We can all agree that smoothies are a great way to make sure you're fitting in a few servings of vegetables and fruits, along with the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that come with them. Smoothies can be a great breakfast or snack if balanced out with protein and healthy fats, too, but the frozen ingredients that often give smoothies their signature creaminess don't completely jive with cold winter temps.
If you dabble in Ayurveda (which involves eating with the seasons, for your body type, or how your body is feeling at a particular time), you might know that eating cold things while it's cold outside doesn't exactly help your body function at its best. We asked some Ayurvedic experts to weigh in on what we can do to make our smoothies more winter-friendly. Following a few of these tips could help promote better digestion, immunity, and more energy all winter long.
Choosing foods wisely
Dr. Bindiya Gandhi says, "You want to add warming ingredients into your diet as well as 'heavier' foods to keep you full and to support vata, which dominates during the winter months."
She suggests heavier fruits like avocados, coconut, bananas, plums, pineapples, mangoes, papayas, and oranges but urges against adding more than one fruit as it, "can spike blood glucose."
Ayurveda health counselor Jeanette Volpi says, "Ayurveda always cautions mixing fruit with other foods, so go pure and have all fruit or all vegetables—not both!"
Mix it up
Jeanette suggests mixing it up, "Have a warm soup instead. It's the same idea as a smoothie except it's warm over cold!"
Cooked foods, in general, may be a wise addition to any blended concoction.
"Winter is a season that brings more cold and dry elements, and raw foods tend to increase these qualities, " says Adrian Nowland, an Ayurvedic wellness counselor.
To mitigate this, you can try:
- Drinking them at room temperature instead of cold and omitting any frozen ingredients
- Using ripe fruits. These are easier to digest because nature has already "cooked" them.
- Winter squash and sweet potatoes are extremely vata-balancing, so if you have some already cooked, add those! A pumpkin-pie-themed smoothie would be wonderful during winter.
- Adding some protein, such as a high-quality nut, seed, or rice protein powder
"Generally think about warming, grounding, and moisturizing qualities. Sweet, sour, and salty tastes are balancing during winter, so fewer bitter greens are ideal," says Adrian.
- Sweet potato (cooked)
- Pumpkin/winter squash (cooked)
Warming spices + add-ins
- Raw honey
- Coconut oil
- Nuts or nut butters
- Seeds or seed butters
Some smoothie ingredient combinations to keep in mind:
Vanilla Chai Smoothie
- Vanilla protein powder
- Coconut or almond milk
- Fresh ginger, grated
Spicy Chocolate Smoothie
- Coconut milk
- Chocolate protein powder
Sweet Potato Pie Smoothie
- Roasted sweet potato puree
- Cinnamon, ground
- Ginger, ground
- Nutmeg, ground
- Almond butter
- Almond or coconut milk
Combine everything in a blender until smooth.
Leah Vanderveldt is an author living in Brooklyn, New York. She received her bachelor’s in communications and media from Fordham University, and is certified in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute. She is the author of two cookbooks: The New Nourishing and The New Porridge.
Vanderveldt is a former food editor at mindbodygreen and has previously worked for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Australian Home Beautiful.