5 scrumptious, healthy winter smoothie recipes

While you might consider smoothies to be more synonymous with summer, they can be equally as nourishing and satisfying during the winter months. Smoothies are a great on-the-go meal or snack option, and depending on the ingredients, they can offer you a slew of immune-boosting benefits to you help fend off a cold or the flu. The following round-up of registered dietitian-approved winter smoothies use in-season ingredients, are balanced with plant-based proteins and healthy fats, and contain a variety of disease-fighting antioxidants. Get your blender out, because these smoothies are as good for you as they are delicious:

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie. This smoothie will evoke childhood memories with its bright, citrusy flavor and creamy texture. Halo mandarin oranges are a rich source of Vitamin C and fiber, plus they’re an easy-to-peel citrus option that makes for a quick and easy smoothie ingredient. Vanilla yogurt adds the creamy texture and vanilla flavor. Note: Not all yogurts are created equal. Some vanilla yogurts, even organic varieties, contain more than 4 teaspoons of added sugar. Opt for a low-sugar variety like Siggi’s, a strained Icelandic Skyr that is a good source of protein to boot.

Spiced Cranberry Apple and Hemp Smoothie. Cranberries are an antioxidant powerhouse, but buyers beware: The dried varieties tend to be loaded with sugar. Instead, opt for frozen or fresh cranberries, which can be incorporated into a number of seasonal recipes. The naturally tart flavor of the cranberry is balanced out with the sweetness of apples and frozen mangoes. Ginger and cardamom elevate the flavor, while the hemp hearts add protein (3 tablespoons = 10 grams of protein), healthy fats and fiber.

Pomegranate Pear Coconut Ginger Smoothie. This recipe takes advantage of a variety of seasonal flavors, including pears — which add fiber, natural sweetness and their unique texture to this blend. Pomegranate juice creates the vibrant red color and adds to the immune-boosting and anti-cancer benefits of this smoothie. Look for a pomegranate juice, like POM, that is 100 percent juice with no added sugars. Red Scarletts Grapefruit, which is sweeter than most grapefruit varieties, bolsters the vitamin C and fiber content while adding a touch of tang. Walnuts, creamy coconut milk and aromatic ginger round out this good-for-you recipe.

Wild Blueberry Basil Cheesecake Smoothie. This smoothie was created by registered dietitian Kara Lydon of the Foodie Dietitian blog. Frozen wild blueberries blend to create a polarizing purple color. Their antioxidant benefits trump those of conventional blueberries (two times greater) due to the cooler climate and soil quality in which they are grown. Plain, low-fat strained yogurt and cottage cheese construct the creamy texture and serve as satisfying added protein. Graham cracker crumbs are a whimsical addition, nodding to the cheesecake reference in the title.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Smoothie. Simple, decadent and crave-worthy, this dessert-like smoothie was created by registered dietitian Abbey Sharpe. Unsweetened cocoa powder is combined with milk, plain yogurt, ground flax, frozen bananas and peanut butter. Opt for a natural peanut butter that is free of sugar and hydrogenated fats. If your bananas are going bad, peel and freeze them for later use in baked goods and smoothies like this one. Whole flax seeds can be ground by placing them into the blender first; flax must be ground to extract the anti-inflammatory benefits.

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5 Scrumptious, Healthy Winter Smoothie Recipes originally appeared on usnews.com

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