Unless you have a serious aversion to brain freezes, a smoothie can be the perfect way to get a bunch of nutrients in a single delicious serving. And there’s such a wide range of things that can go in a smoothie, which means a smoothie can satisfy just about anyone’s taste buds while delivering essential vitamins and minerals.
You probably know the basics of what goes into a smoothie: probably frozen fruit, fruit juice or dairy for a base, maybe half a banana for thickness, and perhaps a protein supplement. But there are so many other ingredients that you can add to your smoothie, and not just the obviously healthy additions like spinach, chia seeds, nut butter, and vegetable juice. You can also go a little off the grid. Here are 3 lesser-known and highly nutritious foods that go well in smoothies.
Avocado (as a substitute for banana)
If you’re a lifelong banana blender, it may be hard to imagine what your smoothie would be like without a banana to thicken the drink. But avocados are a great alternative to bananas, because they have healthy fats, less sugar, and more protein, vitamins, and fiber. They make a smoothie super creamy and, as an added bonus, give it a healthy-looking green color.
Adding just 1 tablespoon of grated ginger to a smoothie not only increases its flavor, but also reduces intestinal gas and is known to relax the intestinal tract. Ginger has antioxidant effects and also helps reduce the nausea and vomiting that can be common during pregnancy. It can reduce swelling and inflammation, too. Make sure to check with your provider before you consume ginger during pregnancy, because for some women it can be unsafe at certain points in pregnancy.
Putting whole grains into a smoothie adds B vitamins, iron, magnesium, fiber, and niacin, among other nutrients. Whole grain oats can add texture to a smoothie and keep you fuller for longer. Cook the oatmeal first, let it cool, and then blend it into the smoothie.
Even if you consider yourself a smoothie expert, there are probably a few new tips that you have room for in your bag of tricks. It never hurts to air out an old recipe, and you might be surprised to find a new favorite!
- “Ch. 17: Nutrition During Pregnancy.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Apr 2015. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Whole grains: Healthy Options for a Healthy Diet.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, July 2014. Web.
- “What is ginger?” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Nov 2016. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “Cholesterol: Top foods to improve your numbers.” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jun 12 2015. Web.