Smoothies are a chilled, icy drink that usually combines fruits and some other simple ingredients to make a delicious and refreshing beverage. What many people don’t appreciate is that the ingredients are quite healthy and often combine fruits that have been proven as superfoods in our diets. Better yet, certain smoothie recipes can give you energy, provide a protein boost, or even calm an upset stomach. I discovered smoothies years ago and my family loves it when I whip one up on the spur of the moment. They’re easy to make and there’s little cleanup.
To begin with, smoothies usually combine some common ingredients. These often include ice cubes, skim-milk or fruit juice, and some other flavorings like gelatin, spices like cinnamon and ginger, honey and nuts, or get this — cottage cheese.
Regardless of the ingredients you’ll need either a blender, food processor or a blender specifically designed as a “Smoothie Maker.” Smoothie makers typically have a spigot that makes it easy to dispense the smoothie from the blender into a glass.
Classic combinations often involve a mix of berries, or apples and bananas; yogurt and fruit varieties, or a pure dairy approach that brings in that curious, cottage cheese ingredient.
Best of all, smoothies make a great between meal snack or late night beverage that’s good for you, potentially low-cal, highly nutritious, and easy to digest. The recipes below are for one smoothie. If you want to make more for family and friends, simply multiply the ingredient amounts by the number of people. Here are my top three:
1. The Berry Berry Good Smoothie
Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are superfoods high in anti-oxidants, Vitamin C, and anti-inflammatories. They also help satisfy the 5-a-Day fruit and vegetable combination recommended by the CDC.
1 cup of berry juice or one juice box
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
1/2 cup of red or black raspberries
5-6 ice cubes
Combine all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. If you want it more slushy add another ice cube or two.
2. The Go Bananas Health Nut
Bananas are a great source of potassium, calcium and phosphorous, plus dietary fiber and Vitamins C and B6. Nuts are loaded with nutrition from minerals to proteins to Omega 3 fatty acids. This combination is an energy powerhouse.
5 to 6 ice cubes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp honey or chocolate or strawberry syrup
1 cup low fat milk
1/2 large banana sliced in pieces
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1/4 cup finely chopped almonds
Finely chop the nuts first, either in a food processor or a small spice mill or buy them pulverized. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
3. Sweet and Sour Protein Smoothie
I’ve never heard of a steak smoothie, but a 1/2 cup of cottage cheese has as much protein as 2 ounces of steak. If the cottage cheese doesn’t appeal to you, add plain or flavored yogurt. A great smoothie for folks who want to supplement their protein intake and enjoy every minute.
1/2 cup of cottage cheese or yogurt
3/4 cup low fat vanilla ice-cream
1/4 cup prepared fruit-flavored gelatin powder (try to buy the individual snack packs)
1/2 cup low fat milk
1 tbsp honey
Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. You can add an ice cube or two for an added chill.
I think you get the idea. There are thousands of smoothie recipes out there, and once you’ve mastered the basics you can create your own. You can also add frozen fruits to bring an extra chill and maybe skip the ice cubes. Up to you. As you experiment, think about the fruits, juices and tastes you like with an eye on nutrition. It’s a great way get the nutrients you need while enjoying every sip.