Do you ever make or purchase smoothies? They’re one of my favorite things to make, especially in the mornings! Smoothies are a quick and easy way to enjoy a healthy breakfast, and they’re a great opportunity to sneak in fruits and veggies any time of the day.
Another great thing about smoothies is that they’re totally customizable based on what flavors you like. You can even mix it up on a daily basis and have a different version every day!
If you have kids, this liquid drink is a good way to ensure they’re getting some fruits and vegetables into their diet. My kids turn up their noses at veggies, but they’re eager to drink a smoothie- even if they know it has “green stuff” in it!
June 21 is National Smoothie Day, so let’s dive in and find out more about them!
What’s a Smoothie, Anyway?
A smoothie is a beverage created by pureeing ingredients in a blender. You’ll need a liquid base, such as water or yogurt. From there, you can add fruits, vegetables, crushed ice, and other supplements like protein powder.
Using frozen ingredients and ice will make your drink colder, which is extra refreshing on hot summer days. And, you can add more or less liquid depending on how thick you want your beverage to be.
Popular Smoothie Ingredients
I always use water as my liquid base. When I first starting making smoothies at home, I used orange juice or other fruit juice, but I quickly realized I was adding a lot of extra sugar. Sometimes I’ll use Greek yogurt, but plain water works just fine.
Fruit is a very popular ingredient for smoothies, and you can use almost any kind you like. I always include a banana- even if you aren’t a fan of bananas on their own (like my son!), they add texture to the smoothie and help make it a little thicker. I have definitely noticed a difference when I don’t use a banana, and you can’t taste the banana flavor.
Frozen fruit is great to use, because it’s easy to keep on hand in your freezer and you don’t have to worry about it going bad. Another benefit of using frozen fruit is that it makes the smoothie cold and icy, which I love! My favorite fruits to use are frozen berries, but I’ve also used pineapple, mango, and even apples and oranges.
Want to make your smoothie even healthier? Add some veggies! Leafy green vegetables are extremely good for our health, and most of us probably don’t eat enough of them. (My kids definitely don’t.) Smoothies are an easy way to add leafy greens and other veggies to your diet, and you can’t even taste them.
I always add spinach to my smoothies. Once it’s blended, you can’t see or taste it, so picky kids won’t complain about it. There are other green veggies you can add, like kale or mixed greens, but sometimes their taste is more noticeable. I recommend starting with spinach and going from there.
Another tip: if you buy a large amount of spinach or other leafy greens, you can blend them in your blender with a little bit of water, then freeze the liquid in ice cube trays. This helps you not only keep the greens from going bad, but it adds a “ice” to your smoothie! Plus, you’ll always have veggies on hand for a smoothie if you keep them in your freezer.
Smoothies are a great way to add extra supplements or vitamins to your diet. I usually add a scoop of protein powder, because I know I don’t eat enough protein. You can find unflavored protein powder, or experiment with vanilla, chocolate or other flavors.
Many people also add ingredients like chia seeds, flax seeds, rolled oats, or peanut butter to get extra health benefits.
It’s fun to experiment with different flavors, but be careful that you’re not adding extra sugar or unhealthy ingredients! Avoid using canned fruits and sugary fruit juices.
Need some ideas for great smoothie recipes? The Food Network has a great list of 50 ideas, check them out here.
Don’t forget to report your smoothie purchases! Fresh fruits and vegetables often don’t have barcodes on them, so be sure to use the Non-Barcoded Items list to report these items.
Not a panel member and interested in joining? Check out more information about NCP and find out how to join here.
Let me know if you whip up a great smoothie! I’m always looking for new recipes.