Today I’ve got my health nut best friend here to give us some smoothie basics for newbies — a smoothie 101! She tells us step-by-step what ingredients pack in the most nutrients and gives us four delicious recipes. I do her kids recipe a few times a week, seriously! They love it and it’s packed with spinach and berries.
But first, thank you sincerely to those of you who reached out and prayed for us during the hurricane. My heart is truly touched knowing how many caring and lovely people are out there!
A quick update: Things are much less apocalyptic! Food and gas have returned. Most people now have power and our curfew has been lifted. Our boil water notice and water restrictions have also been cleared. So things are getting closer to normal, but there is still much damage to be repaired. Please continue to pray for those who have lost everything they’ve worked for. Thank you!
My whole family probably needs to go on a strict vegetable diet after all the junk and convenience food we’ve eaten during this hurricane! And now there’s produce back in the stores! Hooray! But seriously, I don’t even want to know what our sodium levels are right now. I can’t convince everyone to eat kale and spinach all day, but I can convince them to drink a delicious smoothie! So that’s my plan.
A couple years ago Ashby wrote this amazing post — one of my favorites — and I accidentally deleted it during some updates. Forehead slap! I still follow her directions and it’s definitely worth sharing again.
We all know that increasing fruits and vegetables into our diet is something we need to do not only for ourselves but for our children. It’s hard enough incorporating more veggies into our meals without having to battle our picky eaters on top of it but there is a solution to this dilemma: the smoothie.
A smoothie is a powerful way to pack vitamins and minerals into an easily digestible and delicious treat. You can easily have 2-3 servings of greens in one smoothie without compromising taste which is often more than many people get in an entire week.
This all sounds wonderful but if you’re wondering where to start, you’re not alone. Because of the many machines and recipes vying for our attention, actually making a smoothie can be daunting. Hence this post. Today we are going to give an overview of some general smoothie rules and some ingredient ideas that everyone in your household can enjoy.
Pick your machine
Some people really have a loyalty for which type of appliance to use but depending on your budget or preference, use whatever you have in the house to get started and if you find you want something more powerful in the future, you can upgrade. Most people own a blender so that’s a good place to start. Especially if you are making more than one serving at a time.
I have friends that swear by the Vitamix and others that swear by the Ninja but it’s really up to you. I really like the Magic Bullet or NutriBullet for single servings or if you are making one for yourself and one for your child, it’s nice to just change the blade to a different cup so you can accommodate different tastes.
Choose your ingredients
There are endless combinations for smoothies depending on your mood, dietary restrictions or nutritional needs but today we will just focus on some basics:
- Base: water, milk, or almond/coconut/rice milk
- Fruits and/or veggies
- Raw nuts or nut butters
- Omega 3s (chia or flax seeds)
- Optional: protein powder
When you really get the hang of it, you may want to venture into green powders such as moringa leaf, spirulina, blue algae, barley leaf or wheat grass. A bit of coconut oil, fish oil or flax oil can be a great addition as well. If you take probiotics in powder form this is a good place to add it but we will get into this more in depth in a future post.
- Blend greens with water or milk (use almond/coconut/rice milk if trying to stay dairy free). I always like to start with greens and go from there. Kale, spinach and/or swiss chard are a good option. Spinach has the least amount of taste so this may be a good starter, especially for the kiddos.
- Add frozen or fresh fruit (I use a 1/2 cup to 1 cup of frozen organic mixed berries).
- Add fats/nuts. Sometimes a bit of avocado adds some healthy fat and creamy texture to your drink. Almonds, walnuts, cashews or pumpkin seeds can be added at this point, as well. You could scoop a spoonful of SunButter or almond butter for some added protein. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, or ginger.
- Sweeten to taste. If you need to sweeten with honey or stevia you can do that although most of the time you won’t need it, especially if you have used any banana, strawberries or pineapple as those make almost anything taste great.
- Add some chia seeds. These are great for endurance, detox and are a healthy omega 3. Freshly ground flax seeds are also great.
- Add optional protein powder after you have blended the above. You don’t want to over blend protein powders. ( I recommend Garden of Life, Jarrow, Sun Warrior or Arbonne as none of these have soy or GMOs.)
Here are some healthy and delicious smoothie recipes to try:
Tropical delight smoothie
2 cups greens
1 cup frozen pineapple (or mango! Or papaya! Or all of the above!)
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon of chia or flax seed
1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
Optional: protein powder
Sprinkle with unsweetened coconut for an added treat!
Kids favorite smoothie
2 cups spinach
1 cup organic strawberries
1/2 organic banana
1 cup liquid (water, milk or nut milk)
1 tablespoon of chia seeds
Optional: protein powder
Green detox smoothie
2 cups of greens
1 cup water or almond milk
Large handful of frozen berries
1/2 orange (really yummy frozen!)
Top with chia seeds
The non-dessert dessert smoothie
1 organic banana
1 cup almond or coconut milk
1-2 tablespoons of almond or sun-butter
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon and or nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Really satisfies a sweet craving without going overboard!