Smoothies are fantastic options for breakfast or snacks. Smoothies are quick, easy, delicious, and very kid-friendly. During the winter, when many fresh fruits are not in season or available, smoothies are a great way of getting a multitude of colors, vitamins, and nutrients from using frozen fruits.
Another wonderful component of smoothies is that they are so diverse. You can include yogurt, milk, fruits, veggies, ground Flaxseed, Chia seeds, spices, herbs, oatmeal, egg whites, vanilla, and much more into the smoothie to give it a unique and different flavor combo and obtain various nutritional components. Smoothies are a great way to bring out that creative persona we all possess where we can concoct our own masterpieces!
Here are some of the basic smoothie ingredients:
- Greek Yogurt: I prefer Greek yogurt over regular yogurt because Greek yogurt provides more protein and is thicker in consistency so that you get a richer feel of the smoothie (like a milkshake). Serving size: ½ cup for 1 smoothie.
- Milk: You can use regular 1% or Nonfat milk, Soy milk, Almond milk, Coconut milk, Kefir, etc. Different milks will provide different flavors for variation. Serving size: ½ cup for 1 smoothie.
- Fruit: Here’s where you can get creative! It’s fun mixing at least 2 different fruits together. I love fresh fruit, but during the winter season, I use frozen fruit and it’s just as good once it’s in the smoothie. The frozen fruit also helps make the smoothie colder. Serving size: 1 cup fruit for 1 smoothie.
- Additions:Another creative moment. You can add 1 from each group or just 1 from any group, or you can add a couple within the same group. The options are limitless. We’ve added the following ingredients to smoothies at one time or another (but not all together):
- Spices: Cinnamon, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Allspice
- Herbs: Basil, Mint, Oregano, Dill, Thyme, Parsley, Cilantro
- Seeds: Time to get in some wonderful Omega-3s with Chia seeds or ground Flaxseed. Try them out in the smoothie! They will give a grainier texture with all the nutritional value.
- Vanilla: Vanilla assists with flavor and adds that extra pizzazz.
- Grains: Oatmeal and quinoa can add extra substance and carbohydrates to your smoothies. I’ve used raw oats and cooked oats for different consistencies and textures in my smoothies. Play around with your options.
- Vegetables: Yes you can throw in different veggies, too. Whatever floats your fancy when you are pureeing that smoothie.
- Egg Whites: I’m not a huge fan of drinking raw eggs, but I have tried smoothies made with egg whites at various trade shows and have lived to tell the story. The smoothies tasted fine and were safe to drink. Egg whites offer additional protein and you can purchase egg whites in a box so that you don’t have to waste the yolk from a whole egg.
My favorite tool to make a smoothie is the hand-held blender. SIMPLE clean up and you can make the smoothie right in the glass! I LOVE simple clean-up. Friendly-tip: when you’re done drinking your smoothie, immediately add water to your glass (you don’t have to wash it right away). By filling the glass up with water, you will have easier clean-up later because the food won’t get crusty and stick to the glass.
Here are some smoothie ideas to kick-start you off:
Berry-licious: ½ cup milk, ½ cup Greek Yogurt, 1 cup frozen mixed berry medley (blueberries, raspberries, straweberries), ½ orange, 1 tsp cinnamon.
Pineapple Passion: ½ cup Greek Yogurt, ½ cup pineapple juice, ½ banana, ½ cup pineapple
You can always add some fruit on the rim of the glass and serve with a straw. Kids especially love straws and the fruit makes the presentation even better.
Now that you have the basic ingredients. What smoothie are you going to make today?!?! I’m drinking the Berry-licious 🙂
Check out my latest book: 25 Anti-Aging Smoothies for Revitalizing, Glowing Skin
They are gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.
By Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN