Smoothies can provide a rich, delightful source of energy and nutrients. They can be a satisfying meal-replacement on a busy morning or a refreshing snack at the beach. Smoothies can also supplement a weight-loss plan or serve as a before-or-after-workout fitness enhancement.
Step 1: Dos and Don’ts of Smoothies
Although making a smoothie can be an effortless task, knowing some basic strategies will help you produce the cold and fresh beverage you desire:
- Do use frozen fruits to create a thick, smoothie-like texture that is cold and refreshing.
- Do mix powdered ingredients with a medium before adding to the blender.
- Do measure your ingredients to avoid waste.
- Do disassemble and wash every loose part of the blending cup to ensure every component is cleaned and able to be safely used or stored.
- Don’t add too much ice if you are not consuming your smoothie immediately. Ice eventually melts which can make the texture watery.
- Don’t mix very acidic ingredients, such as lemon juice or cider, with very basic ingredients, such as, milk or cream. When acids and bases are mixed, an unpleasant curdling can occur.
- Don’t ignore the overall calorie and sugar content. Blending many ingredients together makes it easy to create a high-calorie and or high-sugar drink.
- Don’t neglect to thoroughly wash your ingredients before adding them to the blender. During the growth and processing stages, produce receives coatings of pesticides and wax-like protectants. Unless a label specifies otherwise, produce is never thoroughly washed. Additionally, bacteria and other germs can easily transfer from hands to the produce.
- Don’t confuse a smoothie with a shake. Shakes have a dairy base, such as ice cream or milk. They have limited fruit and vegetable contents and often have a high fat-content. Shakes are prepared in a shaker or a milkshake mixer. Smoothies have a water or juice base, they are prepared in a blender and contain mostly fruits and vegetables with limited use of dairy.
Step 2: Berry Green Protein Smoothie
Good source of vitamins A, B, C and K, antioxidants, minerals and protein.
- 1 cup of frozen, chopped spinach
- 1 cup of frozen, mixed berries containing blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries
- 3 TBS of egg whites (3 TBS of egg-whites equals the egg-white content of one egg)
- 1 ½ cups of unsweetened, vanilla almond milk
- 1 TSP of ground cinnamon
- 1 manufacturer-determined scoop of vanilla, whey protein powder (vanilla-flavored, soy or casein protein powders are acceptable substitutes)
- Step One: whisk the protein powder and the almond milk together; break up any clumps
- Step Two: pour the almond milk and protein powder mixture into the blender
- Step Three: add the spinach and berries to the blender: Cover and blend until smooth
- Step Four: add in the egg whites and cinnamon
- Step Five: blend your smoothie until all the ingredients are mixed together
- Step Six: taste your smoothie with a spoon before pouring into a glass in case any changes need to be made
The recipe makes enough for one large smoothie or two small smoothies.
Step 3: Strawberry Banana Citrus Smoothie
Simple and sweet with potassium and vitamin C
- ½ cup of frozen strawberries
- 1 fresh, ripe banana
- ½ cup orange juice
- Step One: put ½ cup of orange juice in blender
- Step Two: add strawberries and banana
- Step Three: blend until smooth, adding up to ½ cup additional juice if necessary to obtain desired consistency
- Step Four: serve and enjoy
This recipe makes enough for one large smoothie or two small smoothies.
Step 4: Helpful Resources for a Delicious and Nutritious Smoothie
A smoothie can be healthy, nourishing, and can taste great:
Sources of Nutrients and Other Beneficial Additives*
- Protein: Protein powders, amino acid powders, egg whites, and nut butters offer convenient sources of proteins.*
- Beta-Carotenes: Carrots are sweet and offer a rich supply of beta-carotenes. However, the flavor of carrots can overwhelm the taste of a smoothie. Add shredded carrots sparingly and see how it tastes, then add more as desired.**
- Vitamins and Minerals: Milk and yogurt are good sources of Calcium and Vitamin D. Spinach, kale, lemon, avocado, wheatgrass and other greens, are full of Vitamins A, B, C, E and K and, minerals, such as, calcium and iron. Powdered vitamins and minerals are convenient and are available in most health-sections of grocery stores. However, they can create an unpleasant taste. Rich-tasting and creamy ingredients, such as, a banana or yogurt, can mask the bitter tastes of these supplements.**
- Essential Fatty-acids: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, coconut, coconut oils, flaxseed oil and avocados and avocado oil are great sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6.
- Weight-management additives: Ginseng, turmeric, dandelion root, cinnamon, black and cayenne peppers, cumin and cardamom can contribute to increased energy, metabolism, and fat-burning.*
Many berries and fruits are great sources of potassium, antioxidants and vitamin C, and other nutrients.
- Antioxidants: Adding 1 cup of berries, such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, or blackberries, or ½ cup of pomegranates or acai berries, can fulfill antioxidant needs.
- Immunity-boosters: Fruits, such as, kiwis, melons, apples, papayas, oranges, mangos, pineapples, bananas, and others, are great immunity-boosters and nutrient sources for your smoothie.
- Be aware: Fruits have a lot of sugar. Using combinations of both fruits and vegetables in your smoothie will ensure nutrient content without producing an excessively-sugary drink.
Consistency and Texture
Smoothies can be thick, creamy, thin, and have a granulated texture.
- Thin Consistency: Water, juice, tea, soy milk and almond milk, produce thin consistencies. If juice or tea is your choice, know that some juices and teas have a lot of sugar. Use 100% juice and avoid refined sugars, such as, high-fructose corn syrup.
- Creamy Consistency: Protein powders, some yogurts, and creams, such as, half-n-half and flavored creamers, increase the thickness, but allow a medium between thick and thin consistency. However, a cream base will usually add a lot of calories and fat and will result in a shake instead of a smoothie.
- Thick Consistency: Greek yogurt, banana, mango, avocado and peanut butter create the thick consistencies. Pay attention to the calorie-content of thickeners; Some can contribute a lot of calories. Ice thickens without adding calories, but a watery consistency develops as it melts. Thickness can also be achieved by using more solid ingredients and less fluid-like ingredients.
- Granulated Texture: Seeds, nuts, and berries can produce a grainy texture. Pineapple and kale can leave a stringy or chunky residue. Crush vitamin and mineral additives before blending to ensure you do not end up with bitter chunks in your drink.
*Consult your healthcare provider before consuming supplements and herbs; some supplements and herbs can exacerbate health conditions.
**Consumption of Vitamins K, A, D, and E should never be in amounts higher-than-recommended by FDA Guidelines.