small amount. Please don’t add too much or make the entire base consist of fruit juice – that is simply too much sugar. But a little can add a nice flavor.
Fruit and Vegetable Add-Ins
Here’s where you can let your mind run wild! (How often do you hear that, really?) Here are just a few to get you started:
- Love blueberries? Toss ’em in!
- Raspberries on sale last week at the grocery store? Go for it.
- Quarter an apple or a pear
- Please always add a banana – bananas are perfect for smoothies, sweet and thickening! The riper they are, the healthier they are.
- Yes, you can even add some of that leftover watermelon!
- Peaches and nectarines make a heavenly smoothie
- We LOVE to add fresh mango
- And we also LOVE fresh BEET!
- I think you get the idea. . .
The Big Chill
Do you remember that old movie from the ’80s? Yeah, me neither. But! You need a little something cold to really kick up the refreshment level of your smoothie. Here are a few ideas:
- Plain ol’ ice – betcha didn’t know that ice is just really cold water. Yep. Easy but less flavorful – add a cup or so if that’s your thing.
- Frozen fruit is always a flavorful chiller, it’s nice to buy frozen fruit on sale or freeze any bulk fruit you can get your hands on. We like to buy the big bags of frozen fruit from our local warehouse membership store.
- One of my favorites: Leftover Smoothie Cubes
- Also, Frozen Greens
- If you have some homemade ice cream laying around, toss it in! Here’s a great homemade ice cream tutorial. And here’s a coconut milk-based vanilla bean ice cream tutorial.
Superchargers really boost your smoothie. In fact, these are the reason I make smoothies: they are the easiest way to get these high-quality supplements into your or your children’s diets, all in one fell swoop. Choose one, or a couple, or more each time you make a smoothie. Play around with them and see which ones are your favorites. I would take it slowly, though. Since they are very nutrient-rich, you want to add a little at a time.
You may balk at the price of some of these superchargers, but rest assured they are worth every penny, and most of them will last you many, many months as you will mostly be taking them in small doses. They are worth it.
Yes, you probably knew I was going to mention gelatin. Gelatin is your friend! Here’s a great post on the health benefits of gelatin. It will really thicken a smoothie quickly, so add one tablespoon at the most per 4 cups of smoothie so that your smoothie will still fit through a straw. It’s pretty tasteless. This is a great way to add protein to your smoothie, especially if you can’t have dairy, nuts, or eggs. You definitely need protein in there to help balance the sugar you’re adding from the fruit. Here’s the best brand.
Another great source of healthy protein and fat to add to a smoothie. Half an avocado will thicken it up and leave very little flavor lingering. Here are 15 things you didn’t know about avocados.
Please, please please add this wonderful fat to every smoothie you make. Are you afraid fat will make you fat? Nothing could be more wrong. Fat is a fuel, and your body needs it to feel full. (Read Eat Fat, Lose Fat for more information.) If you get your body’s fat requirements in, you’re less likely to binge on carbs later on.
Plus, and this is important, your body needs fat to assimilate the nutrients you feed it. Read: eat healthy fat with every meal and most snacks. Coconut oil is a great option. Always buy virgin or extra virgin – they are the same thing. (where to buy coconut oil)
I’d start with a tablespoon at first per 4 cups of smoothie and work your way up to more eventually.
Along the same lines, you can also add coconut flakes (unsweetened), or coconut butter – learn how to make your own coconut butter.
Green powders generally consist of super healthy dried greens and algae such as wheatgrass, chlorella, and spirulina. Here’s a link to a green powder I used to use; however, we bought some bulk wheatgrass powder at our local grocery store so we add a teaspoon in with our smoothies.
Watch out for consuming too many raw greens due to high oxalic acid content. Wheatgrass is best because it doesn’t have as much as the others, so that is what we use.
Looking to get more minerals into your diet? Trying to heal your teeth? Then trace minerals are your friend. Actually, they’re everyone’s friend. We need them to survive! Add several drops to each smoothie. (where to find trace mineral drops)
Protein powders can be hit or miss. I would never recommend whey protein isolates. They are not good for your body. I highly recommend this one. I actually can’t recommend it enough: it was one of the key factors in healing a cavity from a surgery site infection I suffered from earlier this year. This was the ticket to regrowing my tissue. It is super healthy.
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Yes, you can even add a small splash of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar to your smoothies for a nice tang. Don’t go overboard, about a tablespoon will do ya, if you’re making several cups’ worth of smoothie.
Are you brave enough for this one? Here’s more information if you’re interested. Do not use commercial eggs for this one, only healthy happy eggs from healthy happy hens. And avoid consuming raw egg whites without the yolk. Yolks only are fine, and so full of wholesome, healing nutrition. Good way to use up some eggs if you have laying hens.
I want to reiterate: please don’t throw all of these supplements together into one smoothie and expect it to taste good. Just pick a few and work from there.
The End. Or is it just the beginning?
What did I leave out?
Let me know your favorite smoothie add-ins in the comments section. Here’s to healthy, supercharged smoothies – and bodies!
Reader Supercharger Contributions
Can I suggest fresh grated ginger. I have been grating 1 TBSP in my morning smoothies. It really helps my tummy issues.
Ginger is amazing! And A. is right – ginger is renowned for easing tummy issues. It’s very anti-inflammatory, and even helpful in fighting colds, arthritis, and even cancer! Thanks, A.!
Anything else to add, dear readers?
This is the end. For real.
To end this post (for real this time) I want to direct you to this real food search portal. Simply type in “smoothie” and you’ll end up with gads of healthy smoothie recipes. Have fun!
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