A vitamin-packed smoothie is a great way to start the day, or works as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Here are tips on how to make your smoothies delicious and nutritious every time.
Start your smoothie with a liquid base. It’s important to add the liquid to your blender before adding the fruit as this will prevent the blade from getting damaged. Here are some possibilities:
- Milk (skim or whole) is a popular choice.
- Soy milk works for people who are lactose intolerant, as well as adding some protein.
- Greek yogurt (sweetened or plain) will result in a thicker smoothie.
- Nut milk (such as almond or coconut) can make the taste of your smoothie different.
- Tea (black, herbal or chai) adds antioxidants and can tone down the sweetness.
- Fruit juice or concentrate (any flavor) can help make your smoothie more complex if you only have one or two fruits to work with.
- Ice cream, sherbet, or frozen yogurt. (If you add these items, you probably won’t need ice cubes at the end.)
- Sparkling water will result in a lighter smoothie (try lime or lemon-flavored).
- Water, if you have nothing else on-hand, works great.
Next add your chosen fruit. Fresh or frozen fruit will make up the base of your smoothie. However, you can make a delicious smoothie with canned or even reconstituted dried fruit. You can focus on one fruit, or add several. Figuring out a fruit combination you like is part of the fun of making smoothies! Play around until you have a texture you like. Here are some options to consider:
- Peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, apples, kiwis, mangoes, plums, avocados, and pomegranates are popular choices.
- “Juicy” fruits that contain a lot of water can also work well, such as oranges, watermelon, and pineapple. Just be aware that they’ll make your smoothie more watery, and make up for it accordingly with a thickener such as protein powder.
If you haven’t tried a smoothie made from a mixture of fruit and vegetables before, you may be surprised by the flavor. The sweetness of fruit blends well with lots of vegetables and makes for a delicious and super-nutritious drink.
Kale and spinach blend well, and you won’t even be able to taste them. You can also try Swiss chard, the greens of vegetables (radishes, beet, carrots, celery, or kohlrabi, for example), fresh herbs like parsley or dandelion leaves, celery, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, and avocados. If greens aren’t in season, purchase a green plant powder and add that to your smoothie.
If you’re having a smoothie for a meal, make it a more rounded meal by adding some protein. A spoonful of protein powder, peanut or other nut butter, or some tofu will blend well with your smoothie and give you an essential protein boost.
If you’re worried that your smoothie won’t taste sweet enough, you can give it a little help with ripe bananas, honey, real maple syrup, a natural sugar substitute, or artificial sweetener.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try adding different flavors to your basic recipe. Add a spoonful of cocoa powder, shredded coconut, cinnamon, grated nutmeg, or flavored extract before blending, or give your smoothie some texture with a sprinkle of flaxseeds, toasted chopped nuts, or whole oats. Not only will it taste great, but it will keep you fuller for longer too.
Once everything’s in the blender, put some ice cubes on top. If you’re worried about thinning the drink too much, only add 1 or 2 cubes. You can always add more later. Frozen fruit can be substituted for some or all the ice, making for a brighter flavor.
Now blend it! Put the lid on the blender, and turn it on no higher than medium. Once the blender starts to “digest” the fruit, turn it up one notch at a time.
Whether you enjoy smoothies for breakfast, a snack or even dessert, they’re a great way to increase your daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Just a few basic ingredients blended together will render you a delicious smoothie in no time. Alternatively, you can stir in some unique foods to create a truly one-of-a-kind treat.
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