5 Minute Blueberry Spinach Smoothie (high iron)
This satisfying blueberry spinach smoothie is made with iron-rich foods like hemp hearts and soy milk so it packs in 4.5 mg of plant-based iron and 15 grams of plant-based protein per serving (with no protein powder)!
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Will we ever stop loving smoothies? As a dietitian, honestly, I can’t see it. As far as plant-based recipes go, smoothies make it SO easy to eat more plants at breakfast. Plus, they take like five minutes to make and the flavour variations are endless, so you’ll never get bored.
Whether you’re craving a rich chocolate and peanut butter smoothie, a tropical pina colada smoothie or even a warming carrot ginger smoothie, a really good smoothie is a delicious and energizing start to your day. And being excited about breakfast makes it easier to wake up, don’t you think? Well, maybe that and a strong cup of coffee but you get my point.
I wanted to challenge myself to create a yummy high iron smoothie for those of you who might be focused on your iron needs right now to show you that it’s easier than you think to get iron from plants. And this creamy, satisfying blueberry spinach smoothie has a lot going for it: plenty of other minerals like calcium and magnesium, fibre, omega 3 fatty acids and antioxidant phytochemicals.
Maybe I should repeat: it also tastes really good. There is a tiny hint of ginger that brightens everything it touches and it’s great with a drizzle of maple syrup or dates if you like things a bit sweeter. Why would a dietitian recommend you sweeten your smoothie? Because if you love the taste of what you’re eating…and that includes fruits and vegetables…you’ll eat it more often.
I am all about a joyful approach to eating well, free of deprivation and food rules. And if that appeals to you too, you might want to check out my NEWEST plant-based cookbook, Plant Magic!
How to make this creamy blueberry spinach smoothie
Got 5 minutes and some fresh or frozen blueberries? Let’s make this iron-rich smoothie.
Step One: grab these 7 ingredients – blueberries, baby spinach, banana, fresh ginger, hemp hearts, soy milk and if you want, something sweet like maple syrup or dates.
Step Two: Pop everything into a high speed blender, blend on high until fully liquified, about 45 seconds. Then pour and enjoy!
See? That’s why smoothies make it SO easy to eat well. Oh, and want to make it low FODMAP? Just swap almond or macadamia milk for the soy milk. Easy peasy.
This delicious smoothie is PACKED with high-iron plant foods
Think you can’t get enough iron from plant-based foods? Think again: each serving of this nourishing blueberry spinach smoothie contains 4.5mg of plant-based iron!
I’ve got a list of vegan iron sources if you need it but here is how it breaks down:
- ½ cup blueberries = 0.2 mg
- 1 cup spinach = 0.86 mg
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts = 2.2 mg
- 1 cup soy milk = 1.2 mg
But wait…isn’t spinach a bad source of iron? You might have heard that spinach, despite being high in iron, isn’t a good source of iron because of the oxalates.
Oxalates are naturally occurring compounds that bind iron in foods making that iron less bioavailable. Which is true, however, iron bioavailability and total iron absorption is pretty complicated.
For example, the daily iron requirement was determined with info from folks with essentially no iron stores and knowledge that there is no food with 100% bioavailability. The bioavailability of iron from meat is only about 15-35%!
There are multiple factors that determine iron absorption, such as your iron status, and the dose of iron you are eating, and the types of foods you’re eating together. Because of this, it’s actually extremely difficult to estimate how much iron a person with normal iron stores is absorbing.
It’s thought that the bioavailability of iron from raw spinach is about 5% but other factors will influence that, such as the presence of vitamin C (blueberries!) and calcium, which helps bind oxalate (soy milk!). So while yes, spinach is a high oxalate food, and I wouldn’t want it to be your only source of iron, the iron in spinach still contributes to your iron stores.
More delicious vegan smoothies
- Blueberry Pineapple Smoothie with Coconut (Erewhon dupe!)
- Turmeric Ginger Smoothie with Greens
- Cucumber, Kiwi, Mint Smoothie (low FODMAP)
- Strawberry Hemp Milk
5 Minute Blueberry Spinach Smoothie (high iron)
- 1 cup unsweetened soy milk, choose almond or macadamia for low FODMAP!
- 1 cup lightly packed baby spinach
- ½ cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
- ½ ripe banana, fresh or frozen
- 2 tablespoons hemp hearts
- ½ inch slice fresh ginger, about 1 tsp (5 mL) chopped
- sweetener of your choice, optional, to taste, I like maple syrup
- High Speed Blender
- Place all ingredients but sweetener in blender and blend on high until fully liquified, about 45 seconds. Taste and add sweetener if desired, blend quickly to combine and serve!