Here at One Green Planet, we love smoothies. They are one of the easiest ways to get more plant-based foods into your diet, whether you’re committed to be on a vegan diet or just trying to eat more plants. They’re also much healthier if you make them at home than if you buy those loaded with sugar and fruit juice at the store or a smoothie shop. Even if you don’t have a high powered blender (though we would recommend getting one since they will change your life!), you can still enjoy the nutritional and culinary experiences from making more smoothies in your home.
However, one thing you’ll want to avoid is using the same ingredients every single day. In a busy schedule, we know it’s easier to turn to the average ingredients like a frozen banana, spinach, protein powder, and flax seed or chia seed. While those items are awesome and are some of the best for you, you may want to consider giving your blenders something new to handle. It will improve your appreciation for smoothies and prevent you from getting into a smoothie rut,not to mention most likely also help you avoid nutritional deficiencies.
Here are some simple smoothie switch ups I commonly use that you might enjoy if you’re tired of your everyday ingredients:
1. Swap Bananas With Pumpkin
I love frozen bananas in smoothies as much as the next person (though I do have awesome tips for making smoothies without them since I didn’t use to be as fond of them.) The perfect replacement is pureed pumpkin. If you want it especially thick, freeze the pumpkin puree into an ice cube tray and ta-da! Easy as that. This is one of the simplest ways to make your smoothie taste more like a fall or winter smoothie and will still sweeten it up with less of a glycemic spike due to higher fiber and less sugar found in pumpkin versus banana. You can also do the same with applesauce if you don’t like pumpkin. Here’s a great pumpkin protein smoothie to give a whirl this week.
2. Swap Spinach With Kale or Chard
If you’re not fond of spinach or just tired of it, I suggest using baby kale (which is sweeter than larger kale) and Swiss chard. You can buy these in the form of pre-packaged organic salad mixes at the store if you can’t find them in loose form, or even buy them frozen. To help my fresh greens keep longer, I also freeze them in large freezer-safe baggies as soon as I get home to preserve their nutrients. I also find it helps give them a milder flavor than using them fresh.
3. Change Your Protein Powder or the Flavor
If you use the same protein powder everyday, consider using another brand or just another flavor in the brand you already buy and love. My favorite brands include plenty of superfoods, sprouted grains, hemp seed protein, and sacha inchi protein powder. I also enjoy raw vanilla and chocolate protein powders that contain no sugar. You can easily make your smoothie taste completely different just by switching out your protein powder. If you don’t like protein powder, then hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut flour, chia seeds, and flax are all great seeds to help improve your protein intake.
4. Swap Almond Butter With Cashew Butter
Some people like to add almond butter to smoothies, but I prefer to cashew since it’s lower in fat, higher in iron, and easier to digest. Raw cashew butter is actually incredibly mild, yet slightly sweet in taste and it gives your smoothies a decadent taste. I’m certainly a fan of almond butter, but consider cashew butter as the next healthiest and most alkaline option after raw almond butter. If you use any nut butter, be sure to use raw forms and only use a teaspoon or two if you’re trying to manage your weight.
5. Swap Blueberries for Acai Berry Puree
Considering that acai berries contain hundreds time more the antioxidants of berries,apples, and bananas. It’s also helpful since acai contains omega 3 fatty acids, no sugar, more fiber, and also tastes delicious! Like a mix between dark chocolate and berries, acai is one of my favorite ingredients to use in smoothies. I like using the frozen, unsweetened packs at the store, which you can easily find at Whole Foods where the frozen fruits and vegan frozen desserts are found. These also help thicken up your smoothies and can help you stay fuller longer.
- Add cinnamon, cocoa powder, turmeric, vanilla, and ginger to your smoothies for an antioxidant and flavor boost!
- Freeze items like cucumbers, celery pieces, orange slices, apples, pears, and other fruits before they go bad to add to your smoothies.
- Try superfoods in your smoothies. My favorites are cacao, maca, goji berry powder, camu camu, and green smoothie mixes.
- Use stevia liquid to sweeten up your smoothie without suffering the negative, glycemic issues from other “natural” sweeteners like agave, coconut sugar, and maple syrup.
You might also like these other smoothie tips on making the ultimate superfood smoothie and these tips on creating maximum flavor in your superfood smoothies.
Image Source: Pumpkin Protein Smoothie