10 Tips for Making Great Smoothies

10 Tips for Making Great Smoothies

In the mood for a smoothie? Check out these nutritious ideas for delicious smoothies you can whip up right in your own kitchen.

Though smoothies can be enjoyed year round, summertime is the perfect season to take pleasure in these fruity treats. If you have a good blender, you can easily whip up a healthy, homemade smoothie for breakfast or a snack. This way, you can avoid the excess sugar and oversize portions of the ready-made versions you may find in stores.

Some smoothies weigh in at over 400 to 500 calories and 60 grams of sugar!

Check out these smoothie ideas for preparing fun (and nutritious) treats:

  1. Go fruity, go frozen
    Fresh fruit is always a great option, but using frozen fruit (instead of ice) yields natural sweetness without adding extra sugar. Supermarkets now carry all kinds of delicious frozen fruit, such as berries, mango, pineapple, peaches and cherries. Vary your choices! Using different types and combinations of fruit lends different flavors. To make your own frozen bananas, peel them when very ripe and cut into chunks. Store in a sliding lock bag in your freezer.
  2. Go nutty
    Natural almond or peanut butter can be added to almost any smoothie and adds a creamy, nutty flavor. Stick to about 1 tablespoon for each serving.
  3. Say yes to yogurt
    Plain or flavored yogurt makes a great addition and also offers up some protein and calcium. If you use plain, consider adding a little 100 percent juice or vanilla flavored soy milk to sweeten the deal. Using a flavored yogurt adds enough sweetness by itself. You may prefer to choose a yogurt without high-fructose corn syrup.
  4. Favor the flax
    Adding ground flax seeds ups the fiber content (1 tablespoon equals 2 grams) and also lends a nutty flavor along with some omega-3 fats. You can also add up to a tablespoon of flax oil for an extra omega-3 boost.
  5. Pack in some protein
    If you are looking to use your smoothie as a meal replacement, protein powders typically provide anywhere from 14 to 21 g per scoop (plenty for one meal). There are many protein powders to choose from, including rice, soy and whey. Look for brands without excess sugar.
  6. Go to the garden
    Fresh herbs such as mint or cilantro can make an exciting addition to your smoothie. These are delicious blended with fruits like watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple and strawberries. A touch of lime and a pinch of honey go well with these smoothies, too. You can also add a handful of spinach to any smoothie for nutritional benefits. And while it will turn your drink green, you won’t taste the spinach.
  7. Add avocado
    Avocado is loaded with fiber and is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats. Its nice smooth texture lends itself to smoothies, and is especially delicious in milk-based smoothies.
  8. Toss in some tofu
    Tofu is high in protein and low in carbs, and gives a great texture to smoothies. It will pick up the flavor of whatever else you add to the smoothie. Look for silken tofu versus firm. It works well in blender drinks and salad dressing recipes.
  9. Vary your liquids
    Depending on taste preference, choose from low-fat milk, rice or almond milk, plain or vanilla soy milk, coconut water, various 100 percent fruit juices (orange, pineapple, grape, apple, blended) or even club soda or seltzer for a fun fizzy taste.
  10. End with extracts
    Natural extracts such as vanilla, coconut, almond and even chocolate can enhance your smoothies without adding any calories. Be sure to choose natural extracts with no artificial ingredients.

Recipe ideas

For all recipes, add ingredients to blender and puree until smooth.

  • 1/4 cup frozen red seedless grapes, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 3 frozen strawberries, 1/2 cup cubed fresh or frozen pineapple, 3 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped, 3/4 cup skim milk, 1/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt, 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, three or four ice cubes
  • 2 cups seeded watermelon chunks, 1 cup chopped ice, 1/2 cup vanilla or lemon yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 cup vanilla yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop plain protein powder, 1 tablespoon natural peanut butter, half a frozen banana, five frozen cherries, 3/4 cup vanilla soy or rice milk
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup skim milk or rice milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu, 1 cup frozen peaches, 3/4 cup 100 percent orange pineapple juice blend
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, 1 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt, half a frozen banana, four ice cubes, 1 teaspoon honey
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