I’ve been making smoothies almost every day for several years. They seem to be the perfect breakfast for my 12 year old daughter who is more interested in her appearance than taking time for breakfast, and for my 17 year old daughter who is vegetarian and has a hard time getting enough protein. When a sweet treat is called for, smoothies seem to fit the bill. They can be healthy, filling, refreshing and delicious all at the same time!
6 Tips for Spectacular Smoothies
1. If you have kids, sweeten their smoothies with vanilla (rather than plain) yogurt, extra fruit that is starting to become overripe in your fruit bowl, pitted dates, 100% fruit juice, a little honey or pure maple syrup —at first. As time goes on you can cut back on the extra sweeteners a little, and psychologically it will continue to seem sweet enough to them.
2. Use some frozen fruit rather than all fresh fruit or ice to give your smoothies a cold, frozen texture; ice tends to water the smoothie down, while frozen fruit adds more flavor. Keep a large bag of frozen mangos, strawberries, blueberries and mixed berries in your freezer alongside a bag of mixed frozen fruit (melons, pineapples, peaches, etc.) for a variety. Whenever you find yourself with fresh overripe fruit like a pineapple or a banana, cut it up and freeze it to use in a smoothie later.
3. Use plain Greek yogurt to control the sugar content of your smoothies and to get more protein. Greek yogurt has twice the protein of regular yogurt, so I often use plain Greek yogurt to boost the protein content of my smoothies. Just be careful not to use too much, or it can get chalky. For a sweeter smoothie, use a brand of vanilla Greek yogurt that is lower in sugar.
4. Add fresh organic baby spinach or kale to your smoothies. You can’t taste it, but it adds a lot of nutrition to your drink. Add your greens to the smoothie after the liquids and before the yogurt and frozen fruits for the best effect.
5. An appealing color makes your smoothie more appetizing. Green works as long as it is a bright green, but a brown or drab green color ruins a great-tasting smoothie. Use strawberries, blueberries, or blackberries to cover up ugly colors. If the color is off, just put the smoothie in an opaque thermal drinking bottle, and no one will be the wiser!
6. Use a high-power blender. I have a Vitamix blender, and my brother uses a Blendtec, which seems just as good. Regular blenders burn out fairly quickly when used to make lots of smoothies, and they are much slower and frustrating when using frozen fruit. Using up overripe fruit and some older vegetables helps to justify the cost of a great blender. Plus we all eat healthier, and that’s worth a lot!
Over time, these smoothie have evolved into yummy treats with a fresh taste and are super-healthy. I’m continually testing it on my kids’ friends, and they love it. I don’t tell them it has spinach or kale in it until they give rave reviews, but it’s so good that they don’t seem to care. This Berry Spinach Smoothie recipe is a favorite!
Berry Spinach Smoothie Recipe
3/4 cup carrot juice or any combination of 100% juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 cup frozen blueberries
15 frozen strawberries (medium size)
2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tbsp sweetener like real maple syrup or raw honey (not for babies)
Combine all ingredients together beginning with the juice and blend until smooth.