In recent years, smoothies have gained popularity for their nutritional value, especially among people who are looking for quick breakfasts on the go and those who want to get more fresh produce into their diets. Smoothies are typically packed with sweet and flavorful fruits that, when balanced with dark leafy greens — including kale or spinach — can help maintain your blood sugar levels and also control food cravings. Those effects are due in large part to the healthful fiber found in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Because smoothies are so popular today, it’s getting easier to find them in stores. But you can’t be sure if shops are adding extra sugars and other ingredients, and it’s a great morning ritual to make your own smoothie before tackling the day. If you want to get started making nutritious, delicious drinks at home, sip your way to good health with these five healthy, easy-to-prepare smoothie recipes.
Wonderful Wheatgrass Smoothie
Wheatgrass has long been a popular item at health-food stores — have you ever seen a juice bar that serves wheatgrass shots? — but it’s becoming more widely available just about everywhere these days. Coming from the Triticum aestivum plant, wheatgrass is actually the first early sprouts of what eventually grows into the wheat we make bread and pasta with. And these bright green shoots are packed with nutrients like iron, calcium and magnesium that our bodies need to work their best. In addition, wheatgrass is full of amino acids, antioxidants, vitamins and chlorophyll to keep your body’s cells healthy.
On its own, wheatgrass doesn’t taste too appetizing; it has a bitter, earthy flavor that can make your lips pucker. But, when you blend it with other healthy ingredients, like the banana, orange and coconut water in this recipe from Blender Babes, you’ll enjoy fresh flavors and plenty of health benefits. Note that it’s important to blend the wheatgrass on its own first before adding the other ingredients to ensure everything mixes up smoothly.
Satisfying Strawberry Banana Smoothie
Who doesn’t love the classic combination of fresh strawberries and banana? These tried-and-true flavors are especially satisfying in a smoothie. As an added bonus, strawberries are packed with fiber and vitamin C. Plus, thanks to their vitamin B6, bananas “are known to reduce swelling, protect against developing Type 2 diabetes, aid in weight loss, strengthen the nervous system and help with production of white blood cells,” according to LiveScience. Sometimes simple turns out to be best.
If you’re looking to add more of these fruits to your morning, try this strawberry banana smoothie recipe from Love & Lemons. It’s made with almond milk, but you can easily substitute it with your preferred type of milk. If you find that the smoothie is tart, you can also add a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup. For a thick smoothie, use frozen fruit. For an even thicker smoothie, start things out by blending your ingredients with less milk. Gradually add more as you blend until the drink reaches your desired consistency.
Super Spinach Smoothie
A spinach smoothie might not sound the most appetizing, but it’s sweet and delicious and packed with health benefits — similarly to the wheatgrass smoothie. Spinach has an abundance of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. It supports your immune system function; can help improve your blood pressure; and may even help reduce the risk of breast, stomach, skin, prostate and ovarian cancers.
While you can toss a handful of fresh spinach leaves into just about any smoothie to start enjoying this leafy green’s health benefits — it doesn’t impart much flavor — following this formula from 100 Days of Real Food can help you whip up a tasty, healthy green version. Simply combine 2 cups of spinach, 2 cups of your preferred liquid and 3 cups of any of the listed fruits to create a custom smoothie you’ll love.
Amazing Apricot and Pineapple Smoothie
Chances are that you probably never thought of combining apricots and pineapple chunks together in a smoothie. It’s not the most common ingredient pair, but it’s a deliciously unconventional one that makes for a tasty twist.
With these fruits and the addition of strawberries, you can expect to enjoy a generous supply of healthy nutrients like iron, copper, potassium, beta-carotene, fiber and vitamins. This smoothie from Natasha’s Kitchen also incorporates flaxseed oil, which is rich in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can help lower high blood pressure, keep cholesterol and blood sugar levels down, and potentially even reduce some symptoms of menopause.
The Mean Green Tea Smoothie
Smoothies often contain water, fruit juice or milk as their base liquid to help the frozen ingredients blend up evenly. But why not use tea — and enjoy its variety of health benefits — instead? Green tea in particular is known for helping with alertness and may provide protective effects against heart disease and cancer.
This smoothie from Eating Well is a great option to try as you’re getting started with using teas in your different blends. The avocado adds some extra creaminess — which you might miss since you’re using tea instead of milk. It also incorporates healthy spinach and frozen grapes for a dash of sweetness. The mild caffeine content of this drink can help boost your energy levels to start your morning off right.