Ever wonder what dietitians throw in the blender?
“Influencers” on social media tell you to add the newest superfood to your smoothie. Sponsored posts say a few drops of CBD oil will revolutionize your smoothie experience. Bloggers claim the healthiest smoothie contains a scoop of protein powder.
Everyone has an opinion about what makes the healthiest smoothie, but it’s hard to find people you can trust online. That’s why we went straight to the nutrition experts themselves to see what ingredients they always add to their own smoothies.
1. Cacao nibs (pulverized cocoa beans).
“I’ve been obsessing over cacao nibs. Cacao nibs are a nutritional powerhouse containing antioxidants, minerals, and most surprising, macronutrients such as protein and carbohydrates. With no added sugar and little saturated fat, cacao nibs are a nutrient-dense food that’s perfect to add to smoothies for that extra nutritional punch.”
- Rebecca Stib, MS, RDN, LDN, co-founder of Nutritious Gifts
2. Fresh ginger and turmeric.
“Ginger aids digestion and turmeric combats inflammation, which is especially important after a workout.”
- Skylar Nelson, RDN, owner of Nelson Nutrition
Wanna try it? Check out this tropical turmeric smoothie.
3. Kefir (a fermented milk, like a thin yogurt).
“Kefir contains a symbiotic collection of bacteria and yeast, known as the kefir grain, that ferments milk into a tangy, probiotic-rich drink. It contains a huge variety of healthy bacteria and yeast. It is also extremely nutritious, easy to digest, and will give your smoothie a pleasant, tangy flavor.”
- Lisa Richards, nutritionist, creator of the Candida Diet
4. Leafy greens.
“Raw greens such as spinach and kale offer quite a boost to the immune system and give the body a great dose of fiber, iron, and potassium—not to mention other essential vitamins and minerals! When mixed with fresh fruit, such as pineapple and bananas, leafy greens offer a healthy boost to your day and can be customized to taste any way you like! ”
- Dr. Candice Seti, PsyD, CPT, CNC, owner of the Weight Loss Therapist
5. Healthy fats.
“I always add a healthy fat to my smoothies to increase their staying power. Adding half an avocado or spoonful of peanut or almond butter keeps me full and satisfied. Without a good fat source, I am reaching for another snack within an hour or two after my smoothie!”
- Kelsey Lorencz, RDN, owner of Graciously Nourished
“Bananas are not only nutrient dense but also add sweetness and a creamy texture to a smoothie. This helps balance out the more tart or bitter fruits and vegetables that I also like to add. In addition, bananas are rich in fiber and minerals, which are good for digestive and heart health.”
- Ysabel Montemayor, lead RD at the meal delivery service Fresh n’ Lean
“Most of us need to add more veggies into the diet, so make sure to throw some into your smoothies. Some great veggies to consider are spinach, kale, carrots, beets, and celery! Adding veggies to a smoothie gives you a boost of fiber, vitamins and minerals.”
- Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, serves on the advisory board for Smart Healthy Living
8. Frozen fruit.
“Fruit is full of fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants and adds natural sweetness, flavor, and color to the smoothie (unlike some artificial powders out there). I use FROZEN fruit because it makes the smoothie nice and thick and icy, without being watered down like if you added ice cubes.”
- Brianne Bell, RD, owner of Frugal Minimalist Kitchen
9. Chia seeds.
“I always add a tablespoon of ground chia seeds to my smoothies. It adds healthy fats, fiber, and protein which keeps you full. It also blends very well into any type of smoothie and you can't taste it!”
- Melissa Mitri, MS, RD, owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition
Want more smoothie tips?
Cacao nibs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Accessed on June 25, 2019 at https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/45189582.)
Exploring aromatics. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2017. (Accessed on June 25, 2019 at https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/exploring-aromatics.)
Prebiotics and probiotics: creating a healthier you. Chicago, IL: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 2018. (Accessed on June 25, 2018 at https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/nutrient-rich-foods/prebiotics-and-probiotics-creating-a-healthier-you.)