When it comes to fast and easy eating, you can't beat smoothies. They only take a few minutes to put together and you can usually make one with what you have on hand even if you are overdue for your grocery shopping. One reader recently asked me for my favorite smoothie recipes and since I was so tickled that someone actually reads my articles, I promptly sat down to write this one.
I have a confession. When it comes to making smoothies, I don't usually follow a recipe. Instead, I have a basic formula I follow and then I pull random ingredients from my fridge and pantry to fill these basic requirements. This allows me to tailor my smoothies to my taste that day, while providing me with a nutrient-rich and well-balanced meal or snack.
It's easy to make a great smoothie. Since you end up blending everything together, you don't have to spend a lot of time making perfect knife cuts or juggling several different pots and pans. Another great thing about smoothies is that you can pack in a lot of nutrition into a single glass. You can choose from a variety of ingredients to match your preferences. If you follow this simple formula, you can combine any foods you want to make a thick, delicious smoothie.
- Choose one soft fruit/vegetable: banana, avocado, or any pureed fruit or vegetable (e.g. carrots, apple, pumpkin).
- Choose two handfuls of frozen fruits: berries, peaches, mango, pineapple, cherries. You can use fresh fruit, but if you do add a few ice cubes to get the right consistency.
- Include a handful of dark greens: spinach, kale, chard, or collard greens.
- Add 2-4 tablespoons of protein powder: whey, hemp, soy, brown rice.
- You will need 2-4 tablespoons of something to bind your ingredients: yogurt (plain or flavored, regular or Greek), nut butter, oats, flax seeds.
- 1-2 cups of liquid: milk (soy, almond, coconut), fruit juice (orange, apple, grape, cranberry), water, tea or coffee.
- Added flavor: cinnamon, nutmeg, anise, honey, agave nectar, stevia, cocoa powder.
This is a recommended formula to help you pack as much nutrition as possible into your smoothie. If you're just looking for an easy breakfast or healthy snack, don't feel like you have to get in all 7 components. A smoothie made from one or two fruits, some yogurt and milk is definitely healthier than a bag of chips!
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Hopefully you will have some fun experimenting with ingredients to discover new flavor combinations that you and your family will enjoy. If you're not ready to jump in and start throwing random ingredients into your blender, here are some tried and true smoothie recipes to get you started. I've tried to take different palates into consideration (a habit I've developed thanks to my picky eaters) so there is a little something for everyone in the recipes below.
When it comes to easy, you can't beat the Shay House Smoothie. Four simple ingredients that you probably already have on hand combine to make a healthy and delicious smoothie.
Speaking of healthy and delicious, here is a flavorful Green Smoothie recipe from A Spicy Perspective.
Are you crazy about berries? Aside from being sweet little morsels of nature, these little nutrition powerhouses are bursting with flavonoids, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. So prevent cell damage, weight gain, and disease while sipping a yummy mixed berry smoothie.
Mixed Berry Smoothie from Foodlve (not a typo, that's how they spell it)
For those of you who like a little potassium with your antioxidants, you will love this super simple strawberry banana smoothie from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures.
If you love the strawberry banana smoothie, but crave more fiber, try this Hearty Fruit and Oat Smoothie from Martha Stewart.
If that isn't substantial enough for you, you need a smoothie packed with more protein. To feed those protein-hungry muscles, enjoy a Creamy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie.
If your taste buds are headed the other direction, craving lighter flavors, you might prefer the taste of the tropics. If you like Pina Coladas, here are a couple of tropical smoothies for you to try.
For those of you who like coconut, you will love this Tropical Coconut Smoothie from Cookies and Clogs.
If you like tropical flavors but can do without the coconut, you might prefer the Tropical Surprise Orange Smoothie from The Wic Project. The surprise is that this thick, rich smoothie has hardly any calories.
Finally, for those of you who are trying to replace an unhealthy snack or dessert with a smoothie, here are a couple that will satisfy your sweet tooth without expanding your waistline.
Find all of these recipes and many more on my Pinterest board “Super Smoothies“. Feel free to share your own favorite smoothie recipes in the comments.