Whether you’re pressed for time or just looking for a healthy start to the day, a morning smoothie is an easy breakfast option. A mix of the right ingredients will leave you feeling full and energized through lunchtime—and possibly through that afternoon slump. With a grocery store full of colorful veggies and aisles of supplements, it’s hard to know which handpicked ingredients should make their way into your blender. It’s important to make sure that you’re getting the proper amount of vitamins, fiber, and protein. But, let’s also not forget that it should be a delicious and yummy way to start off your day. To help take away the stress, we’ve teamed up with Nutritional Chef and Wellness Counselor Melissa Eboli. Read along as she talks with us about the ingredients to include your morning smoothie.
A native fruit to the Amazon of Peru and Brazil, camu camu grows on the flooded floors of the rainforest. It is used by locals there as a natural medicine. It has only recently been introduced to outside markets, given its remote location. According to Eboli, “Camu is super high in vitamin C (60 times more per serving than an orange!). It’s also an antioxidant, which helps with anti-aging.” Camu can be found at local health food markets or online in supplement form. It makes for an easy addition to your blender, as the powder is super concentrated. Just a teaspoon adds a huge amount of nutrients into your morning smoothie.
Chia seeds are low in calories, but chock full of nutrients. They are the definition of the word superfood. “Chia is high in omega 3, is loaded with fiber, and aids in hydration. Overall [it’s] a good way to get some healthy fats and satiation into your shake,” says Eboli. Chia can be found in a range of health food stores and can come in different colors. There’s no major health difference between the colors of chia, but make sure to buy mature chia seeds, which are black, white, cream, or gray.
This somewhat of a miracle oil can be used in our hair, on our skin, sizzling in our pan, and in our morning smoothie. Eboli can’t sing the oil’s praises enough. “Coconut oil is so good for you! It has antifungal and antibacterial properties. It aids in weight loss and helps to speed up metabolism and digestion,” she says. Coconut oil is also known to improve heart health and provide hydration. So, it’s also ideal for a post-workout shake bonus.
Like camu camu, maca, a root vegetable found in the Peruvian mountains, has made its way to international cabinets. It’s been supplying the indigenous people of Peru with its medical and health benefits for thousands of years. According to Eboli, “Maca is beneficial, especially for women who are pre-menopausal and need to regulate their hormones. It can also benefit those with thyroid imbalances.” And, a fun fact for both men and women, maca is a natural libido booster, as well.
Native to Japan and Taiwan, chlorella is a superfood that has earned quite the reputation. It is rich in many vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, iron, and zinc. “It’s a great ingredient to add to your smoothies for a natural, plant based form of B12. It also can be super beneficial for detoxing” explains Eboli. Chlorella helps to the rid the body of harsh and unwanted chemicals, while also improving skin health, assisting digestion, and aiding in weight management.
We all know about peanut butter’s healthy cousin, almond butter. Like peanut butter, it’s a great source of protein with 6.7 grams, per serving. To put that into context, a large egg has approximately 6 grams of protein. So, you’re still getting your morning protein without dirtying your pans. Along with protein, almond butter is full of healthy fats and fibers, which fuel your body’s energy throughout the day. If almond butter doesn’t seem to work taste wise with your morning smoothie, try substituting with greek yogurt. Yogurt is filled with protein, B vitamins, and probiotics.
Fruits are the magical, key ingredient in any shake. While they hold numerous amounts of health benefits, they also make your morning smoothie sweet and delicious. It doesn’t matter whether the fruit is fresh or frozen (just make sure that there is no added sugar in the frozen fruit and that you’re buying from a reliable brand). Here are some common fruits that you may want to include, with their associating health benefits:
- Apples keep the doctor away and are rich in antioxidants, which aid in brain health.
- Bananas are great with almond butter and full of fiber and potassium to promote a healthy heart.
- Pineapple—supports a healthy immune system, while also aiding in bone and eye health.
- Strawberries help reduce inflammation and promote weight loss.
- Raspberries can promote fat burning and minimize wrinkles.
- Mangos are known to lower cholesterol and help clear up your skin.