Smoothies are pretty amazing. How else can you pack fruits and veggies, adaptogens (certain herbs and shrooms that may just decrease stress), electrolytes, omegas, and more nutritious wonders into a 12-ounce drink that can also double as a drop-dead Instagram pic? Get those blenders ready—“My favorite is the Vitamix,” registered dietician Carli Kilgore says—and follow her four mighty recipes. 

Image: Jenn Duncan

 FINALLY BACK TO SCHOOL SMOOTHIE

It’s allergy friendly—no gluten, dairy, or nuts—and good for concentration. So, yeah, this one’s for the kids.

  • 1 cup banana milk
  • (or GF oat milk)
  • 1 frozen banana
  • ½ cup frozen cauliflower
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup pureed pumpkin
  • Heavy sprinkle cinnamon or pumpkin spice 
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Notable ingredients:

Pumpkin seeds. They’re high in zinc, and zinc is one of those nutrients that keep your gut junctions tight and prevent food intolerances. It’s also shown in some studies to be an immune system booster.

Cauliflower. Don’t fret, frozen cauliflower blends smooth and is rather tasteless. It’s also chock-full of vitamin C and tryptophan, the same chemical that zonks the family out every Thanksgiving and is “what helps kids stay calm,” says Kilgore.

Banana. The beloved fruit is a natural antiviral and helps promote calm and concentration.

Pumpkin. It’s packed with zinc, so imperative for kids’ immune health. 

Image: Jenn Duncan

HAPPY GUT SMOOTHIE

To improve your digestive health, of course.

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 pear
  • ¼ coconut milk + ¾ cup filtered water
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ cup microgreens
  • 1 tsp Rhodiola (optional)
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 1 handful Spinach
  • 1 inch aloe gel (inside only)
  • 1 scoop protein powder of choice

Notable ingredients:

Microgreens. “All of the nutrients of a whole plant in these little bits of green,” Kilgore says. That includes oodles of vitamins, minerals, antiviral compounds, and phytochemicals.

Cucumber. It’s anti-inflammatory, cooling, and hydrating—an ingredient that’s pretty much what we need in Houston, year-round.

Chia Flax. Studies show that higher intake of omega-3s, which abound in chia seeds, is linked with greater microbial diversity in the gut. The fact that omega-3s are linked to heart health and are thought to be helpful for those dealing with depression is just an added bonus.

Aloe. This wonder plant is believed to reduce inflammation, while also supporting circulation and elimination—yes, regular bowel movements.

Image: Jenn Duncan

ANTI-VIRAL SMOOTHIE

Good to deploy during cold and flu season.

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 1 cup wild blueberries (frozen)
  • ½ cup strawberries or
  • raspberries (frozen)
  • ¼ cup cilantro
  • ½ cup (handful) spinach
  • ¼ tsp spirulina 
  • 2 tsp chia or flax seeds
  • 1 scoop protein powder

Notable ingredients:

Spirulina. This blue-green microalga is high in omega-3s, minerals, and vitamins. Plus, it’s a big antiviral player.

Cilantro. The natural antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral herb supports liver health, and can even detox heavy metals from the body. Don’t like the taste? Swap in lemon balm, a stress-reliever and antimicrobial, too.

Wild blueberries. They’re high in antioxidants (polyphenols, anthocyanins, and more) that scavenge free-radicals—meaning they can potentially protect against cancer and even aging.

Image: Jenn Duncan

COCOA ZEN SMOOTHIE

“You could do this one as dessert, pre-bed,” says Kilgore. “I mean, there’s your milkshake right there.”

  • 1 tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 1 tsp chaga or reishi 
  • 1 tsp ashwagandha 
  • 1 cup cashew or almond milk
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 tbsp almond butter

Notable ingredients:

Dark chocolate (cacao). “Even though there’s a little bit of caffeine,” says Kilgore, “it’s high in magnesium, so it’s really great for relaxation and relaxing muscles.”

Chaga or Reishi mushrooms. For mood and relaxation and chill, look no further.

Ashwagandha. This medicinal herb—the powder is derived from the evergreen shrub’s roots and leaves—is Kilgore’s absolute favorite adaptogen for stress relief. Little wonder it’s been used as such for 3,000 years.

Cherries. A natural source of serotonin, these are really good for sleep.

Almond butter. These nuts are high in mono-unsaturated fats and l-carnitine, which is important for brain health and mood stabilization.

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