If any of you read my blog The Soulful Spoon, you probably already know that I love smoothies, and love to use tasty toppings for smoothies. I always found smoothies to be my form of dessert and a meal in one precious vehicle. I love that you can get in so much nutrition from greens and veggies, add in a few special ingredients and actually make it taste like dessert. It took me me years of playing around to find out how to do this without using a ton of fruit or sweeteners. Once, I did, I also found ways to put healthy toppings for smoothies on my delicious drinks so they really do look like an ice cream treat! Check out my favorite toppings for smoothies and if you have one you think I should add, be sure to let me know!
1. Flax Seed Meal
Flax seed meal was the first of all toppings for smoothies that I used, mainly because I already loved it and used it everyday. I love the slightly nutty and mildly sweet taste flax has. It sort of reminds me of the texture of graham cracker crumbs too, which I love! Flax is loaded with healthy omegas, fiber, potassium and magnesium, plus iron, folic acid and riboflavin. Sprinkle 1 tbsp. or 2 on each of your smoothies. When it melts into the smoothie, as you eat it, it really gets even better!
2. Almond Slices
I always love almond slices, and they make one heck of a smoothie topping! Almond slices are a great way to get in all the benefits of almonds, yet eating them sliced lowers the calorie content. A tablespoon of slices is less calories than a tablespoon of nuts, and in my opinion, the slices are sweeter. You can eat 10 almond slices versus 10 almonds and save almost 100 calories. Plus, you’re still getting in all the tasty, crunchy texture that almonds have so you can enjoy them. Not to mention, almonds are full of Vitamin E, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins and zinc.
3. Coconut Shreds
I adore coconut and coconut shreds are one of my favorite ways to eat them. I buy unsweetened coconut shreds, and like the thicker, medium sized shreds more than the finely shredded ones because the thicker they are, the more flavor they have. Coconut shreds are full of flavor, healthy fatty acids, and just one tablespoon is a great way to add flavor, healthy fat and vitamins in one small serving. It also makes for a gorgeous white topping!
4. Trail Mix
I like to make my own trail mix from pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sliced almonds, raw cashews, raw walnuts and raw pecans. Sometimes I add raisins or gojis, but rarely. I like to sprinkle my homemade trail mix on top of my smoothies for an extra dose of satiating fat, a great source of fiber, Vitamin E, protein, manganese, magnesium, zinc and copper. Plus, the crunchy texture is so nice and really fills you up quickly.
5. Walnut Pieces
If you’re not into almonds or trail mix, another favorite topping I have is walnut pieces. Do you remember how when you were little or a teen and you loved getting those ice cream sundaes with the fudge and the walnut pieces on top? I do! I used to love the fatty, sweet taste of raw walnut pieces, so much so that I eat them on most smoothies now. You can also just crumble two walnuts up and get the same effect. Walnuts are full of fiber, Vitamin E, healthy fats and more. They’re also rich and buttery tasting, which I just love!
6. Cacao Nibs
Cacao nibs are another must have topping on my smoothies. Cacao nibs, or raw chocolate, are like your healthy, free way to eat chocolate chips. Raw cacao nibs have more nutrients than chocolate chips, no sugar and lots of fiber and healthy fats. They also stabilize your appetite and prevent depression. Best of all, they add a yummy, crunchy texture to your smoothies, all while being free of the processed ingredients in those toppings at your local ice cream bar.
7. Goji Berries
Goji berries are one of the best sources of Vitamin C and antioxidants of most fruits. They’re also so pretty whatever they are added to. They are lower in sugar than most dried fruits and are rich in potassium. Plus, they have a nice, tart and slightly chewy texture that is fun to use in smoothies. Their bright, glowing red color is what makes them so fun though!
8. Chia Seeds
I call chia seeds “nature’s healthy sprinkles,” because that’s what they remind me of. They have the same texture as real sprinkles, yet lack the bright color. What they also lack are the added sugars, fake dyes and unhealthy oils in regular sprinkles. Yet, they have tons of omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, potassium, magnesium, iron, potassium and are fairly low calorie. They are also tasteless, yet their texture is what makes them such a great smoothie topping. Plus, they fill you up really fast so you won’t be hungry an hour later.
9. Hemp Seeds
Lastly, my other favorite smoothie topping is hemp seeds! Hemp seeds are just bursting with vitamins and minerals, and they’re also so tasty! Rich, nutty and slightly reminiscent of walnuts in my opinion, yet much softer, hemp seeds are just little bombs of flavor and nutrition. They have protein, zinc, fiber, Vitamin E, magnesium, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, omega 6 fatty acids, are raw, have no saturated fat and are low in carbohydrates. This makes them excellent for your body and your blood sugar.
Try using one or two of these smoothie toppings on your next smoothie. Or, use 2 tbsp. of a single topping, or mix up all of them in a bowl and use 2 tbsp as a combination. on one of your smoothies. These smoothie toppings make great sources of nutrition, flavor, and are amazing to add texture to your smoothies. I even like to freeze my smoothies for about an hour before eating them. They thicken up like ice cream so you can eat them with a spoon and enjoy these toppings even more like your typical ice cream treat. Do you put toppings on your smoothies?