A morning smoothie is the best way to start your day! We all know that they’re packed full of fruit and veggies, light on processed sugar, and won’t weigh you down like traditional breakfast foods will. They’re also a great grab and go meal for rushed mornings.
But sometimes the same old banana, yogurt, and spinach smoothie gets a little, well, boring.
Wouldn’t it be great to mix it up and give yourself an extra boost of energy, nutrition, and flavor without too much effort?
We’ve got 6 awesome (and super easy) ingredients to pump up your morning smoothie. If you don’t have these ingredients in your kitchen, they’re easy to find either at your grocery store or a local health food store, and you’ll thank yourself all day for the extra kick they give you.
1. Grated Ginger
Ginger adds a great zing of spice to your smoothie and is a great addition to a banana, coconut, or apple-based smoothie. Ginger is well known for its anti-nausea properties, it relieves motion sickness, and can help reduce inflammation.
2. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are a quick and easy protein addition to a smoothie. They’re loaded with omega-3 which means reduced risk of heart attack and stroke, lower blood pressure, and improvements in cholesterol.
Sprinkle a tablespoon or two into any smoothie for a great nutrition boost. They are also a thickener, so if you find your smoothies a bit too watery they’re a great choice.
3. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a true superfood. Incredibly rich in nutrition, including vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, and potassium, they are anti-inflammatory and help regulate blood sugar levels.
So how can you incorporate them into a smoothie recipe? Combine them with banana and cinnamon, oranges, or carrots and apples. You can use either raw or cooked, but several studies have shown that they are even more nutritious after roasting or steaming.
Turmeric is usually added to curry, soups, or on roasted vegetables, but it’s also a great way to power up your smoothie. To start with, it has a bright orange/yellow color that will perk up any dull rainy day. Then there’s the flavor: fragrant and earthy. Add just a quarter teaspoon to a carrot, mango or coconut smoothie.
If you can get fresh turmeric root, you’ll love the strong kick of flavor, but turmeric powder will work just as well (and you won’t get orange on your cutting board and hands). Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory and helps with stomach bloating, IBS, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis.
Are you facing a high-stress day? Giving a presentation or meeting a top-end client? Try lavender to bring down anxiety, lower blood pressure, and help you keep calm ahead of the day’s stresses.
The lightly sweet and fragrant flavor of lavender will be perfect with a blueberry and lemon zest smoothie – try ¼ teaspoon of dried or a tablespoon of fresh lavender flowers – you’ll feel good all day long.
Love chocolate? Hate the fat and sugar that comes with it? Cacao beans are the way to go – this is where chocolate comes from, but without all the processing. And since it’s unprocessed, all the nutritional benefits in the bean are still present, giving you reduced cholesterol and blood pressure, improved brain function, lots of vitamin C and magnesium, and an improved mood.
Pick up cacao nibs (roasted beans that have been broken into smaller pieces) or cacao powder. Try a tablespoon of powder or ground nibs with a banana, avocado, or blueberry smoothie.
A little extra something in your morning smoothie can power up your whole day – which of these are you going to add to your smoothie tomorrow?
About the Author: Meg Marrs is the Senior Editor at Life Health HQ, a website dedicated to helping people lead healthier, happier lives through whole eating resources.