There is only so much holiday pie one can consume before the body starts to crave good, natural food. What better way to lean into healthful eating this New Year than to pack as many fruits and vegetables as possible into one meal as a satisfying smoothie?
But look beyond the traditional staples like bananas, nut butters and frozen fruit, and add new ingredients that are low in calories and high in nutritional benefits to take your smoothies to the next level. From super seeds to steamed vegetables, experiment with these approachable boosts for extra protein and fiber to start your day. For best results, keep all fresh ingredients frozen or very cold.
Ground Flax Seeds
Per tablespoon, these mighty seeds are a great source of protein, fiber and omega-3s. In order to coax the maximum amount of nutritional benefit from this ingredient, try pulsing the seeds in a clean spice or coffee grinder until a coarse meal forms. Pre-ground flax seeds are easy to find, but they are typically more expensive and spoil faster than whole seeds.
A very powerful carbohydrate, chia seeds are high in antioxidants and low in calories. When exposed to liquid, these little seeds expand into filling, fiber-rich “pebbles” that are ideal for balancing the sugars in a smoothie.
Add old-fashioned oats to a smoothie for a protein-packed (and gluten-free) base that is sure to fill you up. Add cooked and cooled oatmeal directly to the smoothie base, or blend raw oats in the body of the blender and pulse until they form a coarse meal. This will allow you to break up the oats without over-blending the entire smoothie.
Similar to flax and chia, these seeds are protein-rich and packed with plenty of nutrients. Hemp seeds add texture and a boost of natural vitamins without adding a significant flavor profile or calories. Keep hemp seeds in the freezer to avoid spoiling.
Frozen baby spinach and chopped kale add a boost of nutrients and a healthy dose of greens to a smoothie. To bulk up the smoothie with even more vegetables, try adding steamed and frozen cauliflower, carrots, beets or sweet potato chunks. Be sure to balance your veggies with equal parts frozen fruit to please the palate.
Plain, full-fat Greek yogurt is an excellent source of protein, ideal for rounding out the body of a smoothie. Greek yogurt pairs well with just about any fruit without adding a significant amount of sugar.
Pineapple and Greens Smoothie
Bursting with tropical flavors, this sweet smoothie is balanced with filling chia seeds and protein-rich Greek yogurt. Be sure to add ingredients in the order listed; this smoothie’s consistent texture relies on layering the tougher ingredients closer to the blade.
1 T. chia seeds
1 T. hemp seeds
1 c. fresh baby spinach
¼ c. plain Greek yogurt
½ c. frozen pineapple chunks
1 medium banana (frozen)
½ c. cold coconut water
- Add ingredients to the blender in the order listed, starting with chia seeds.
- Blend on high until smooth. Pour into a glass, and serve.
Pulse the oats and flax seeds into a coarse meal before adding the wet ingredients for a super smooth “milkshake” that’s packed with protein and fiber.
¼ c. old fashioned oats
1 T. ground flax seeds
6 oz. frozen strawberries
1 small frozen banana
¼ c. Greek yogurt
½ c. unsweetened oat milk
2 T. granola of choice (if desired)
- Add oats and flax seeds to blender and pulse for 3 seconds at a time until a coarse meal forms.
- Add remaining ingredients, and blend on high until smooth. Pour into a tall glass, and top with granola if desired.
Story, recipes & photography by Rachel Johnson