If ever a sensational (and crazy easy) shortcut to taking charge of your health existed, smoothies are it! As we bring in the new year, many of us have the ever present commitment to finally get healthy this year at the top of our resolution list. Whether you are an all-in kind of person or a slow and steady wins the race, baby steps kind of gal, jumping on the superfood smoothie wagon is a great way to get this resolution started off right.
Most of us struggle with cramming enough fruits, veggies, protein, vitamins, minerals…… into our daily diet. Keeping up with all of that can be a stress headache just waiting to happen! But if you could take all of those healthy ingredients and shove them all into one place and consume them ALL AT ONCE with a few swallows from a tall glass of rainbow goodness, why wouldn’t you? It really is that easy! Adding all of the health benefits of a handful of superfoods to your blender 1-3 times every day takes all of the effort out of sticking to that healthy diet. Plus, if you are anything like me, you can actually get a few things into your system that you might otherwise have to plug your nose and chew really fast before choking down (like… KALE). With this in mind, it is important to note that while anything can be blended together and called a smoothie, not all smoothies are created equal. There is still a level of balance and health conscious decision making that goes into choosing the right ingredients for a healthy smoothie.
What is a Superfood?
Well, honestly, superfoods are not an actual food group. The term refers to any food that is nutrient rich and packs a big bag of health benefits. Julie Morris, in her book Superfood Smoothies, has selected what she has termed the “Super 15”. These are the base ingredients for several smoothies that are designed to be energizing and incredibly healthy while also being delicious!
“these are the top core superfoods for holistic well-being… each superfood on the list has earned it’s spot by being a valuable addition to enhancing broad-spectrum health, readily available in health food stores or online, palatable and blender friendly, and cost effective in terms of nutrients per serving per dollar.”
- Acai Berries
- Camu Berries
- Chai Seeds
- Chlorophyll-rich Superfoods
- Goji Berries
- Hemp Seeds
- Maqui Berries
- North American Berries
- Sea Buckthorn Berries
A few additional superfoods that are certainly worth attention:
Cinnamon (can be added as a sweetener)
Elderberry (can be added as a sweetener)
Matcha (powdered green tea)
A Few Healthy Smoothie Rules
- Simple whole foods make the best ingredients. Essentially, anything that was not picked from a tree or pulled from the ground should be considered an additive. Not all additives are bad, they just don’t have the same level of health benefits as whole foods and should be limited.
- Every ingredient has a purpose. When we change the way we think about our food and ask ourselves what each thing we eat can do for us, we become more aware of our diet and it is easier to be motivated to trash the Empty calories! There are so many whole foods (superfoods) out there that pack quite a punch. Did you know that wheatgrass powder contains more than 70 vitamins and minerals per spoonful? That is one spoonful that is certainly worth it!
- More is not always better. There are plenty of foods that are good for you, the key is that most of those foods are good for you in moderation! For example, adding 1/2 a teaspoon of came powder to a smoothie is an awesome immunity booster as it gives you around 600% of the daily recommended allowance of vitamin C. If you were to add a tablespoon, however, 3500% of your daily allowance of vitamin C is a bit much for your body to handle!
- Superfood Smoothies are designed to be nutrient dense. Keeping the benefit to calorie ratio as desirable as possible is the key.
“While I agree that calories are a component of the equation, it is really micronutrients, or rather, the amount of micronutrients per calorie that should be taken into account when assessing food choices.”
Basically when a food has a calorie count on the higher end, yet every single calorie supplies an enormous benefit to your body (through antioxidants, minerals, vitamins etc.) the calorie count shouldn’t be the end all in deciding whether to partake in all of that goodness!
From Julie Morris’ book, “Superfood Smoothies”, here are seven of my favorite smoothie recipes (plus shopping list) to get your week kick started! Some of the ingredients aren’t readily found at the grocery store, so I put together a shopping list with links also.
For more awesome Superfood Smoothies, be sure to pick up a copy of the book!
Fresh (chopped) Celery
Fresh packed (minced) Mint
Peeled (minced) Ginger
NUTS, TEAS, POWDERS & SEEDS
Dried White Mulberries
Dried Goji Berries
Medjool Dates (pitted)
MILK & JUICE
Sweet Almond Milk
Coconut Water (for ice)
Hard to Find Ingredient Links: