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By Suja Juice

7 surprising healthy smoothie ingredients to try

suja smoothie additionsStarting my day with a smoothie is one of the best morning habits I've ever picked up. Smoothies are an incredible way to sneak in more fruits and veggies than I would normally eat in one sitting. For example, I know I would very rarely eat the handful of spinach I put in my morning smoothie on its own for breakfast. While I love juicing, because my body is able to easily assimilate the nutrients without the fiber, I also love the satiation that comes with a blended drink. They make me feel more full and often keep me satisfied until lunchtime. Another thing I really love about smoothies is that there are innumerable ingredients to try when it comes to making them, most of which you might not have ever considered! Here are a few delicious, nutrient-packed, healthy smoothie ingredients that may surprise you: Avocados: Avocados add a smooth and creamy texture to smoothies. They're a great source of fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats (MUFAs) to keep you fuller longer. I usually put ½ an avo in my blends but start smaller if you aren’t used to the taste! (1) Nut butter: The Justin’s Almond Butter Squeeze Packs are my #1 pick for smoothies, but other nut butters like cashew or walnut butters work amazingly too. They add creaminess, protein and healthy fat to smoothies. (2) Broccoli: I cringed at the mere thought of this when it was first suggested to me, but this fiber-rich vegetable helps keep you full without changing the taste of your favorite smoothie combos. (3) Sweet Potato: Cooked sweet potato naturally sweetens smoothies and adds a healthy dose of beta-carotene, which has been shown to enhance immune, bone and eye health. Simply peel, dice and then steam sweet potatoes until very tender before adding to your blender. (4) Chard: Spinach and kale are usually my go-tos, but chard is a fantastic choice as well. It’s a good source of protein, calcium, iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, alkalizing chlorophyll and vitamins A, C, E. (5) Green Tea: Try swapping some of the water in your next smoothie with cooled (and brewed) green tea. It's full of antioxidants, adds subtle flavor and will give you a nice energy boost, great choice if you’re avoiding coffee! (6) Quinoa: Quinoa is a “complete” protein source, meaning that it provides the majority of the essential amino acids our bodies need. Adding cooked quinoa to your smoothie is a way to get a dose of protein without yucky chemical-laden powders! You may need to blend a little longer to achieve the right consistency with this gluten-free grain. (7) Enjoy! Katie SOURCES: 1. Dreher, M. (2013). Hass Avocado Composition and Potential Health Effects. National Library of Medicine, 738-750. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3664913/ 2. Jacob, Aglaee. "Do Nut Butters Count as Proteins or Fats?" Healthy Eating. Demand Media, 2015. Web. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nut-butters-count-proteins-fats-2177.html 3. Unknown. "Does Fiber Keep You Fuller Longer?" Healthy Eating. Demand Media, 4 Apr. 2014. Web. http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/fiber-keep-full-longer-8334.html 4. Mercola, Joseph. "Sweet Potatoes: A Tasty Treat for Your Health." Mercola.com. Mercola Publishing Inc., 2015. Web. http://articles.mercola.com/sweet-potato.aspx 5. Rudrappa, Umesh Rudrappa. "Swiss Chard Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits." Nutrition And You.com. Nutrition and You Publishing, 2009. Web. 21 Aug. 2015. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/swiss-chard.html 6. Ware, Megan. "Green Tea: Health Benefits and Risks." Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, 2015. Web. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/269538.php 7. Bruso, Jessica. "Is Quinoa a Complete Protein Food?" LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 23 June 2015. Web. http://www.livestrong.com/article/378479-is-quinoa-a-complete-protein-food