Tasty Bites: Four Superfoods You Can Hide in Your Smoothie

Written By Carol Johnson

“A smoothie a day can keep the pain away!” Maybe not an everyday saying, but it could be. A basic smoothie typically consists of berries, bananas and milk. There are tons of variations, and the kind of fruit you choose changes the flavor significantly to suit your mood. Smoothies make great pre- and post-workout snacks because the blended consistency is very digestible and the simple carbs provide needed energy. Here are four foods you should consider adding to make your smoothie work harder for you- now THAT’S a switch!

Dark Leafy Greens Fiber-rich carbohydrates like spinach and kale are an excellent source of calcium, vitamins and minerals. They have a very low glycemic index and do not add unnecessary calories to your smoothie. Add a big handful of leafy greens to each smoothie and I will bet you won’t notice the taste. If storage of leafy greens is a concern due to space or fridge-life, you can either buy frozen greens or use a food processor to lightly chop the greens and freeze them in a gallon-sized bag. Make sure to pack your chopped greens loosely if you choose to freeze; this will make it much easier to add to your smoothie in the morning.

Superfood Serving Size Calories Fat Sat Fat Carbs Fiber Protein Calcium
Spinach 1 cup 7 0 g 0 g 1 g 1 g 1 g 3%
Kale 1 cup 18 0 g 0 g 3 g 1 g 1 g 8%

Chia Seeds These little guys have been the joke of the gag-gift world since most of us were kids, but now they are the latest superfood trend! Chia is actually a South American plant belonging to the mint family. Most often compared with flaxseed, the chia seed has the advantage because it doesn’t need to be ground to be digestible. White chia, in particular, has high levels of both soluble and insoluble fiber and is an excellent source of Omega-3’s, great for reducing inflammation, and thereby reducing your recovery time. Chia also contains protein and antioxidants and is high in magnesium, potassium, calcium and iron. These nutrients are particularly well-suited to supporting post-training recovery. Chia absorbs 9-12 times its weight in water, so be prepared to add extra liquid to offset that or use a smoothie spoon. Also, chia does add calories so don’t go overboard unless you need the extra boost.

Superfood Serving Size Calories Fat Sat Fat Carbs Fiber Protein Calcium
Chia Seeds 1 T 60 5 g 0 g 5 g 5 g 2 g 8%

Coconut Water Speaking of liquids, there are many alternatives to dairy products in your smoothie. Fruit juice should be avoided because of the high sugar content which will spike your blood sugar. Soy milk and almond milk are great options and will make a subtle change to the flavor of your smoothie, hopefully in a good way! Perhaps one of the best base liquids to add is Coconut Water. Coconut water is full of electrolytes without the added sugars and additives of common sports drinks. Coconut milk* is an alternative if you are picky about smoothie consistency, but consider the added calories below:

TIP: Add the frozen fruit and water or milk the evening before and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. This will ease the load on the blades of your blender as the fruit is thawed.
Superfood Serving Size Calories Fat Sat Fat Carbs Fiber Protein Calcium
Coconut Milk 1 cup 80 5 g 5 g 7 g 0 g 1 g 45%
Coconut Water 1 cup 46 0 g 0 g 9 g 3 g 2 g 6%

*Please note this refers to Silk Plain Coconut Milk, NOT the stuff in the can used for yummy curry.

Broccoli Sprouts Likely the most nutrient-dense food of any on this list, broccoli sprouts are enzymatically alive and provide high net-gain nutrition with minimal energy cost through their pre-digested proteins and bio-available amino acids. Your body does not use much energy to digest sprouts, leaving that energy for a fast recovery. Broccoli sprouts also regulate your body’s pH; low pH/highly acidic bodies have a harder time fighting off injury and illnesses than high alkaline bodies. I have found that broccoli sprouts will make my smoothie taste pretty “green”, but I’ve gotten used to it and the health benefits far outweigh the altered taste.

Superfood Serving Size Calories Fat Sat Fat Carbs Fiber Protein Calcium
Broccoli Sprouts 1 cup 35 1 g 0 g 5 g 4 g 2 g 6%

Recipe Experiment with different amounts of your smoothie ingredients to find the flavor you like best. There are many recipes available online, or you can start with my recipe:

Yield: Approx two 1.5 cup servings (225 calories, 8g protein each)

Add ingredients in this order and blend until smooth:

TIP: An immersion blender (“stick” blender) is a great alternative to a full-sized blender. Smaller and lighter, immersion blenders will chop through most everything except very frozen items.

1.5 cups organic frozen blueberry/raspberry blend
1 cup unsweetened almond/coconut milk blend
1T ground flax seed
1T chia seed
2 cups organic frozen spinach (“made” in the method described above)
1 cup fresh broccoli sprouts
2 med or 1 large greenish banana*

*Green bananas have less sugar than ripe ones.

Posted in Volume 1.2
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