Nutritionist reveals ingredients to add to your morning smoothie to make it beneficial for health

woman drinking smoothie
Turns out there's more to think about then just throwing in some fruits and blending. Photo credit: Getty Images.

Be wary of terms like 'superfoods' and add in all the good fats: That's the advice of an expert when it comes to blending up your delicious morning smoothie. 

Thanks to meal kit services like Hello Fresh and My Food Bag, Kiwis have become accustomed to having the ability to order easy dinner meal kits directly to their homes. 

Now former New Zealand rugby star Riki Hoeata has created Craft Smoothie: A kit delivered to your home or office each week with pre-proportioned smoothie blends, meaning you don't have to shell out hundreds at the supermarket for ingredients that often just end up rotting. 

It's a similar model as that of overseas smoothie giant Honestly Good and fellow Kiwi offering Naked Nectar, with each mix containing loads of plant-based protein and dietary fibre to support a healthy gut. 

But what actually makes a healthy smoothie - and in fact, can you have less-than-healthy ones?

Yes, according to registered clinical nutritionist Laura Warren, who says no matter how you're getting your smoothie ingredients, it's important to be adding good quality fats like avocado, coconut yoghurt, nut butter and coconut milk to boost metabolism, balance blood sugars and make us feel satisfied for longer. 

Ingredients-wise, it's best to look for fruits and veggies that punch above their weight. 

"Leafy greens are an excellent source of nutrients including folate, zinc, calcium, iron,  magnesium, vitamin C and fibre," she says. 

"Berries are rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, fibre and polyphenols which are micronutrients that reduce inflammation. Plus they add vibrant colour and gentle sweetness once blended with other smoothie ingredients."

Each kit comes with ingredients and instructions.
Each kit comes with ingredients and instructions. Photo credit: Supplied.

While some smoothie mixes depend on the word 'superfood' in their branding, Warren says that's mostly a marketing ploy. 

"Consuming foods that are packed with nutrients - as many so-called superfoods are - is certainly a good idea. The key to a healthy diet is to consume a variety of whole foods that are ideally locally grown. 

"My view is to keep it simple and ideally eat foods grown as close to home as possible. If you feel like trying some of the more exotic superfoods that are easily accessible now just be mindful to buy from a fair trade and ideally organic source."

But the real key, she says, it's not what you're eating - or drinking - but how you're doing it. 

"You are not what you eat, you are what you absorb; so to get the most nutrients out of your diet you want to eat when you are hungry, not bored or emotional etc, and also in a calm state," she explains. 

"The Parasympathetic nervous system (the 'rest and digest' system) wants to be fully activated so the nutrients can be extracted.

"Be mindful when you eat and drink: Ensure you are in a relaxed state, ideally sitting down. Take a few slow breaths in and out the nose and a few moments of gratitude for your food before you drink or eat." 

And if you're still sipping the same smoothie every day you make through the summer months, it's important to change it up to fit the chillier mornings. 

"One thing I recommend to clients over the winter months is to add warming spices like cinnamon and ginger to their smoothies and reduce the frozen elements to support digestion and the circulatory system," says Warren. 

So there you have it - rest, blend and drink up!