The warm weather months always feel like prime smoothie season—berry-filled recipes abound, and all you want to eat is something cool and light. Then, suddenly, you find you’ve been eating the same smoothie several days a week, and you’re craving something new. The easiest solution? Swap in some new, seasonal fruits (yes, there are fruits in the fall!) and add a few fresh toppings here and there. Trading just one fruit for another can create a whole new flavor, and with fall’s bold spices and tart fruits, one easy swap is really all you need to taste a serious difference. Mix and match with these seasonal smoothie recipe ingredients to reap the health benefits of some of our favorite fall foods.
They’ve always said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away, and for good reason. “Apples are the main source of flavonoids in the Western diet, and they’re rich in vitamin C,” says Michele McRae, MS and certified nutritionist at Rainbow Light. “Granny Smith apples are particularly high in the flavonoids cyanidin and epicatechin. Vitamin C and flavonoids both act as antioxidants in your system and neutralize harmful free radicals.” The fruit is only about 80 calories for a medium 3-inch piece, and they’re super high in fiber, so an apple will help to keep you full on fewer calories. What’s not to love?
“Ginger has long been used to stimulate digestion and improve circulation,” says McRae. It also relieves tired muscles, fills you up faster, burns fat, and even helps to manage your blood sugar levels. The spice blends well with apples, banana, nutmeg, and yogurt for a tasty morning treat.
“A half-teaspoon of cinnamon per day can help lower bad cholesterol and also help stabilize blood sugar, which is great for weight loss,” says Jordan Porter of theannexkitchen.com. “Cinnamon also has anti-fungal properties, and just the smell alone can help boost cognitive function and memory.” Superfruits, step back! This well-rounded spice pairs perfectly with any type of milk and, of course, apple.
Cranberry juice—it isn’t just for UTIs anymore! “Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, and are only 45 calories per cup,” says Porter. And when it comes to their disease-fighting antioxidant power, get this: “Cranberries outrank nearly every fruit and vegetable.” They blend deliciously with citrus fruits and ginger, or pineapple and green apple.
Nutritionists have long heralded pomegranates as one of nature’s best sources of antioxidants, but it’s a lesser known fact that they’re also packed chock full of fiber. Double duty! For endless smoothie options, the fruit pairs nicely with coconut water and other fruits like cranberries.
Ditch the jack-o’-lantern! Pumpkin seeds alone are a great source of protein, and they’re also the only alkaline-forming seed in existence, which is key for pH balance. “Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of vitamins B, E, K and zinc, and are filled with phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron, and copper,” says Porter. The subtle flavor of this topping makes it super versatile—toss a handful of ‘em into just about any smoothie.