All About That Smoothie!

I was just telling a friend that I think my smoothie obsession came from some unhealthy habits I had as a teenager. I love ice cream and would have ice cream often after dinner growing up. I also loved malts, shakes and worked at a frozen yogurt store. Heaven for a job. My dad found an old shake machine at a garage sale and so I began making shakes and malts at home!

Enter nutrition education and smoothies and I now have this healthy obsession *ahem* alternative. But seriously, we have been making protein smoothies for over 15 years. Our smoothies have progressed from those sugar-laden whey protein powders to a plant based protein powder and lots of nutrient dense add-ins.

I thought I’d share my current smoothie staples along with my smoothie add-ins I use from time to time. See my basket picture for a snapshot version. I keep this basket on the counter, so I don’t forget what I have!

SMOOTHIE STAPLES:

  • Plant-based (rice-free) protein powder
    • I love Perfect Fit Protein. They now have a non-organic version under the label of Tone It Up available at Target. It is just as good and is reasonable!
    • I also have used Vega One although I like the consistency of Perfect Fit better. Vega One has a mixed berry flavor though that is delicious.
    • I say rice-free because I’m allergic to rice, but there are mixed thoughts in general on anyone using rice based protein powders due to arsenic content in the rice. See article HERE.
    • I also avoid whey or any protein powders containing any derivative from dairy. I’m lactose-intolerant, but even if you are not, dairy can be bloating to the system and mucous forming. See more reasons to have a dairy free diet HERE.
  • Lots of Frozen Fruit
    • My favorites to keep on hand are pineapple, mango, cherries, strawberries, blueberries and bananas. Did I name most fruit? Haha – well, I like to have a lot of variety on hand to create different flavors.
  • Riced Cauliflower
    • Yep, you read that right. I just started this during the Tone It Up challenge and love it. It makes my smoothies creamy and adds in fiber, extra nutrients and helps slow blood sugar responses.
  • Greens
    • Any leftover salad greens that are getting ready to expire, I throw in the freezer to use in smoothies. I don’t discriminate on any of the blends – spinach, kale, power greens. Whatever I have, I don’t waste it.
  • Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Coconut Water
    • I alternate between these three in our smoothies. I use the coconut water on days that I do intense cardio or running to replenish electrolytes. I alternate between almond and coconut milk depending on whatever is in front in the fridge.
  • Collagen
    • This is everything. No really, I wasn’t convinced it would really do anything when we first started it, but every time we stop taking it my husband and I both can tell a difference. As we age, we both have more aches and stiffness and daily collagen really helps decrease that inflammation. More info HERE.
  • Nut butters and Peanut Butter Flour
    • I love adding in some nut butter on days I know we need our smoothies to keep us satisfied longer.
    • On days I just want the flavor, I use the peanut butter flour
    • Love topping smoothie bowls with a little peanut butter flour. So yummy!

ADD-INS IN STARTING WITH MOST USED TO LEAST:

  • Coconut Shavings (Unsweetened)
    • I add shavings in to get a more tropical flavor.
    • Bonus: you get added fiber, iron and zinc
  • Maca Powder
    • So many nutrients…I need to add it in more often!
    • Amino acids, fatty acids, B-vitamins
  • Goji Berries
    • Flavor and bonus antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Matcha Powder
    • This is the latest craze – isn’t it? Well, I got on the bandwagon.
    • Big on antioxidants, vitamin C and other nutrients.
  • Quercetin with Bromelain
    • This is a supplement I actually wanted to take regularly for my allergies, but I don’t do well swallowing pills.
    • So I started opening the capsules and adding it our smoothies. I should probably do it daily, but I forget.
  • Spirulina Powder
    • Another superfood (lots on this list) and is high in iron and calcium.
    • Another nutrient that is supposed to help with allergies.
    • My allergies are bad this season so I really need to step up my smoothie game with this one!
    • I got chocolate mint flavor – buyer fail because it doesn’t work with many of my smoothie combos. But maybe I should just suck it up and use it up!
  • Flax Seed (Ground)
    • Great for added omega-3’s, fiber and filler.
  • MCT Coconut Oil
    • I haven’t used this as much lately, but I originally got it because it is a quick converting energy source.
    • Now that I think about it, I probably need to add this back in to stop drinking that second cup of coffee!
  • Chia Seeds
    • Another omega-3 and fiber superstar!
    • Lately, I’ve been using these in place of poppy seeds in a lemon muffin recipe.
    • Sometimes, I make chia pudding, but I’m not a big fan, so that phase is about over. 🙂
  • Avocado Seed (Ground)
    • This tip came from my brother-in-law who is another level of health guru above me!
    • The seed contains 20 vitamins and minerals. Talk about a multi-vitamin – wow!
  • Cinnamon & Pumpkin Spice
    • These I use seasonally when I want those fall and winter flavors. I do occasionally use cinnamon in the summer.
  • Hemp Protein
    • I got this to supplement into our shakes for added protein and to decrease the amount of the more expensive protein powder I use!
    • I don’t like the texture, so it’s honestly probably a thing of the past very soon from my basket!
    • I may just pass it along to my brother-in-law when he is here next week!

I would say…that’s it. But I think you already see I’m the crazy smoothie lady! If I had to recommend a few on the add-in list, these three would be my top pick: macha powder, matcha powder and spirulina – all superfoods!

Unfortunately, there is currently no rhyme or reason to my add-ins. It really is based on what I feel like I haven’t used in the last week to add in that day. And some days, I just do the basics because I’m in a hurry. It’s all about the variety for me. One thing I learned in nutrition class is the importance of variety. Each food has it’s own unique combination of macro nutrients, micro nutrients and phytonutrients. So mix it up!

If you want to know how to make a smoothie, I love this post from Tone It Up.

Happy Smoothie Making! Xo, Liz

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