What’s not to like about a smoothie? It’s a quick, easy way to get sustenance into busy parents and kids before rushing off in the morning. We’ve found it to be a refreshing change of pace from the usual breakfast rotation. And, everyone seems to get a kick out of deciding what portion of which ingredients they wish to add. We use a hand blender that comes with a deep mixing cup so you can see the ingredients as you add them in. However, a food processor or regular blender will work just as well.
Whether you are new to the world of smoothies or already enjoy them regularly, here are some easy possibilities to get you started:
Anatomy of A Smoothie
1. Start with Produce
If you’ve got little (or big) people in your house who embrace the “no” policy to fruits or vegetables, a smoothie is a no-fuss way to get some fruit or vegetable servings in to start the day off right. The possibilities are endless. Our smoothie staples include:
- Berries: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries. When it comes to berries, frozen ones are great year-round. When in season, fresh is fabulous.
- Bananas, apples, oranges, melon. All are easily available and flavorful, either on their own or in combination with other things.
- Greens: kale, spinach.
- Dates or prunes: Dried fruits help sweeten the smoothie, eliminating the need for more sweeteners. Plus, you get an extra helping of fiber!
- Herbs: Mint is great with fruits such as cantaloupe.
- Pineapple, papaya, or mango can add a fun and flavorful tropical twist.
- Beets: Beets are naturally sweet, but raw ones have a stronger taste. Cooked beets are so mild and sweet, you can easily add a scoop to your smoothie. If you don’t mind the stronger flavor of raw beets, grate them directly into the smoothie before blending.
2. Add the right fillers
I like adding some carbohydrate, protein, or fat sources to the smoothie to give it some “body” and keep me feeling full a little longer. Some ideas:
- Silken tofu
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Nuts (use either a handful of chopped nuts or nut butter): Almond, walnut, hazelnut, pistachio
- Seeds: Sesame, pumpkin, sunflower
- Quick oats
- Flax seeds
- Cooked beans (plain, unflavored): Mung beans, white navy beans, chickpeas
3. Liquid power
If you want the smoothie to be a bit runny for ease of drinking, here are some liquids other than water you can use:
- Green tea
- Milk: There’s a near endless list of possibilities, including cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or non-dairy alternatives such as soy, nut, or hemp
You may wonder why fruit juice isn’t on the list. We don’t really see the need for fruit juice, since you are already using fresh fruits in the smoothie.
Do-It-Yourself Smoothie Recipe
Now that you know what the components are, what kind of portions are we looking at? Generally, for one person, I would use approximately:
- Produce: 1 to 1.5 cups combined of two to three fruits or vegetables
- Fillers: A tablespoon of nut butter OR 1/4 cup of yogurt or tofu OR 1/3 cup oats or beans
- Liquid: 0.5 to 1 cup of liquid, depending on how thick or runny you like your smoothie
Don’t go overboard on the portions. Remember that this is intended to be a quick breakfast on the go (clocking in around 200-300 kcal), not a full-on meal replacement loaded with hundreds of extra calories you may not need.
- Nutrition Faceoff: Quaker Quick Oats vs. Instant
- Oats: Health Benefits and How-To
- Beets: Health Benefits and How-To
- Which Yogurt to Choose? Yogurt Comparison
- Foods that Help You Focus: Eggs, Fish, Quinoa, Sunflower Seeds
Sofia believes in bringing back fun and pleasure into everyday eating. She loves cooking, and is constantly experimenting with ingredients, creating recipes and trying them out on family and friends. Her latest interest lies in finding realistic and practical ways of environmentally-friendly food/eating habits.