If you’re like me, breakfast is usually an impromptu affair—AKA whatever I can throw in a blender before I head out the door. If it weren’t for smoothies, I’d start off each day very hangry (or spend my life’s savings on bagels). The beautiful thing about smoothies is not just how quick and easy they are, but also how customizable they can be. Choose your favorite fruit and nondairy milk, add protein powder—it’s completely up to you. Once you’ve mastered the basics, there are so many ways to up your smoothie game. Read on for some easy additions that will take your smoothie to the next level.
I always add chia to my smoothies—these little black seeds are rich in fiber and can absorb up to 12 times their weight in water, so they act as a natural thickener (no one likes a watery smoothie, right?). Chia seeds are also a good source of manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, all minerals we need to strengthen our cells and keep our body in top form. I personally love that they add a little crunchy texture to my smoothies (they’re a bit like blackberry seeds), but you can also grind them into a powder in a coffee grinder if you prefer. Just a note: the longer you let chia seeds sit in your smoothie, the thicker they will become, so if you like eating your smoothie with a spoon, wait 5 - 10 minutes.
Sometimes called “hemp hearts,” hemp seeds are the seed of the hemp plant. They’re an excellent source of healthy fats—specifically, the essential fatty acids linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3). Not only that, but hemp seeds are a vegetarian source of complete protein, meaning they provide all of the essential amino acids that we as humans need to live. This is big for vegetarians and vegans. They have a mild, nutty taste that won’t overpower your smoothie.
Vibrant green spirulina powder is actually a type of algae. Spirulina is packed with around 60% protein content (more than most vegetables), and it’s also a good source of nutrients you might not normally get in your daily diet, like chlorophyll and vitamins A, E, and B12. If you’re vegetarian or just looking for a way to get more plant-based protein in your diet, spirulina could be a good option. Bonus: It turns your smoothies a very cool shade of green.
If you’re sensitive to the taste and texture of your smoothies, hydrolyzed collagen peptides are a great way to get some extra protein. Derived from pastured livestock or fish, collagen peptides come in the form of a tasteless and odorless white powder that dissolves easily in liquid. Just two scoops of collagen peptides contain around 20g of protein and may also support healthy joints, digestion, sleep, hair and skin.
Try it: Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides
Maca is the root of a vegetable native to the Peruvian Andes that’s thought to improve energy, focus, and libido. Research into “Peruvian ginseng” is still in the early stages, but one thing’s for sure: Maca powder is rich in essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, copper, and iron. Just add a spoonful to your smoothie to reap the benefits.
‘Shrooms in your smoothie? It’s not as psychedelic as it sounds. Powdered adaptogenic mushrooms (like cordyceps, lion’s mane, reishi, and chaga) are easy to toss into your blender, and they have a wide range of purported health benefits, from reducing stress to strengthening immunity and increasing energy and stamina. Some mushrooms can have a strong taste, so I’d recommend using them with stronger flavored ingredients like cacao.
Try it: Moon Juice Cordyceps