Smoothie secrets

Smoothies are refreshing on a hot summer day, and easy enough that you can make them out of almost any combo of fruit and yogurt in your fridge. But did you know there are loads of easy extras you can add to smoothies to make them even more healthy with little effort? Additions like. . .
A handful of spinach. Believe it or not, a handful of fresh spinach in a smoothie is virtually undetectable (aside from a slight color change, depending on the final amount), so feel free to add it to the blender. Spinach is high in Vitamins A, C, and E, as well as B vitamins, potassium, iron, and calcium, in addition to antioxidants. It’s a huge boost of vitamins!
A few carrots. If your food processor or blender isn’t the most powerful, chop some carrots into chunks before adding them. Carrots are sweet, so they work well with smoothies, and they’re so healthy! Their high Vitamin A content promotes healthy eyes, and they are high in antioxidants and minerals.
Healthy fats. Aren’t getting enough healthy omega-3 oils? Add a glug of olive oil to the blender before you hit “puree.” Alternatively, for a silky-smooth drink, add half an avocado to the blender with your other fruits. Its flavor won’t overpower the other ingredients and you’ll get those omega-3 oils your body needs.

Protein. Especially if your family is vegetarian or vegan, a protein supplement in powder form will benefit your body by giving it the protein it needs. If you exercise frequently or drink smoothies for breakfast, a spoonful or two of protein powder can work in your favor to give you more energy and keep you satisfied. Check your local natural foods store for a natural powder supplement.
Wheat grass. It’s available in many smoothie shops, but why is it good for you? It’s been hailed as a great detoxifier, but its main claim to fame is that it’s high in Vitamin E, which can help your immune system and promote healthy growth in children. If you’re interested in growing and juicing your own, call up your local natural foods store for information on how to get a kit.
Dark chocolate chips. Dark chocolate that is 60% cocoa or higher can actually be healthy in small doses! Add an occasional handful of dark chocolate chips to the blender in a berry smoothie or strawberry banana smoothie for a healthy boost. In moderation, along with plenty of activity, dark chocolate can help prevent heart disease, give your brain a boost, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues. A little indulgence is a good thing!
A handful of almonds. Soak a handful of almonds in water overnight. In the morning, drain the extra water and add the almonds to your smoothie. They’ll blend in smoothly and their mild flavor won’t overpower the drink. With just that handful, you get Vitamin E, fiber, protein, and B vitamins. They also may help fight bad cholesterol.
Try some of these ideas the next time you make a smoothie! Do you have any smoothie secrets of your own that contribute to an even healthier drink? Share them below!

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