Not only are these add-ins for healthy drinks good for you, they bump up the taste of your smoothies and juices to boot
Call it a fad if you must, but we’re convinced the green juice and smoothie trend is here to stay. These nourishing drinks help you cram more produce into your diet and keep you full on relatively few calories. Plus, they’re great on the go, whether you’re late to work or just need a quick way to refuel after the gym. (If that's what you're looking for, see: Trainers Reveal: My Favorite Post-Workout Snack.)
Since we’re always seeking out new ways to up the flavor and health profile of our drinks, we decided to share 14 add-ins that may not be on your roster—yet.
Sneak extra protein and fiber into your smoothie by blending in cooked or canned chickpeas. They barely have any taste, and they add creaminess without being too thick. (Also great: they’re a Top 50 Winter Food for Weight Loss.) You can experiment with other beans, too—just aim for milder-tasting ones, like cannellini beans.
“I love adding beetroot juice to green drinks, because it adds a nice subtle, sweet flavor—and it gives the drink a bright purple color that looks really pretty!” says Katrine van Wyk, author of Best Green Eats Ever and Best Green Drinks Ever. Plus, a glass a day lowers high blood pressure, a new study found. Need more convincing? Beets are one of the best foods for your brain.
“Bee pollen is buzzing with amino acids, is 40 percent protein, and is considered one of the richest sources of nutrition in nature,” says Annie Lawless, co-founder of organic cold-pressed juice company Suja Juice. That’s such a great idea, we’ll forgive the pun.
You can juice fresh lavender or add a sprinkle of the dry herb to your green drinks. It has a nice, fresh flavor, and the scent can help you de-stress. (And maybe even help you beat PMS.) This recipe from the blog Vidya is a great starting point. Other good-for-you, great-tasting herbs to play around with: cilantro, basil, mint, and parsley.
Here’s what we thought when we heard that cold-pressed juice company Urban Greens was creating a line of green juice cocktails: Brilliant! Unfortunately, the boozy juices are only available at NYC locales KITCHN Restaurant and the OUT Hotel. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a page from their book and add a splash of gin, vodka, or even Champagne to your homemade juice. (You can cook with booze, too, like with these 10 Healthy Alcohol-Infused Recipes.)
A squirt of vanilla extract or—if you’re feeling fancy—whole vanilla bean can add some mellowness and depth to an otherwise plain smoothie or juice, says van Wyk. (We love this Green Vanilla Almond Post-Workout Shake from Candice Kumai.)
Adding a few ounces of probiotic-rich yogurt or a powdered probiotic, like GNC Ultra Probiotic Complex ($33; gnc.com), is an easy way to nurture the good-for-you bacteria that live in your gut and beat bloat, says van Wyk. (Learn more about How Your Gut Bacteria Affects Health and Happiness.)
“This is a green tea powder that’s really high in antioxidants, and it does contain caffeine, so it’s great added into a morning drink, or as an afternoon pick-me-up to keep you feeling sharp,” says van Wyk. (Add that to the list of 20 Genius Ways to Use Matcha.)
Not everyone likes oatmeal—but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fiber-full food. Add a scoop of soaked oats to your next smoothie, like this healthy Apple Pie Smoothie.
Just as a dash of lemon or lime juice can brighten up a green juice, the peel can add freshness too, says van Wyk. The flavor is more intense, so you only need a bit. Just be careful to avoid grating any of the white pulpy rind beneath the peel, which tends to be bitter.
Like it hot? Spicy foods like jalapeno can help Fire Up Your Metabolism and boost blood flow, which makes it great in the morning, says Lawless. You can juice jalapenos (though you might want to remove some of the super-spicy seeds first), or add crushed cayenne pepper to smoothies and juices alike.
Lawless and Katrine are fans of maca root powder, which is part of 2015's New Wave of Superfoods. Says Lawless: “It helps regulate the production of hormones and also boosts stamina for anyone needing extra energy.”
If you're read Everything You Need to Know About Coconut Oil, you're already schooled on its benefits— but if you’re not adding it to your smoothies, you’re missing out. Or use coconut water as a smoothie base in place of milk, van Wyk suggests.
“Turmeric root helps beat bloat by reducing inflammation,” says Lawless. “Add ground turmeric or grate the fresh root into your smoothie when you need to calm your bod.” It’s one of the 12 Tiny Changes for Your Diet that experts get behind.