For many of us in our “seasoned” years, the smoothie is a relatively new concept. We grew up eating our fruits and vegetables, not drinking them. But the smoothie has become a delicious way to make sure we are getting the right amount of nutrients in our diet. Depending upon its ingredients, a smoothie may include a host of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other healthful benefits that help keep our bodies and minds healthy.
Smoothies are easy to make at home. All you need is a blender or food processor and some ingredients you may already have in your refrigerator. The best ingredients to use are healthy ingredients, including fruits and vegetables. Smoothies made with high fat and/or high sugar items, like ice cream, peanut butter, sweetened syrups, or chocolate are not going to pack the same nutritional punch.
While smoothies can be a great addition to your daily diet and a convenient way to boost nutrition, some people come to rely on them a little too much. In most cases, it is wise to think of a smoothie more as a supplement or snack and less as a meal replacement. In other words, don’t stop eating your fruits and vegetables.
So what exactly is in a smoothie? Usually, a smoothie starts with some kind of healthy liquid like juice or perhaps soy milk or rice water. They include a blend of fruits, vegetables, or often both. Yogurt is a popular smoothie staple. Ice usually is thrown into the mix as well.
The smoothie has become so popular you can now find “ready-to-make” versions in the frozen food aisle of your local grocery store. You can also order your favorite from a menu of smoothie flavors at fast food restaurants and coffee shops.
Here’s a simple recipe to help you create your own fruit-based smoothie:
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Cut fruit into chunks. Berries can be used whole. (Freezing fruit will help make your smoothies thick and frosty.) Place ingredients into a blender or food processor. Pulse until mixture is blended and smooth. If too thick, add splash of coconut water. Pour into a glass, garnish if desired, and enjoy.
6 ounces (3/4 cup) light or low-fat flavored or plain yogurt
6 ounces (3/4 cup) 100 percent fruit juice
1 cup any frozen or fresh fruit. Peaches, plums, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, apricots, blueberries, bananas, etc.
1 cup crushed ice
Splash of coconut water, if desired
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed, if desired