Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Smoothies, Smoothies, Smoothies...YUM!

Smoothies make eating breakfast so easy. With a blender and less than 2 minutes of your time, you can create a wide variety of healthy alternatives to skipping a meal. Here are a few recipes I use often to make some wonderful smoothies that are varied and nutritional. Each recipe is for a single serving. You can adjust recipes to make larger batches if you wish.

Before the recipes, though, I wanted to talk to you about what to do with smoothies. These tips will ensure a great experience for you as you try out your hand at creating the perfect on the go breakfast.

Smoothies should not be made ahead of time. Fresh fruit does tend to discolor and standing can cause a smoothie to separate, leaving you with a less than appetizing drink.
If you use frozen fruits, your smoothies will have a creamier texture and you will not need to add ice.

The thickness of your smoothie can be adjusted. If you find your blend too thin, toss in a little more fruit or ice. If it's too thick, add a little bit of your base liquids.

Flavor combinations are endless! Don't be afraid to try out different flavors or to substitute ingredients for what you have on hand.

If you have allergies like I do, don't assume a store bought smoothie is free of allergens.

If you are making smoothies and they are the primary reason to purchase a blender, go with a less complicated model. All your blender really has to do is crush ice and blend, not pulverize, liquefy, or otherwise pulse. Oster makes great blenders for this purpose for under $25. Stick blenders also do well with smoothies (as long as you thaw everything first) and run around $15.

Spices, used sparingly, can bring your smoothie to life! Just like in baking or other methods of food preparation, spices can enhance the flavors you are blending to create a wonderful taste experience.

SIZE MATTERS! It is very easy to create a smoothie that is very high in calories very, very quickly. To help maintain weight while ensuring nutrition, you should keep in mind that a serving size for a smoothing is 8 oz. I use the cup I am making the smoothie in to measure ingredients so that my smoothies are not over sized and therefore over loaded with calories.The recipes I have included in this post are between 6 and 8 oz.

Variety is key. You will gain more nutrition by alternating ingredients and using seasonal produce.

Vegetables can be incorporated into your smoothies for even more nutrition. Just make sure the fruits and vegetables you pair up are complementary to each other in flavor and texture.

Use Organic ingredients for smoothies whenever possible. The taste difference and better nutrition is well worth the few pennies extra at the grocery checkout line. 

Make it pretty. Appetite and attitude about foods are directly related to your eyes. If it looks good, it IS good. Take a couple of seconds each morning to make your smoothie visually appealing.

AND NOW....on to the recipes!

Banana Medly
Serving Size: 8 oz.
Calories: 215

1/2 cup sliced bananas (Frozen will be creamier, but fresh works well, too)
1/4 cup chopped peaches
1/4 cup sliced strawberries
1 banana slice
1 whole strawberry
1/2 teaspoon honey
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon flax seed
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup almond milk

In blender, build the base for your smoothie. Blend together almond milk, spices, flax seed, and vanilla. Add fruit and blend well. Add honey, pulsing your blender to mix evenly. Pour smoothie into cup. Slice half way through whole strawberry and the banana slice. Slip these onto the rim of your cup and enjoy.

Blueberry Heaven
Serving Size: 8 oz.
Calories: 380

1/4 cup sliced banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 cup coconut milk

In blender, blend coconut milk, vanilla, and flax seeds. Add fruit. Blend until smooth. Add honey. Pulse to mix evenly. Sprinkle a few extra berries on top for garnish if you like.

Tangerine Delight
Serving Size: 8 oz.

2 tangerines, peeled with pulp removed
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
3/4 cup almond milk

Blend almond milk, flax seeds, and pumpkin pie spice together. Add tangerines and blend until smooth. Garnish with a slice of tangerine if you wish.

Banana Peanut Butter
Serving size: 8 oz
Calories: 439

1 banana sliced
2 tablespoons organic peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon flax seeds
1/2 cup almond milk

Blend almond milk, flax seeds and peanut butter together. Add banana and blend well. Add honey and pulse to mix. Garnish with a banana slice if you wish.

Search for blenders for smoothies

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