Everything you need to know about smoothie add-ins
Please note, this is a fact sheet of different and common smoothie add-ins beyond the typical smoothie recipe of fruit, veg, nuts/seeds/oats and milk. None of these ingredients below are essential in creating a healthy smoothie, they are simply boosters for those seeking certain nutritional aid or support.
Protein powders are a great way to add satiety to our smoothies. Look for a protein that contains minimal ingredients and no added sugars or sweeteners. Protein powders that simply contain the protein are a great option e.g. whey protein, pea protein, rice protein or hemp protein. If opting for a flavoured option, check the flavourings are recognisable and natural ingredients like cocoa or vanilla.
Spirulina is a powder of micro algae that’s completely safe for consumption. It is a great source of iron, protein, B vitamins (excluding B12), manganese and healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It’s also a top source of provitamin A (beta-carotene), and is the perfect addition to green smoothies (1).
There are lots of different green powdered blends on the market that contain a range of different vegetables, fruit, grasses or algae for the purpose of adding a concentrated dose of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Be sure to look for one that isn’t sweetened, or have any artificial ingredients. These can be great for days you might not be able to have a lot of fresh vegetables, such as when travelling.
The popularity of collagen peptide powders continues to grow, with many now adding collagen powder to smoothies. What is collagen? Collagen accounts for about 30% of our total body protein, mostly in our ligaments, bone, joints and skin. Our bodies produce collagen, but there are increasing products in the dietary collagen market. Dietary collagen can come in 3 different types (Type I, Type II and Type II), each from various sources (such as marine, bovine (cattle) and porcine (pig)). Preliminary studies and lab testing have shown consuming collagen peptides as beneficial for skin and joint health, however the research is still limited (2). There are no known negative side effects to supplementing with collagen however, dosage, efficacy and quality is still currently unregulated (3).
Seeds – e.g. hemp, chia, flaxseed
Smoothies are a great place to add those seeds that are packed with nutrients, but that you’re less likely to snack on!
- Hemp is a rich source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, iron, vitamin E, potassium, zinc, calcium and magnesium.
- Chia seeds are a rich source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium and magnesium.
- Flaxseeds are a rich source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and magnesium (4,5,6)
Fresh mint – adds plenty of freshness
Cocoa / cacao powder – for a chocolate lover (1-2 tsp is plenty!)
Freeze-dried fruit & veg powders e.g. beetroot, berry blends – add variety to your smoothie flavour repertoire and often contain a notable amount of antioxidants and vitamins
Ground cinnamon or mixed spice – adds a touch of spice, great with apple or pear smoothies
- Jamie Santa Cruz. Today’s Dietitian (2019). Dietary Collagen — Should Consumers Believe the Hype? Vol. 21, No. 3, P. 26.