Getting the right nutrients each day can be a daunting task for some. Thankfully, smoothies are an easy way to boost your nutrient intake with minimal fuss. Smoothies are quick, convenient, transportable and customisable for the whole family.
To really make the most of your smoothie, there’s a basic template you should follow (scroll to read my basic smoothie guide). Ideally you want a mix of macronutrients, tipped towards quality fat and protein. Once you’ve got your foundations, flavour combinations are completely up to you. To make anything taste good in a smoothie, some usual suspects are berries, banana, yoghurt, coconut cream and cacao powder.
However if you want to supercharge your smoothies, knowing you’re covering a few important nutrients at once, here’s 5 smoothie ingredients that’ll help give a huge nutrient boost. Add these ingredients to your smoothie for a quick breakfast, kid’s snack or if you just need more healthy food inspo.
5 Nutrient-Boosters for Your Smoothie
- Nut Butter
- Chia Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Collagen Powder
In my view, the best thing that ever happened to nuts is nut butter. Most of us have a jar of peanut butter in the house. This is by far the easiest and cheapest way to supercharge any smoothie. It’s almost a completely balanced macronutrient food, full of heart-healthy fats, quality protein and complex carbohydrates. Peanut butter also has a few other healthful compounds, including resveratrol, choline and tryptophan. The addition of B vitamins and minerals including zinc and magnesium mean peanut butter is one nut butter worth keeping fully stocked in your pantry.
Adding nut butters is a great way to get an antioxidant hit, add fuel for energy and is great for optimal brain function. A quick blend of oats, banana, peanut butter, raspberries and your fave nut milk - hey presto - you’ve got a PB&J smoothie to get your morning started right. In keeping with the macronutrient balance, why not try almond butter, cashew butter or sunflower seed butter instead? Blitz almond butter, blueberries, a handful of spinach and coconut milk for a hormone-helping smoothie ready in minutes. Get all the nutty deliciousness and change up the flavours simply by switching your nut butters. Yes.
Ever wondered what exactly LSA is? LSA is one of the most underrated pantry staples available. LSA is a ready-made mix of ground linseeds (flaxseeds), sunflower seeds and almond meal. Adding just a tablespoon of LSA to a smoothie is a guaranteed way to get some extra minerals, B vitamins, fibre and fats. LSA is also great to add to any baking or breakfast treat you can imagine. If you’re looking to support your skin health, immune health, hormones and digestion, LSA is for you. This little blend is slightly sweet, crumbly and soaks up most liquids it makes contact with. If you’re adding LSA into a smoothie, just add another splash of your favourite nut, plant or dairy milk and blend well.
Originally, chia seeds were an Aztecan staple food, yet now they’re enjoyed and cultivated around the world. If you need a nut-free and gluten-free option for smoothies, chia seeds are widely available and relatively cheap these days. Chia seeds have some wonderful health benefits, including gently supporting digestion, boosting omega 3 status and contain several amino acids for growth. Chia seeds are a go-to seed for pregnancy and breastfeeding to amp up important brain-building nutrients. They’re also fantastic for kids as a first-food or easy snack as chia pudding. Read all about why omega-3 is so important and how to boost your omega-3 intake.
Chia seeds are notorious for soaking up liquids. They can soak up to 10 x their weight in water, so it’s important to go slowly when adding chia seeds to your smoothie. This stuff can be like glue if you don’t get the ratios right!. When it comes to adding chia seeds to a smoothie, 1 tablespoon is all you need. When combined with milk or water, chia seeds form a gel and thicken as they set. Their fibre content helps you feel full throughout the day and is also why they're fantastic to support bowel health and digestion. Try flavour combinations such as chia, papaya, strawberries and coconut for a tropical and delicious breakfast smoothie.
Hemp seeds are probably my favourite seed to use in many dishes. Hemp seeds are one of the most nutritionally perfect foods, gaining a richly deserved ‘superfood’ title. Wherever your mood, hormones or protein intake needs some help - hemp seeds are it. They’re particularly good if you’re on a vegan or vegetarian diet, to make sure you’re getting the right mix of nutrients from plant foods. Like chia seeds and LSA, hemp seeds are super easy to add to any breakfast food and are wonderful in smoothies. Hemp seeds are sometimes called hemp hearts and contain easily digestible protein. If you usually add protein powder to your smoothies yet you find pea protein difficult to digest, give hemp seeds a go.
There aren’t many plant foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids. Hemp seeds make the cut, making them a complete protein food. They're plant-based, nut-free, gluten-free and nutrient-dense little seeds that more people should get behind. Hemp seeds are virtually flavourless, although they can have a slightly fresh, grassy vibe (makes sense!). Boost your morning smoothie with hemp seeds, cacao powder, dates, almond butter and almond milk. The health benefits of hemp seeds are compelling. There’s some interesting emerging research on hemp seeds as a neuroprotective, prebiotic and immune-boosting food. Still need some convincing? I’m here to spruik hemp seeds all day!
Collagen powder is hugely popular these days in health and wellness circles. Most people have heard that collagen may help with skin healing or that collagen is widely touted to improve skin elasticity. It’s commonly found in cosmetic products and health supplements with a focus on beauty. Collagen is a natural protein that’s found in the connective tissue, joints and bones of humans and other animals.
Us humans make our own collagen from a few key nutrients - zinc, vitamin C, proline and glycine. Yet, as with most things to do with ageing, the renewing processes in the body slow down as we get older. Stress, poor digestion and a nutrient-deficient diet can mean we don't make enough collagen for our body tissues to maintain their function. So if you’re wanting to support your skin, muscle and bone health, collagen is worth adding to your smoothie routine.
Collagen is also what makes foods like bone broth so nutritious. It’s incredibly useful in digestive health, as the individual amino acids serve to heal and repair the gut lining. Healing the gut is a key first step to better overall health. Once your digestion is working well, most other processes sort themselves out too.
Collagen powder can be added to literally anything. (Psst.. you can even add it to your morning coffee!). A tablespoon of unflavoured collagen powder is perfect to add to your smoothies. It will naturally thicken as it stands, giving a luscious texture that pairs well with almost any fruit, nut, seed or flavour combination. Try greek yoghurt, spinach, frozen banana, cinnamon, honey and collagen for an incredible hulk-style smoothie, even your kids will love!
Basic Healthy Smoothie Guide
Do you feel overwhelmed when putting together a smoothie for yourself or your family? I hear you. Sometimes it can feel like you need a hundred ingredients for it to be a nutritious smoothie. Other days, you might be lucky to add 2 ingredients and hit ‘pulse’ on the blender.
This template is made as a guide for people to feel confident they’re doing enough - because I’m here to tell you, you are! There’s just a couple of basics to master, then you can go nuts with additions. Here’s a simple guide to help you make a balanced and delicious smoothie, every time.
Include 1 item from the following categories
- Fresh or frozen fruit/veg (banana, berries, kiwi fruit, papaya, spinach)
- Fibre (chia, psyllium, flaxseeds)
- Healthy Fats (avocado, coconut milk, yoghurt)
- Protein (nut butter, protein powder, collagen powder)
- Liquid to mix (soy milk, almond milk, coconut water, dairy milk)
- probiotics, cinnamon, extra nuts or seeds
Arya, S. S., Salve, A. R., & Chauhan, S. (2016). Peanuts as functional food: a review. Journal of food science and technology, 53(1), 31–41. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13197-015-2007-9
de Miranda, R. B., Weimer, P., & Rossi, R. C. (2021). Effects of hydrolyzed collagen supplementation on skin aging: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of dermatology, 60(12), 1449–1461. https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.15518
Foolad, N., Vaughn, A. R., Rybak, I., Burney, W. A., Chodur, G. M., Newman, J. W., Steinberg, F. M., & Sivamani, R. K. (2019). Prospective randomized controlled pilot study on the effects of almond consumption on skin lipids and wrinkles. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 33(12), 3212–3217. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.6495
Kallis, P. J., & Friedman, A. J. (2018). Collagen Powder in Wound Healing. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD, 17(4), 403–408.
Rodriguez-Martin, N. M., , Toscano, R., , Villanueva, A., , Pedroche, J., , Millan, F., , Montserrat-de la Paz, S., , & Millan-Linares, M. C., (2019). Neuroprotective protein hydrolysates from hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seeds. Food & function, 10(10), 6732–6739. https://doi.org/10.1039/c9fo01904a
Vuksan, V., Choleva, L., Jovanovski, E., Jenkins, A. L., Au-Yeung, F., Dias, A. G., Ho, H. V., Zurbau, A., & Duvnjak, L. (2017). Comparison of flax (Linum usitatissimum) and Salba-chia (Salvia hispanica L.) seeds on postprandial glycemia and satiety in healthy individuals: a randomized, controlled, crossover study. European journal of clinical nutrition, 71(2), 234–238.https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2016.148