When the weather’s warm, it’s the perfect time for a smoothie. During May through August, I can start craving delicious fruit smoothies for those hot days. Smoothies are a great way to get in a fruity breakfast or have a vitamin-laden snack. You could have a smoothie breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not run out of the various smoothie options that you have available.
Smoothies reportedly originated in South America. However, after the invention of the electric blender, they’re found their way into U.S. culture when health food stores started to whip up delicious nutritious drinks. The term “smoothie” became popular in the 1980s and has continued since then.
The best part of smoothies is how versatile they are. You can put nearly anything in a smoothie. They can be lactose-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and adapted to any diet. They’re also delicious and are perfect for meals on-the-go. And, of course, there’s the health benefits — these range from a boost of vitamin C to antioxidants, depending on what you include in your smoothie.
As you make your smoothies, don’t neglect these powerful additives.
Chia Seeds – Packed with omega-3 essential acids, calcium, protein, and fiber, these little seeds give any smoothie a boost of antioxidants.
Spinach – Spinach has flavonoids, zinc, vitamin B, and calcium all in one leafy green. When you add it to your smoothie, it doesn’t overpower the flavor.
Flaxseed – Like chia seeds, flaxseeds are great for smoothies because of their fiber, protein, and omega-3.
Nut Butter – Nut butters have two main functions in a smoothie: being a good source of protein, and helping you feel full. Focus only on adding pure nut butters, those that don’t have any extra ingredients.
Smoothie Do’s and Don’ts
When making your smoothie, you can come up with hundreds of different combinations. However, a few rules of thumb will help you avoid the bad stuff and increase the good stuff.
DO Add Spices
Spices are an often overlooked ingredient in smoothies, but using them in smoothies will help aid in digestion. The best spices for your smoothie habit include cinnamon, ginger, cayenne and cardamom. The spices also help regulate your blood sugar.
DON’T Avoid Greens
Many beginners want to jam their smoothies full of nothing but fruit. While this is fine, it also misses a good opportunity to include more green veggies in your diet. Chlorophyll is not just for plants; our bodies need it, too. No one wants their drink to taste like grass, so stick to greens like spinach, which are easy to digest and won’t add a bitter taste to your smoothie. Kale is also a good additive.
DO Use a Basic Formula
If you don’t know where to start, keep this handy list of ingredients in mind when blending up your newest creations: nut milk, protein, fat, spices, greens, and fruit. This will ensure you get what you need from a tasty drink, even if you don’t opt to add any additional boosters.
DON’T Add Sugar
If you get a smoothie from McDonald’s it may taste great, but much of what you are tasting is pure sugar. That makes for a bad smoothie experience. Consider the source of the sugar you include in your smoothie. Getting sugars from fruit like bananas, berries and other fresh fruits is the best way to add sweetness. Don’t get in the habit of dumping heaps of sugar into your drink, and resist added sugary “fruit juices.” If you need a little something extra, you can opt for honey or stevia.
DO Add Fats
Sometimes we get a little too focused on avoiding fats. Some fats are healthy and even necessary to your body. Good fats are unsaturated and include lots of Omega 3. You can get this fat from flax seeds or hemp. Another excellent way to add healthy fats to your smoothie is to use coconut products, avocados, are almond butter.
Now that you know the basics, I want to clue you in on a smoothie secret. Frozen cauliflower is an excellent way to add veggies to your smoothie. This may sound crazy but it does not change the flavor of the drink and is easier on your digestive system. You can use frozen cauliflower or fresh, frozen cauliflower rice. Jump below to see our cauliflower recipe!
Here are some of the web’s favorite and best smoothie recipes.
Hemp and Peanut Butter Smoothie
Sticking to our formula, here is the hemp and peanut butter smoothie with a helping of greens.
unsweetened non-dairy milk (soy or almond), ½ cup
1 large banana
natural peanut butter, about 2 teaspoons
Hemp, about 2 teaspoons
Spinach or arugula, 2 cups
1 cup ice
Add ingredients to the blender in the order listed and blend. Scrape down the sides to ensure they get totally mixed. Blend for an additional minute and serve.
For all the benefits of a green smoothie without any taste of greens, try this refreshing cucumber/pineapple smoothie.
Cubed pineapple, 1 cup
Cucumber, ½ cup (sliced; leave the skin on for more nutrients)
Frozen banana, peeled, ½ a banana
¼ cup coconut milk
½ cup of water
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 cup of greens (spinach, kale)
A few ice cubes (no ice needed if using frozen pineapple)
Add the banana, pineapple, cucumber, milk, lime juice, greens, water and ice cubes and blend on high. If you prefer a thicker smoothie, you can add additional ice. If you prefer a smoother drink, just add more water.
Chai Lovers Smoothie
I used to be a barista in college, and I loved to make chai smoothies.
Protein powder, 1 scoop (vanilla is preferred)
½ Tsp of ginger
¼ Tsp cardamom
¼ Tsp cinnamon
⅛ Tsp nutmeg
1 scoop of almond butter
2 cups baby spinach
Almond milk, unsweetened, 1 cup
½ Tsp vanilla extract if desired
Add ingredients, starting with fruit and protein powder and then spices and greens. Blend. Serve with toppings like blueberries or hemp seeds.
Almond milk, unsweetened, ½ cup
2 scoops of protein
Spinach, 1 cup
2 Tbsp almond butter
¼ Tsp ginger
¼ Tsp cardamom
½ cup blueberries and raspberries
1 ripe banana
Combine ingredients in blender in the order listed. If you prefer a smoother drink, feel free to increase the amount of almond milk. For a thicker consistency, use a frozen banana or add ice.
Banana Oatmeal Smoothie
Adding oatmeal to a smoothie will add good amounts of fiber and protein to your morning drink, and keep you from having cravings.
Quick oats, ½ cup
1 frozen ripe banana
Almond milk, unsweetened, ½ cup
1 Tbsp peanut butter
½ Tbsp pure maple syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt (just a touch of salt will amplify the flavors)
Ice for added thickness, to taste
Start by putting oats in the blender. Pulse for a few seconds to grind the oats. Then add the banana, milk and other ingredients. Blend until smooth. If you seek added sweetness add a touch of honey.
Hidden Cauliflower Berry Smoothie
Kids will love this hidden cauliflower smoothie recipe. You can’t taste the cauliflower!
Orange juice, ½ cup
Frozen cauliflower, ½ cup
Berries (blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry), 1 cup
Yogurt, unsweetened, ½ cup
Put all the ingredients in the blender. Blend until smooth. Test the consistency to see if you want it to be thicker or thinner. If too thick, add ¼ cup of milk, or just add water.