There’s no better way to beat the summer heat than with a slushy, nutritious, core-cooling smoothie. Starting your morning with one of these concoctions, or knocking one back during the day as a healthy snack, provides a vibrant burst of get-up-and-go while helping you to meet (painlessly, some would say) your recommended fruit and vegetable quota. If your blending routine starts to grow tired, here are some great smoothie-spiking suggestions to, ahem, mix things up.
Not only can a serving of oatmeal introduce a bold new dimension to your smoothie, but you get an added dose of soluble fiber that has been linked to reduced cholesterol and other health benefits. If you’re blending with unsweetened almond milk instead of cow’s milk for the lower calorie and carb count, oatmeal can help make up the protein you lose while providing antioxidant vitamin E and heart-healthy unsaturated fats.
2. Coconut Water
Coconut water gives the banana more than a run for its money when it comes to potassium, helping you hydrate and replenish electrolytes during the hot summer months. Extracted from young, green coconuts – which aren’t exactly blendable – this is a low-calorie means of infusing your smoothie with refreshing, nutty goodness.
3. Greek Yogurt
Try thickening your smoothie with creamy, delicious and highly nutritious Greek yogurt. Your smoothie’s fruit content will help to cut the yogurt’s tartness, and you’ll benefit from its calcium, potassium, zinc and vitamins B6 and B12, not to mention up to double the amount of protein as regular yogurts, which helps to keep you feeling full as you get on with your day.
Enhance the smoothness of a veggie-based smoothie with velvety avocado – a hearty source of vitamins and minerals, including energy promoting B vitamins and antioxidant good-for-your-vision lutein, as well as fiber and nourishing mono-unsaturated fats that can help lower bad cholesterol.
5. Chia Seeds
These nutrient-dense seeds are another great way to jazz up your smoothie’s consistency while pumping you full of anti-inflammatory omega-3s. As an alternative, swap them out for fiber-rich, heart-healthy flaxseeds.
6. Peanut Butter
A tablespoon of peanut butter, loaded with protein, healthy fats and phytochemicals, can add a punch of wholesome deliciousness to your smoothie, making it well worth the extra calories. Treat yourself!
7. Exotic fruits
A luscious boost to your smoothie in the form of acai berries provides a shot of dietary bioactives, recognized for having cell-protecting properties. Pomegranate, papaya, pumpkin and dragon fruit are among other fruits ascribed with “super” powers that are packed with vitamin C.
Remember it only takes a small dose of these tasty additions to enhance the nutrition of your smoothie. Use these tips to help power through or recover from your daily exercise routine!