Is there anything as versatile, adaptable and convenient as a smoothie? I doubt it. Nor are there many things as universally beloved. Smoothies are scrumptious, indulgent concoctions that tickle the taste buds and, inexplicably, with every sip make you feel just a little bit happier and make the world a little bit friendlier. The smoothie is so much greater than the sum of it’s parts. And just to prove the smoothie can do no wrong, it can actually make you more awesome too.
Smoothie recipes contain a smorgasbord of ingredients, and depending on what you throw in, smoothies can ascend from mere flavorsome delight and sweet-tooth satisfier to the dizzying heights of muscle-building, energizing, health-enhancing superdrink. Why eat just one superfood, when you can combine a load of goodness into one easily digestible drink? Plus, it’s super quick and absurdly easy to prepare, making it weirdly efficient not just nutritionally, but generally. Created in the 1940’s, but perfectly designed for 21st century living.
Smoothie recipes can be tailored to suit your own needs. And while the flavors are virtually limitless, don’t just think about taste, but also why you’re making it. Do you want to lose weight or perhaps build muscle? Do you need a pick-me up or extra energy to power through an intense workout? Had a bad day and want to wind down? Or maybe you can’t get to sleep. With a little smoothie science, you can easily make a healthy smoothie that doesn’t just taste good (or look pretty), but actually does something.
HEALTHY SMOOTHIE RECIPES
Just be sure to make your own smoothies. Firstly, it’s a lot cheaper. Secondly, and more importantly, you’ll actually make a better quality smoothie at home, compared to any smoothie you could buy. Your ingredients are fresh or frozen fresh; you’re not adding a ton of sugar to make it taste better or weird stuff to make it look prettier. Bottom-line is, you know what’s in it. Unfortunately, the raison d’être of smoothies appears to largely have been forgotten, and bought smoothies are less healthy, and more calorific than ever before. So, do yourself a favor and make your own.
The sweetness of your smoothie heavily depends on the ripeness of the fruit you add. If you find your smoothie recipe needs a little more sweetness, try to avoid sugar (if you must, use brown sugar), and instead add a little honey (preferably Manuka!), cinnamon (sweetens without actually adding calories), xylitol, stevia, figs or dates.
Check out the Smoothie Recipes for Everything chart below, and the HOW TO MAKE A SMOOTHIE chart.
Also, find our new DETOX WATER RECIPES infographic here.
Detailed description of smoothie recipes here.
HEALTHY SMOOTHIE INGREDIENTS
Below are the building blocks of any healthy smoothie. These core ingredients of smoothie recipes don’t just look pretty or taste awesome, but offer significant health & fitness benefits. The most important step to making a healthy smoothie is using great ingredients. So no packaged mixes! Don’t compromise. Use fresh, whole foods, which will make your smoothie healthy and nutritious, and also pack your smoothie full of flavor.
- Yogurt is packed with protein, calcium and tummy friendly probiotics. Go low-fat & Greek. Full fat yogurt is high in calories. Greek yogurt is high in protein & low in carbs. To up the protein content of any smoothie recipe, try adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup low-fat Greek yogurt or silken tofu.
- Milk is another great source of protein, calcium & other nutrients. Skim milk is a low calorie option.
- Can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk? Try soy, rice or almond milk.
- Whey protein is an awesome means of boosting the protein content of a smoothie recipe & also make it more filling. It’s a no-brainer for low-calorie smoothies. And of course, ideal post-workout.
- Fat has got a bad rap. But there are healthy fats that the body needs. Also, fat helps you feel full. Zero-fat foods are not filling. Your body needs fat to absorb important nutrients.
- Sources of healthy fats: fish oil, avocado, nuts, flaxseeds, peanut butter & more. Also, choose low-fat milk and yogurt, instead of the nonfat variety.
- Rich in potassium, vitamin B6 and other nutrients, bananas are filling, add sweetness, the mild taste means they go with almost everything & it’s rich consistency binds the ingredients in smoothies together.
- Don’t like bananas? Learn how to make a smoothie without bananas tasty and smooth!
- Berries are an antioxidant powerhouse, chock full of vitamin C and phytochemicals, conferring a plethora of health benefits. Naturally sweet & available fresh or frozen, they’re a great addition to any smoothie recipe.
- Tea is a healthy & tasty way to customize a smoothie. Green tea, Rooibos, peppermint, etc. confer different health benefits. Try fresh-brewed tea, tea ice cubes or tea powders.
- What’s a smoothie if not cold & smooth? Use plain ol’ H2O or freeze fruit juice, green juice, tea, coffee, yogurt or milk. Also, try freezing bananas for extra creaminess.
SMOOTHIE RECIPE TIPS
And remember when making your own smoothie from scratch – how to make a smoothie in 5 steps:
- Add liquid. Start by adding about 1 cup of liquid to the blender – this is your base. Go for low-fat milk, dairy-free milk, coconut water, plain water, or fruit juice.
- Add fruit or vegetables. Banana makes for an awesome base in almost any smoothie, as it has a mild taste and a creamy consistency. Same goes for avocado. Other fruits and veggies that work really well in smoothies are berries, papaya, mango, pineapple, peaches, and spinach.
- Thicken smoothie to get just the right texture, creaminess and thickness, and to balance the acidity from the fruit. This will also make your smoothie more filling and nutritious. Add nut butter, yogurt, chia seeds or oats for a smoother, tastier smoothie.
- Boost flavour. Sweeten your smoothie by adding some dates or a little honey, maple syrup or agave syrup. Add spices or herbs such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, and mint to make your smoothie extra special.
- Add super foods. Healthy smoothie add-ins include spirulina, wheatgerm, flaxseed, protein powder, and goji berries.
How to Layer Smoothie Ingredients in a Blender. To get a super smooth smoothie and avoid lumps of whole fruit or nuts, add the ingredients the “right” way. This will depend on the type of blender you own. If you have a regular blender, add the ingredients as shown above. Liquid first, then the other smoothie ingredients. If you’re using very hard ingredients like nuts and veggies, add these to the liquid, blend for a minute and then add the fruit and other smoothie ingredients and blend again.
If you own a high-speed blender, place the tough ingredients such as whole nuts into the blender first, followed by greens and nut butters, and then by protein powders, oats, spices. Liquid is the final ingredient.
Add Ice Last. Add all the smoothie ingredients in the blender, blend and then check the consistency of the smoothie. If you want it thicker add about a cup of crushed ice and blend again, or if it’s too thick some liquid to make it a little thinner. Repeat, until you’ve the smoothie has the desired consistency.
Fresh is Best. If you can, drink your smoothie as soon as you’ve made it. Its fresh, delicious and will taste perfect. If it sits for 20 minutes of more, it starts to separate and/or thicken. The flavors will also change. However, you can store a fresh smoothie for ip to a day in the fridge if you need to.
Full instructions on how to make these healthy smoothie recipes continued here.