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5 Vegan Smoothie Ingredient Must-Haves

Smoothies are a quick and easy way to add more fiber, vitamins and minerals to your diet. And when you focus on adding some key ingredients to your smoothie, you'll get an added nutritional punch as well as a delicious meal in a glass!

Add Nuts and Seeds

Nuts and seeds (or nut and seed butters) are often overlooked when it comes to smoothies, but they are a great way to add Omega fatty acids, fiber, and other nutrients to your smoothie quickly and easily. Sunflower, chia, pumpkin, hemp and flax seeds can give smoothies an interesting texture, while their respective butters make for a smooth and nutty flavor.

Add Veggies

They may not have been the top of anyone’s must-have smoothie ingredients list, but greens can easily be added to smoothies to increase nutrition without adversely affecting the flavor. Green, leafy veggies such as spinach, kale, chard, collard greens, or romaine add a ton of minerals, as well as beta-carotene, B and K vitamins, and more. If you are adverse to the taste of veggies in your smoothie, start with smaller amounts and gradually increase. You can also briefly steam tougher greens to soften them a bit before adding them to your smoothie.

Add Fruit

Everyone has a few favorite fruits that they added to their smoothies, but it can pay off to branch out, both by changing up the taste of your smoothie as well as giving you additional vitamins and minerals that you may currently be missing. Take your favorites (blueberries, strawberries, bananas, pineapple, etc.) but don’t be afraid to add in a handful of something different, such as avocado, cherries, melons, or mangos. Stock up on fresh fruit when it’s plentiful and keep the excess in the freezer for when it’s needed.

Add Liquid

If you like a smoother, more liquid smoothie then some type of liquid needs to be added. Like the rest of the ingredients, try to break out of your current pattern by trying something new. Good smoothie additions include almond, rice, or help milk, as well as fresh juice and good old water.

Add Herbs/Spices

Don’t knock it until you try it – herbs and spices can take a smoothie from tired to tasty! Parsley, cilantro, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg can add a new zing to your old recipe and open up the door for some interesting experimentation. While fresh is always better, dried herbs and spices work well too.

Basic Smoothie Recipe

Here is a basic recipe to get you started. Feel free to substitute with your own choice of fruits, veggies, liquids, etc. to create a custom recipe. This recipe is from 22 Days Nutrition founder, Marco Borges. 2 cups spinach 1 Spoon of Almond butter 1 Frozen banana, broken into pieces 1 - 1 1/4 cups of (rice, almond, hazelnut or hemp) milk 1 tablespoon milled flax Add ingredients to blender in this order: flax, almond butter, spinach, banana, milk. This will help weigh the spinach down for better blending. Once you've blended to desired consistency, add a few ice cubes and continue to blend until the smoothie is to your liking! Makes 1 large serving.  

Photo: LearningLark
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