Smoothies are so versatile. With countless combinations, everyone can get creative and personalize a smoothie that’s just right for them. There are hundreds and hundreds of smoothie recipes online and in cookbooks, but you can easily come up with your own by experimenting. It’s fun to play around with ingredients and find out how they taste together. You’re sure to find a few that will become a staple in your daily diet.
Here is a basic guideline for making smoothies:
- Liquid ‘Base’ – Depending on your diet and preferences, there are a variety of liquids you can use as the base for a smoothie. Start with less and add more if you want. If you’re using 100% juice you’re better off. If you’re using a juice with added sugar do not use a lot. And with yogurt, it’s better to use greek, soy or low fat which have little to no sugar and a lot more protein. Watch out for using citrus and soy milk together because it may make the milk turn sour. Basics: Water, milk (regular, soy, coconut, almond, hemp, etc.), yogurt, tea (green tea is great), coffee, kombucha, fruit or vegetable juice, Kefir and coconut water.
- Fruits and Vegetables – Ask yourself, do I want a more liquefied smoothie? Or one that is thick like a milkshake? Fruits and veggies help give texture to your smoothie. The more you put in, the thicker it will be and the less liquid you’ll need to add. If your produce is frozen, this will also allow for less liquid needed. I don’t feel that I need to go into great detail here, because most people know their fruits and vegetables. Basics: Bananas, strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, carrots, peaches, spinach, broccoli, avocado, mangoes, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, sprouts, oranges, cucumbers, pineapple, pears, kale, grapes, and cherries.
- Complementary Extras – There are tons of things you can add to smoothies that will provide more protein and omegas, helping you to make it through the day. These can also affect the texture, just like the fruits and veggies you choose. Be aware of the additives you’re using because these can make or break your smoothie. If you add too much of something it can quickly become fattening and/or too sugary. If you add the right ones your smoothie will be a nutritional powerhouse! Some choices: Protein powders, wheatgrass, nuts, nut butters, spirulina, dates, ginger, cinnamon, cottage cheese, shredded coconut, chia or hemp seeds, ground flaxseed*, cacao nibs, goji berries, fresh mint leaves, vanilla extract, eggs, cacao powder, aloe, silken tofu, and maca powder. *The benefits of flaxseeds are absorbed when they are ground. If you add the seeds, they will go right through you.
- Add Ice – This is optional, depending on what you want your smoothie to taste like, how cold you want it and if you want to change the texture. The more ice you add the more your smoothie will become like a slushy. Which, sometimes, is a great thing! Something I really enjoy doing is making ice cubes out of juices, like cranberry or grape juice; you can also do this with coconut water.
(Add ingredients to your blender in the same order listed above.)
Below are three recipes for smoothies that have easily become my favorites!
Cleansing Cucumber Pineapple Pear
- 1 cup pineapple (canned or fresh)
- 2-3 inch piece of cucumber
- 1 small apple
- 1 medium pear
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 3 leaves kale
- 2 tablespoons hemp, chia or ground flax seeds
Double Chocolate Mint
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 cups broccoli (frozen)
- 3 pitted dates
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- 3 tablespoons minced, fresh mint
- Â¼ cup cashews
- 2 cups chocolate coconut milk (If you don’t want it so chocolaty, use regular or vanilla coconut milk. Or regular milk)
- 1 tablespoon ground flax
- 1 banana (frozen)
- Â½ cup pitted cherries, optional
Berry Vanilla Bliss
- Â½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 banana
- 1 cup of mixed blueberries and strawberries
- 1 nectarine, or peach
- Â¾ cup watermelon
- Â½ cup grape or apple juice (add more if you’d like)
- Â¾ cup yogurt (I use vanilla greek or soy yogurt. The greek will be thick, so you may want to add some water, juice or skim milk)
All of the recipes above can be tweaked, so if you don’t like an ingredient you can replace it with something similar. Also, these recipes usually make about two servings. You can cut in half or double up depending on how many people you’re making them for.