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Delicious Smoothies at Home

Don't have time for a traditional breakfast and don't need the fat and calories that usually go along with it? Try a smoothie! These delicious, vitamin-packed drinks are the perfect snack or meal replacement for any busy person - and the kids love them! To get started, just pick your favorite fruits and grab your blender!

Three elements: fresh fruits, a liquid and a thick base, are whipped together in a blender to create a smoothie. "Fresh frozen fruits are ideal," says Erin Rest of Island Juice. "We use fresh, frozen fruit because they produce a thick, creamy consistency when blended. If you choose to use fresh seasonal fruits, cut them into small pieces and freeze them prior to adding them to your smoothie," she says.

Popular fruit choices for smoothies include: blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, strawberries, mangos, papaya, crushed pineapple, kiwi, peaches, nectarines, apricots and bananas. Watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe are less frequently used in smoothies, but their high juice content and texture make them good choices to add to the mix.

The addition of liquid will thin out the mixture. Start with 1 cup of liquid and add more until you reach your desired consistency. Liquid choices include milk, soy milk (which combines with the high acidity of fruits to create a creamy texture), rice milk, fruit juices and flavored water. Consider adding a tablespoon of lime or pomegranate juice to add a special zing of tartness to your smoothie and remember you can always add a sugar substitute, real sugar or honey to your drink, if needed.

If you're in need of energy, Julie Zeltray of The Juice Co., located inside Club Northwest in Grants Pass, suggests adding 1 ounce of wheatgrass juice to your smoothie. Zeltray says, "Cows eat it, so I was a bit skeptical until I tried it myself. It can be a bit bitter, but it really does give you a boost of energy."

Zeltray also suggests that women add four grams of ground flaxseed to their smoothies for its antioxidant, fiber and heart-health benefits. "Adding flaxseed to your smoothie is like eating a handful of blueberries. It's very good for your entire system," says Zeltray.

For your smoothie to have a consistency befitting of its name, you will need to add a thickening agent or base. Bases include silken cubed tofu, low-fat yogurt, frozen juice concentrate, sorbet, frozen yogurt or crushed ice. If you want to make a smoothie that yields 2 cups when blended, ½ cup fruit, ½ cup liquid and 1 cup thickening base is a good guide.

The nutritional benefits of your smoothie can be boosted by adding vitamin and herbal supplements (available at organic food markets and vitamin shops), oatmeal, almonds, wheatgrass juice, flaxseed and protein powder. Consult an expert regarding the appropriate amount of booster supplements to add to your smoothie and remember that each ingredient you add will change the texture of your drink. Don't add more than three or four boosters to your smoothie or you'll get a less desirable drink…the lumpy.

To save yourself time, especially in the morning, have the fruit already cut up and frozen in zip bags in the freezer. Then you'll just have to pop it into the blender and you're ready to head out the door with a nutritious breakfast that tastes great without any of the guilt. How great is that?

Delicious Smoothies at Home