9 Free Smoothie Recipes!Smoothies are a great way to get healthy veggies and fruits into your little ones...and a great way to start YOUR morning! They give you energy, great taste and an energy boost to start your day. One benefit to Smoothies is you can add- ins some wonderful "extra's" to your smoothies to increase the nutrition value. Here are some great add-in options:
- Greek yogurt: With double the protein of regular yogurt, Greek yogurt has some serious benefits. Add a half-cup of the fat-free plain variety to smoothies for 10 grams of protein, and more calcium, too.
- Protein powders: Wondering whether it’s worth it to hop on the protein powder train? Protein powders provide essential amino acids your body needs to repair and build lean tissue including muscle. It’s also an easy way to include the 20 to 30 grams of high-quality protein experts suggest at every meal. Two of my favorite protein powders are Pea Powder and Brown Rice Powder!
- Oats: Oats fill you up and can help give you the energy to stay active and take on your busy day. Adding in oats gives you additional fiber and at least 16 grams of whole grains. Here is another fun recipe to start your day with Oats.
- Chia seeds: Tiny but mighty chia seeds supply alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which your body can’t produce and must get from food. A diet rich in ALA is linked to a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Chia seeds also supply fiber to slightly thicken smoothies and are a wonderful aid in digestion.
- Flax Seeds: Contains omega-3 essential fatty acids, "good" fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon of ground flaxseed contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s. Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flaxseed contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.
- Pumpkin puree: ‘Tis the season! Pumpkin is bursting with beta-carotene, a pigment that provides a bright orange hue, acts as a powerful antioxidant to protect cells and serves as the raw material for vitamin A production in the body. One-quarter cup of pumpkin puree provides two grams of fiber for 20 calories, a nutritional bargain. Out of pumpkin? Cooked sweet potato is a great substitute too!
- Nuts and nut butters: Nuts and nut butters in smoothies help make your smoothies creamier. For example, 1 ounce (about 24 kernels) of whole almonds, or 2 tablespoons almond butter, provides nearly half your daily quota for vitamin E, a cellular bodyguard that does battle with damaging forms of oxygen in your body. Sunflower seeds and sunflower butter are also rich in vitamin E; peanuts and peanut butter have less.
- Avocado: Avocados may be relatively high in fat, but nearly all of it is unsaturated, the type that helps your heart and makes your skin glow. For the 130 calories in half an avocado, you get nearly 17% of your daily folate needs, as much potassium as a small banana, four grams of fiber and a creamier smoothie.
- Cottage cheese: Four tablespoons of cottage cheese contributes seven grams of protein and only 40 calories to smoothies. Cottage cheese is rich in leucine; an amino acid that experts say stimulates muscle production, which tends to drop off with age. If you don’t like the taste of cottage cheese, don’t worry. Once it’s blended, you won’t even know it’s there.
- Unsweetened cocoa powder: Cocoa powder is a source of flavanols; plant compounds linked to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease. Cocoa also contains feel-good compounds that may elevate your mood. At 12 calories, a mere tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder is enough to infuse your smoothie with a bold flavor. For the most flavanols, choose cocoa that has not undergone Dutch processing.
- Maca Powder: Maca is a root that belongs to the radish family. It is most commonly available in powder form. Grown in the mountains of Peru, it has been called “Peruvian ginseng.” Known for their advanced knowledge of healing and the body’s connection with nature, the Incan civilization used the maca root in many of their natural remedies. According to ancient Incan history, the maca root was known to have special properties which were believed to enhance energy and stamina. It is also believed to increase the sexual desire and endurance.