Drinking vitamin-rich smoothies can be a terrific, wholesome way to start to the day. I've learned that the key to making them solid breakfast material is always adding an extra key ingredient or two. These are my five favorite ways to guarantee I blend up a super-satisfying smoothie that will fill me up and won't leave me hungry in an hour.
1. Add your favorite nut butter.
Nut butters, like almond butter or peanut butter, add a good hit of protein to your next smoothie. Plus, they act as a thickener. I love adding a tablespoon of almond butter to a banana smoothie with plain yogurt, almond milk, honey, and ice.
2. Blend in a spoonful of chia seeds.
If you haven't yet tried chia seeds, they're those little superfood seeds rich in protein and antioxidants. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons to your next smoothie for an added nutritional boost. You can certainly add the chia seeds directly to your smoothie, but I find that they can have a tough time incorporating this way — and thicken the smoothie a bit too much — so I like to soak the seeds in water for about 10 minutes before I blend them so they'll incorporate easily.
3. Fold in tofu.
This one may sound a bit odd, but tofu has such a mild, neutral flavor that you might not notice it's even there. It adds instant protein to your morning smoothie, and has great thickening properties as well. I begin with 1/2 cup of crumbled tofu, blend, check the consistency, and go from there.
4. Go for the yogurt.
This may sound obvious, and I know a lot of people make delicious smoothies without yogurt, but if you're not vegan and can tolerate dairy well, I find that yogurt, particularly protein-rich Greek yogurt, is the key to a fulfilling, satisfying smoothie. I always use full-fat yogurt, as it helps me stay fuller longer (and almost always has far less sugar). I also aim for the plain variety, as I like to let the fruit from the smoothie be the main flavor addition.
5. Add a little fat.
It's often discussed — and is most certainly my experience — that a little fat helps you stay full longer, especially in the morning, so I've taken to adding a small bit of coconut oil to my smoothies. Coconut oil has a really subtle, natural sweetness, and makes the smoothie silky and delightful. Avocado and cashews are also great choices. The added fat helps me plow through my morning tasks without starting to ponder lunch by 10 a.m.