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6 Ingredients Every Healthy Smoothie Needs

The following article was written by Heinen’s Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek RD, LD.

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to do your body a lot of good with just a little bit of effort, consider adding a smoothie to your daily meal plan. When prepared right, smoothies can offer a huge boost in your nutrition and energy levels. It’s literally a complete, satisfying and balanced meal in a cup!

A well-balanced smoothie includes these six ingredients:

  • Liquid Base
  • Greens (Fx Pillar 1)
  • Rainbow Fruits & Veggies (Fx Pillar 2)
  • Omega-3 Fats (Fx Pillar 3)
  • Protein (Fx Pillar 4)
  • Functional Foods (Fx Pillar 6)

Click here to learn more about each Fx Pillar.

1. Liquid Base
The best base for a smoothie is one with no added sugars or artificial sweeteners like sucralose (Splenda) or aspartame. Choose water, coconut water or unsweetened almond, cashew, coconut or flax milk.

Amount per Smoothie: 8 oz. or more depending on the recipe and your preferred consistency.

2. Greens
Boost the cleansing power of your smoothie with fresh, frozen or powdered greens. Arugula, kale, red cabbage, Romaine, spinach and Swiss chard are all fair game.

Amount per Smoothie: 1-2 handfuls of fresh greens; ½ – 1 cup of frozen; 1 scoop of greens powder

3. Rainbow Fruits & Veggies
Rainbow fruits and veggies, like avocado, beets, carrots, berries, bananas, apples and pears will naturally sweeten a smoothie and add a healthy dose of fiber to support digestive health.

Amount per Smoothie (pick 2 veggies and 1 fruit): ½-1 cup carrots, beets or frozen cauliflower; ½ of a small peeled and pitted avocado; ½ cup-1 cup fresh or frozen fruit

4. Omega-3 Fats
Eating too little fat causes increased hunger and cravings and decreased metabolism. The beauty of plant-based omega-3’s is that they double as a protein! If you want to stay satisfied for hours, add a serving of these anti-inflammatory omega-3-filled unsalted nuts and seeds to your smoothies:

  • Unsalted Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Ground flax seed
  • Hemp seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Another option is freshly ground nut/seed butters like almond, cashew, walnut, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame (i.e. tahini).

Amount per Smoothie: 1 Tbsp. nut or seed butter; 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, ground flax seeds or nuts; 1 Tbsp. chia seeds

5. Protein
Protein is an important part of balanced meals and adding small amounts can help maintain muscle mass, carry oxygen to cells and balance your blood sugar.

Healthy protein sources for a smoothie include plant-based protein powder or collagen protein powder as well as whole seeds and nut/seed butters. Choose ground flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds,or sunflower seeds. For nut/seed butters, go with freshly ground almond, cashew, walnut, sunflower, pumpkin, or sesame (i.e. tahini).

Amount per Smoothie: ½-1 scoop protein powder; 1 Tbsp. nut or seed butter; 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or ground flax seeds; 1 Tbsp. chia seeds

6. Functional Foods
Functional foods have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition and are super easy to add to a smoothie! They include cinnamon, fresh turmeric, ginger, parsley or cilantro, and functional food powders like matcha, maca, cacao, mushroom and acai.

Amount per Smoothie (pick 1-3): 1/2 tsp. – 1 Tbsp. functional food powder (check serving size on package); 2 Tbsp. fresh turmeric or ginger; ½ tsp. fresh ground cinnamon

Not sweet enough for you? Feel free to add up to 1 tsp. of raw honey, pure maple syrup or coconut nectar or one pitted date.

Key Takeaway
Food is about nourishment and enjoyment. Therefore, it’s always important to consider your current taste preferences. If you’re accustomed to a sweeter taste, a “power” smoothie full of greens and veggies may be a turnoff, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get there eventually!

Beginner smoothies like this one tend to be more pleasing to the taste buds when you’re first starting out. Over time you can reduce the fruit and increase the veggies, greens and functional foods to create smoothies with a bit more muscle, like this one.

For personalized guidance on your nutritional strengths and gaps, discover the VitalHealth Optimization Package, now available at the Personalized Nutrition Center at Heinen’s Mayfield Village.

Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD
By Melanie Jatsek RD, LD
Heinen's Chief Dietitian, Melanie Jatsek, RD, LD believes that the answer to a strong, healthy and vibrant body lies within. She graduated cum laude from the University of Akron, earning a degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and has over 20 years of experience in wellness program development, health coaching and professional speaking. As a published author of three books and registered dietitian for Heinen’s, Melanie offers programs, services and tools to help Heinen’s customers take inspired action to build the healthy body they were meant to live in without giving up their favorite foods.

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