Smoothie How-To Guide: Where Do I Start?

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Published: April 7, 2015

Healthy Eating

As you saw in Smoothie Article #1, smoothies are as easy as fruit (and veggies) + liquid + ice! Seriously, it’s quick and easy to blend up some tasty treats.

Here’s an easy-to-follow smoothie formula:

  • Fruit: add a cup of your fruit (see Smoothie Article #1 for ideas). Bonus tip: using frozen fruit creates a better texture than ice cubes.
  • Veggies: add a handful or two of leafy greens or herbs or a half of an avocado.
  • Ice: if not using frozen fruit, add a handful of ice.
  • Liquid Base: add a cup of your liquid (water, coconut water, coconut milk, almond milk, 100% juice, and more). Depending on how many ingredients you added, you may need more liquid (to thin it out), so feel free to add more!
  • Optional Extras: throw in nuts, seeds, yogurt, oats, and more!
  • Blend on high-speed until all of the ingredients are incorporated and you have a smooth texture. Taste, adjust as necessary, then blend again. Too sweet? Add more greens, a spritz of lemon, or more liquid. Too bitter? Add more fruit, a fig or date, or a drop of honey or maple syrup to get back on track.

One of the great things about smoothies is you can always customize them to your liking. In a chocolate mood? Try adding cocoa powder to your smoothie. How about making a ‘dessert’ smoothie by adding dried fruit, a medjool date, maple syrup or honey, or vanilla extract for a touch of sweetness.

I love to blend together a frozen banana, 1-2 tablespoons of almond or peanut butter, 1-2 tablespoons of cocoa or cacao powder, and either coconut yogurt or coconut milk until I get texture I want – it makes a delicious treat!

Note: whenever possible, buy organic to reduce exposure to pesticides. If you can’t access or afford organic produce, remove the peel before using it. Budget conscious? Prioritize buying organic for produce on the “Dirty Dozen” list, which have much her pesticide loads, and don’t worry about organic for those on the “Clean Fifteen”.

It’s also important to rotate your ingredients, especially your green vegetables. By using a variety of produce each time, you will be exposed to a wide array of nutrients and taste profiles. Cheers!

Now that you’ve got that down, here are some tips to make the best smoothies:

For extra creaminess and better texture, add frozen fruit and vegetables instead of ice cubes! Frozen banana, avocado, pineapple, and mango are my favorites. Instead of an icy texture, you get a creamy smoothie full of flavor. To make it easy, freeze spotted bananas peeled and halved, and peeled and cubed pineapple or mango in a large bag to use anytime. Also, to reduce waste, freeze any fruits or veggies that are on their way out so you can use them in smoothies. Nut butter, avocado, yogurt, and cooked sweet potato, pumpkin or butternut squash also add creaminess.

Have fun with fresh herbs and spices – mint, parsley, basil, cilantro, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, and vanilla bean/extract add more flavor and more nutrition. Adding fresh mint leaves or chopped fresh ginger adds another level of freshness, yum!

Get creative with your base… water is the perfect all-purpose base. Non-dairy milk, like coconut milk or almond milk, will add a touch of sweetness and creaminess. Coconut water is a refreshing, subtlety sweet add-in. Limit 100% juice as it will increase the amount of sugar in your smoothies, so try 1/2 water and 1/2 juice.

For more staying power, add seeds like chia, flax, and hemp, or throw in nuts and nut butters. Chocolate fan? Try raw cacao or cocoa powder for a chocolate flavor.

How to make it part of your routine and time-saving tips:

  • Enjoy a smoothie for breakfast to power up for your day, or make it a mid-morning snack to hold you over until lunch.
  • Plan ahead for easy access.Make a big batch for the week and freeze in freezer-safe containers, then thaw in the fridge overnight. The next morning, simply shake up and drink! Make sure to drink your smoothie within 2 days.
  • Try freezing individual smoothie prep plastic bags full of chopped produce that are ready to throw in the blender.
  • Rinse your blender out immediately, so you can avoid having to wash it thoroughly after each smoothie.
  • Experiment to find your favorite combos. Once you’ve realized your favorite smoothie flavors, you’ll have your go-to recipes, which makes blending them up a breeze!

A Creamy Orange Mango Green Smoothie

For the green fiends, try this creamy tropical smoothie, with an extra dose of fiber and protein from nutty hemp seeds. Feeling adventurous? Add a tiny splash of pure vanilla extract or some fresh grated ginger.

Creamy Orange Mango Green Smoothie

 

  • 2 handfuls baby kale
  • 1 cup of frozen mango chunks
  • 2 TB hemp seeds
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 5 cups unsweetened coconut milk

Combine all ingredients and blend on high until smooth. Taste. Adjust if necessary. Enjoy!

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About Alexandra Fiman Maul, MPH

Alexandra Fiman Maul, MPH, is founder of the health education website and consulting business, Made to Glow. After experiencing debilitating chronic health issues and learning how to heal, she followed her passion for health and wellness. She created Made to Glow in 2013 to pursue her dream of helping others feel their best and glow from the inside out. Alex also works with a non-profit health policy resource center dedicated to improving health care access and quality. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey with her husband and their dog.

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