Smoothies are a delicious treat, whether you are an adult or a child. With minimal effort, they can be both delicious and nutritious. Of course, if you put the wrong items in them (namely ice cream, full fat yogurt and chocolate), they can wind up on the opposite end of the spectrum, and end up quite fattening and unhealthy. While an occasional chocolate and peanut butter smoothie certainly is an understandable (and delicious) indulgence, there are much better, and healthier, ways to prepare your snack.
First, there is a matter of a liquid base for your smoothie. This substance's purpose is to give your smoothie a liquid form, and to dilute the fruity taste. Typically, the base is cow's milk, which is pleasing to many because of its creamy texture.
Unfortunately, not only is cow's milk undrinkable by many, it also offers a lot of calories and problems for vegetarians. Almond's milk, soy milk, or rice milk all work equally well as a "milk" substitute. Regardless of your preference in milk drinking, chances are good that the fruit and vegetables that you put into your drink will hide the taste of whatever milk you put in it in the first place. So opting for a healthier milk that you might normally not care for may bring about pleasant results.
Another possibility to consider is adding a type of juice as the base to your smoothie instead. You'll have to be careful as to what type of juice you add, as many commercial juices are pure flavored sugar. But you can buy unsweetened apple or grape juice, or even make your own. Additionally, orange juice, which is full of healthful benefits, makes a wonderful base for many fruit smoothies.
If you are using particularly mild fruits, you might even wish to use water as the base of the drink. It will still dilute the fruits, and you will be able to taste the ingredients much more strongly.
After you decide the base of your smoothie, there is the matter of your ingredients. Many people find pure fruit smoothies both delicious and nutritious. There is very little doubt that the mixture of blueberries and bananas, or pineapple and peaches, are a heavenly combination.
But you can also add extra nutrition by sneaking in some leafy green vegetables. Both kale and spinach are great for fruit smoothies, as they are mild and tend to get overwhelmed by the taste of the fruit.
Once you mix the ingredients and the base together, you can also add a natural sweetener, such as honey, or a flavor such as vanilla. It's a good idea to taste your smoothie first, though, as with many fruits, you will find it entirely sweet enough by itself.
Adding ice to the blend is always a good idea, as it gives a cold, frothy texture to the drink.
The key to making smoothies is to not be afraid to experiment. I never dreamed that mixing pineapple and peaches would be a good combination, but one day they were the only fresh fruit in the refrigerator, and as it turns out, made a wonderful treat. When combining fruits, a good tip to keep in mind is that a banana is an overpowering flavor, and if you wind up with a flavor you don't like as much in your smoothie, toss in a banana to see if you can dilute the offending flavor.
My personal favorite smoothie recipe is as follows:
- 2 generous handfuls of blueberries
- 5 strawberries
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 cup ice
Smoothies are a great, healthy treat (that you can usually trick children into eating as well) that anyone with a smoothie making machine can make at home. If you skip the unnecessary ingredients an only use healthy ingredients, it also makes a sweet treat that you can indulge in without any guilt.