Smoothies are the perfect summertime treat! They taste as good as a milk shake, but are much better for you. Plus, smoothies are easy to make at home and most kids can make they’re own – the younger ones will need a little help from mom or dad.
A basic smoothie starts with fresh fruit and liquid – about one cup of liquid and 1 ½ cups of chopped fruit or berries. Add them to a blender, then pulse and blend until all the fruits are chopped and blended into the liquid. You can always add a little more liquid or fruit until you get the consistency you desire.
But that’s pretty basic. Dress it up a bit with my 5 top smoothie tips:
Bananas add a nice creamy thickness to smoothies, so I like to use half a banana per serving. The flavor blends well with most other fruits.
Freeze Something First
Give your smoothie the feel of a milk shake, but without the calories, fat and added sugar found in ice cream. I keep small chunks of bananas in my freezer, but frozen berries work too. Or you can add a few ice cubes to your smoothie.
Add a Protein Source
A smoothie will serve as a filling between-meal snack if you add some protein. I like to add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or spoonful of nut butter to my smoothies. Protein powders work fine as well, but look out for brands that contain added sugars. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add silken tofu.
Open up your spice rack and tweak your smoothies with a little cinnamon, nutmeg or vanilla extract. Most smoothies are sweet enough with just the fruit, but a spoonful of honey adds a nice flavor, too.
Buy the Best Blender
An under-powered blender will leave lumps of frozen fruit or ice in your smoothie so buy the best you can afford for the most delicious results. But what if a new blender isn’t in your budget? Chop the frozen ingredients into smaller pieces before adding them to the blender, and add a little extra liquid.
Now Get Creative!
A quick search will bring up hundreds, if not thousands, of smoothie recipes on the Internet, but as long as you follow the basic steps, you can mix and match fruits to create your own favorites.
• Strawberries, banana, almond milk and a touch of vanilla
• Pineapple, banana, coconut milk, orange juice
• Peanut butter, mixed berries and milk
• Greek yogurt, fruit juice, banana and honey
Shereen Lehman is a health and nutrition writer with two decades of experience counseling people on nutrition and diet. She has a master’s degree in human nutrition and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Association of Health Care Journalists. Shereen is the co-author of Superfoods for Dummies and Clinical Anatomy for Dummies. She also teaches The Evidence Based Approach to Nutrition to nutrition graduate students at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut.
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