Have you ever been to a smoothie place and read the “Add-in” menu wondering what half of those options are or if you NEED them? Well just because of the fancy sounding name or the fact that you’re in a health food place, doesn’t immediately mean that it is all beneficial. Some of the add ins could easily double your smoothie calorie intake. Though smoothies may be healthy, I’ve often heard of people trying to lose weight actually begin to gain when they start to incorporate smoothies into their diet. So here is the ultimate smoothie guide! Learn about common smoothie mistakes and what all what all these crazy smoothie ingredients actually mean!
Smoothie Making Tips:
#1 Pay attention to the sugar, even natural sugars count! Stick to a standard serving size of fruit. And avoid adding additional sweeteners, which include honey, agave and maple syurp.
#2 The serving size recommendation carries over to the other ingredients as well, as with fruit, pay attention to healthy fats- coconut oil, dates, avocado and nut butters, and smoothie add ins. No need to shy away from these healthy additions, just pay attention!
#3 Blend greens with your fruits to incorporate more vegetables into your diet and increase the fiber intake!
#4 Add in protein, either using natural protein powders or protein rich foods such as nut butters (moderation), soft tofu,or milk yogurt or cottage cheese (if you’re not dairy free).
#5 A well-balances smoothie is a meal replacement, not a snack. Snacks tend to have fewer calories than the typical smoothie. To compare, snacks should be around 100-200 calorie mark, and smoothies can be double that or more depending on the recipe.
“The Scoop” on Smoothie Add-ins
This is the original natural source of chocolate! Cacao is high in sulfur, magnesium and phenylethylamine and it is high in Flavonoids, making it a rich source of antioxidants.
What does this mean: Cacao reduces high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, constipation, diabetes, bronchial asthma, cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome and various neurodegenerative diseases. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular and brain health. And it improves mood, concentration, and alertness.
Tastes best with: Cacao and banana are a classic blend, if you want even more savory try it with nut butter.
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 30 Calories
This Amazonian superfood is loaded with vitamin C! It is said to have more vitamin C than any other food. It is also a good source of manganese and carotenoids (antioxidants/ helps fight disease amino acids).
What does this mean: Boosts the Immune System, Improves Liver Health, Enhances Mood, improves gum and heart health, and aging!
Tastes best with: Add it to any smoothie!
Serving Size: 1 Tsp., 20 Calories
- CHIA SEEDS
Rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals, and they are a rich source of antioxidents.
What does this mean: Chia can help with Skin and Aging, Digestive health, heart health, can treat diabetes, fights breast and cervical cancers, boosts energy and metabolism, builds strong bones and improves dental health, and it can aid in weight loss and muscle gain.
Tastes good with: Everything! You can add this in any smoothie.
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 60 Calories
Like Spirulina, this superfood is rich with phytonutrients, including amino acids, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium and the B-complex vitamins.
What does this mean: Detoxifies Heavy Metals, Radiation and Chemotherapy, supports immune system, promotes weight loss, slows down the aging process, fights cancers, and lowers blood sugar and cholesterol.
Tastes good with: Chlorella has a strong taste, try adding it to a smoothie with banana, coconut water, a flavored protein powder or even a bit of lime juice to help mask the taste.
Serving Size: 1 Tsp., 10 Calories
- FLAX SEEDS
Also called linseeds, can be brown, tan or golden-colored small seeds. They are the richest source of a plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid or ALA. High in antioxidants (lignans) and a rich source of fiber. Flax is also gluten free!
What does this mean: Improves digestion, promotes healthy skin and hair, lowers cholesterol, reduces sugar cravings, balances hormones and improves menopausal symptoms, fights cancer and aids with weight loss.
Tastes good with: Flax does not have a strong flavor and I recommend adding it to any smoothie if you feel you would benefit. Some recommend to use flax in a nutty smoothie for a smooth pairing.
Note: The seeds should be ground before putting it into a blender; some blended may be powerful enough, but I recommend using a coffee grinder or buying ground flax.
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 55 Calories
- GOJI BERRY POWDER
This antioxidant rich berry has been used in Chinese medicine for centuries. The berries are Low in calories, fat-free, and an excellent source of fiber, protein and antioxidants.
What does this mean: They provide high levels of antioxidants and nutrients which fight free radical damage and inflammation. They also Improve immune function and fight cancers, promote healthy skin, protect eye health, helps stabilize blood sugars, detoxifies liver, improves energy and balances mood, and boosts fertility.
Tastes good with: BERRIES!
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 50 Calories
The hemp plant, Cannabis sativa, has used for thousands of years for its strength as a fiber and for medicinal uses. Hemp is arguably the best source of vegan protein. It contains over 20 amino acids, including the nine essential amino acids that your body is unable to produce on its own and needs to obtain from other dietary sources. Hemp is also loaded with healthy omega fatty acids and fiber.
What does this mean: Increases Protein Intake, improves heart health, decreases risk of osteoporosis, cleanses the colon, reduces sugar cravings, and boosts the immune system.
Tastes good with: Use hemp like any other protein powder, the flavor is mild!
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 40 Calories
A rich source of phytonutrients and antioxidants. It has over 20 amino acids and 20 free form fatty acids. Maca is also a great source of calcium and contains more than milk!
What does this mean: Consuming maca often makes people feel more “alive” and energetic! It increases fertility in both men and women, balances hormones, boosts the immune system, increases energy, stamina, and improves sexual function, memory, and focus.
Tastes good with: Sweetens smoothies, so you can add Maca into a green smoothie to help balance the taste, but it also goes well with fruit!
Serving Size: 1 Tsp., 20 Calories
Moringa is an excellent source of protein, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and vitamin C. It is also a rich antioxidant!
What does this mean: Fights inflammation-related diseases, cancers, diabetes, and anemia. Improves joint pain and regulates arthritis, allergies and asthma. Improves constipation and stomach or intestinal spasms or ulcers. Helps reduce chronic headaches. Improves sex drive. Can help fight epilepsy and thyroid disorders. Improves cardiovascular health and blood pressure. Can help Kidney stones and fluid retention. Also helps with bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections
Tastes good with: Mix moringa with sweet fruits to mask the interesting taste. It is said to taste like a mix between horseradish and asparagus. But the small amount in a smoothie is undetectable if you mix it with sweet berries or mango.
Serving Size: 2 Tsp., 15 Calories
This blue-green algae is a freshwater plant has more essential amino acids than its cousin, Chlorella. It contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium and more essential vitamins and minerals.
What does this mean: Detoxes Heavy Metals (especially Arsenic), Eliminates Candida, Improves HIV/AIDS, Helps Prevent Cancer, Lowers Blood Pressure and cholesterol, reduces risk of strokes, boosts energy, speeds up weight loss, and alleviates sinus issues.
Tastes good with: This is the ultimate green smoothie add in for an extra boost!
Note: Store it in the refrigerator to the nutrients.
Serving Size: 1 Tbsp., 20 Calories