Add These 5 Superfoods to Your Smoothie to Boost Nutrients and Stay Full
On busy mornings, it’s not uncommon to skimp on the fruit and veggies and reach for simple carbs for breakfast -- which may be vegan but they are not necessarily healthy. (Hello, bagel we are looking at you.) That’s exactly why adding so-called “superfoods” can be a fix: They get their super status by packing in more nutrients per ounce than regular foods.
When you reach for the blender to make your next smoothie, add these nutrients to kick up your energy, speed metabolism and feel fuller from the fiber and density they provide. Who—aside from Popeye—has ever had time or inclination to throwback multiple handfuls of raw spinach every day? If you’re still working on upping your intake of leafy greens, the easiest way to add more into your diet is by sneaking them in your smoothies.
“Adding these five superfoods to your smoothies is a simple way to boost your intake of nutrient-dense foods when following a vegan diet,” says Karla Moreno-Bryce, RD, owner of Nutritious Vida. “It saves time and effort in having to meal plan a well-balanced meal.”
Dark Leafy Greens
The best nutrients come from the most fibrous of greens -- kale and spinach, with their vitamin-loaded package of Vitamins A, K, C, and B6, along with Calcium, Copper, and Potassium. There is a myth that blending these greens will destroy their fiber quotient. In fact, it does not. Blending does break down the fibers, but you still get the same amount, and keep all the nutrients intact, but blended in a smoothie your body can absorb these nutrients much quicker.
Chia seeds aren’t just for pudding. When you toss the tiny-yet-mighty energy boosters into your smoothie, you’ll up the amount of crucial nutrients you’re getting every day—and you won’t even be able to tell they’re there. “Chia seeds provide calcium, protein, and omega-3s, which are key nutrients when following a vegan diet,” Moreno-Bryce says. Their high fiber content (two tablespoons have nearly 10 grams of fiber) will also help keep you full, which is why they're a great choice in the morning.
It only takes a small amount of hemp seeds to raise the nutrition of your smoothie. No, seriously—we’re talking a tablespoon. “Hemp seeds are a great option to incorporate in smoothies, as they provide protein, iron, omega-3s, and manganese,” she explains. “A little can go a long way, as it can sometimes overpower the overall taste of your smoothie.”
When it comes to protecting your cells from damage-causing free radicals and fighting off disease, it’s hard to find a fruit that’s more powerful than blueberries.
“Blueberries are a powerhouse in providing antioxidants,” Moreno-Bryce says. “I recommend choosing wild blueberries when possible, as these contain more antioxidants per serving than cultivated blueberries. Both frozen and fresh work well in smoothies.”
Okay, okay—adding quinoa to a smoothie sounds kind of odd. But hear me out: It’s basically the secret weapon you’ve been missing out on when it comes to creating a morning beverage that fuels and satisfies.
“Many don’t consider quinoa as a smoothie-friendly ingredient, but it can be,” Bryce-Moreno says. “Use leftover quinoa from a previous meal to boost plant protein, fiber, folate, and iron to your morning or post-workout smoothie.” This will ensure you're full and satisfied all throughout the morning up until lunch, keeping any snack cravings at bay.