In part 1 of our series on healthy smoothies, we talked about the GIANT advantage of making smoothies a part of your life – and that is that you can easily add a wide array of fruits and veggies to your diet (and you know you should, right?) We also talked about the components of a smoothie: a really strong blender – or even better, a Vitamix; vegetables or fruits; liquids; and optional ingredients which add so much flavor and interest. In part 2 we discussed some of those luscious extras we can add. So now it's time to share some healthy smoothie recipes. Here are some easy ones to get you going.
Fresh Fruit Smoothies With Berries
* 1 cup strawberries
* 1 cup raspberries
* 1 cup sparkling water or seltzer
* 1 cup apple juice or orange juice
* 1 tsp lemon juice
Dump it all in your blender or Vitamix and enjoy.
One Of My Favorites: A Banana Smoothie
* 1 banana, peeled
* 1 1/2 cups skim milk
* 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
* 1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend until smooth and enjoy. A note: if you freeze chunks of banana and use them in your smoothie drink it will be much thicker – more like a milkshake. If you freeze bananas, dip them in lemon juice before freezing – unless you like brown or black bananas. Ugh.
Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
* 1 banana, peeled
* 2 cups milk – I use almond
* 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
* 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
* 1 tbsp agave nectar or other sweetener
Blend until smooth and REALLY enjoy!
You can try all kinds of substitutions and still make a healthy smoothie. For examples, we mentioned raspberries and strawberries – if you don't like those, substitute a different berry like cherries or blackberries. Or use only one kind of berry.
If you don't like berries at all, or are just seeking variety in your healthy drinks, then experiment with all kinds of fruits. For instance, one of my favorites is a pina colada smoothie with pineapple and coconut. I truly am the Smoothie Queen because I'm always trying new recipes and I'm not afraid to experiment. :-)
When you're making smoothies do you prefer thicker or more 'liquidy' drinks? You can reduce the liquid or add thicker ingredients like yogurt to vary the texture.
Experiment with other flavors and tastes. For instance, I bought a jar of freeze-dried organic coffee and I often add a small amount when I'm using chocolate thereby creating a cappuccino.
Don't forget to add some of the ingredients we mentioned in part two, like beans and nuts. Beans may sound strange but I love them, and perhaps you will too. I always eat my flax seeds in my smoothies.
Here are a few more ideas for your healthy smoothie recipes:
One way to thicken a smoothie is to add ice cubes. Keep adding until it's super thick, if that's what you like. One caution, though: this reduces the flavor and makes it more like a slushie. I personally don't like all that ice but I've fixed lots of smoothies for others and they prefer it that way. It's all about your taste.
If you'd like a smoothie that's more like ice cream, simply add the liquid a little bit at a time until it's the consistency you prefer. I eat chocolate peanut butter 'ice cream' often.
If you have a thick, fruit smoothie you can warm it up and serve it over ice cream or cake.
All through this series I've mentioned that I don't like veggie smoothies much. But there is one healthy way that I love and adore veggies smoothies – and that's to heat them up and serve like soup. I don't like tofu much but I do like a tofu sour cream (yep, it really tastes like sour cream) that I can buy at my grocery and I put a large spoonful on top of my warm soup/smoothie. It's a delicious combination and so very healthy!
By now you know that smoothies aren't just a kiddie drink but are an easy way to eat well. Making smoothies will improve the health of you and your family – and if the kids think they're getting a sweet dessert, even better.