Simple Nutritious Smoothies

Simple Nutritious Smoothies

Have you wanted to start making smoothies for yourself or your family but don’t know where to start? Weeding through the array of machines and recipes can be confusing and overwhelming, so we wanted to share a simple approach to nutritious smoothies. If you are looking for specific smoothie recipes, check out the Smoothie Recipe tag.

First things first, decide on your smoothie making machine. We love the Nutribullet. It’s easy to use, easy to clean, relatively inexpensive and can be used for wet and dry blending (i.e. making your own oat flour by blending oats, etc). It’s also very effective and lasts a long time.

Once you have a machine you can start building out different smoothies. In this post we are going to focus on the smoothie foundation we use and the add-ins you can use. This is not a recipe but a guide for creating your own smoothies.

Base Layer

For almost every smoothie we make we start off with unsweetened almond or oat milk and/or canned coconut milk and then we add either a banana or an avocado. The banana or avocado can be room temperature or frozen pieces – up to your preference! Add some unsweetened vanilla yogurt as well if you want it to be extra smooth! These ingredients serve to add creaminess to your smoothie. Think the ‘smooth’ part of the smoothie. If you want a more watery smoothie you can omit these ingredients and use water, but expect a drastic change in taste.

Add-Ins

Now that you have your base layer you can add in any of the following. Be mindful of flavor combinations. For example, avocado and cocoa go good together, or perhaps the vitamin supplement you’re adding to the smoothie has an orange flavor which would be best mixed with other fruits or veggies or just with yogurt and milk to create a creamsicle flavor.

Proteins

For protein, we will generally add in either a vegan protein powder from the store or just use our favorite nut/seed butter (almond, cashew or sunflower). For example, one of our favorite recipes uses almond butter on top of the base layer with mini chocolate chips, dried and pitted dates and ice cubes. You can also use tahini (ground sesame seeds), which has a unique but delicious flavor.

Dry Ingredients

We already mentioned protein powder, however, there are other dry ingredients to experiment with as well. For us we love having a flax seed/chia seed blend on hand to act as a thickener. We also use cacao or cocoa in our smoothies to help boost flavor and nutrients. You can also add in your favorite powdered vitamins and/or probiotics.

Vitamins & Probiotics

As noted in Morning Vitamins we have a vitamin and probiotic routine for the kids (and ourselves for that matter). Sometimes we will add the liquid or powder vitamins or probiotics directly into a smoothie. Or, if you’re adding yogurt into your smoothie, you can get your probiotics that way as well.

For someone who is averse to fruits and veggies, consider something like Balance of Nature Fruit and Vegetable Supplements and add them directly into the smoothie.

Vegetables

We don’t typically add veggies into our smoothies – I know, I know. We used to make a lot more veggie smoothies and when we did we liked spinach as a add-in because it was sweet and broke down well in the machine. Baby kale was also good.

Fruits

Everything we have been using thus far has been unsweetened but once you add in the fruit you will start building back some of that sweetness. Our go-to fruits are blueberries, raspberries (high in fiber), pineapple, cherries, strawberries and mango. We buy these frozen to help make the smoothie cold, though you can also just add ice to the smoothie, but it will water it down a bit.

Sweeteners

If adding the fruit was not sweet enough, then feel free to add in some honey, agave, maple syrup or dried pitted dates. Taste test to make sure it’s sweet enough but not too sweet. Our kids love adding Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips as well.

Summary

All in all, keep it simple as you experiment. Start out with milk, banana, and add a fruit and then experiment from there with changing out the fruit, adding in dry ingredients, vitamins, probiotics, and or sweeteners. In time you will have a few recipes that are your go-to recipes you love. For us it’s the almond butter smoothie and the avocado cocoa smoothie, but many times we just like a simple creamy fruity smoothie. Keep experimenting outside of what we have instructed – try adding a splash of vanilla or cinnamon, add whatever you think would taste good!

Smoothies are a great snack but can also be a meal replacement depending on the nutrients you’re adding in. Smoothies are a gem when it comes to adding nutrients back into your diet and they are highly customizable to your taste and nutrient needs. Cheers!


Morning Vitamins

Morning Vitamins

Like all parents, we want our kids to be happy and healthy. We want to do whatever we can to help boost their immune systems and give them the nutrition they need. While diet is a major factor for immune health and nutrition we also choose to boost them with a morning vitamin routine that is mixed into a dairy free yogurt.


Our standard mix of vitamins for our toddler “Pickles” has been a mix of raw probiotic (1/2 TSP – 3/4 TSP), a multivitamin (2 TSP) and vitamin C (1 TSP). We supplement that with vitamin D3 and vitamin A when we want to give an extra boost (i.e. they were at a play group that week, or visiting someone who had a cold). We mix this all up with the dairy free yogurt into a reusable squeeze pouch (think “Go-Go Squeezes” you can get from the store).

For infants, like “Bacon”, we usually just do D3 drops initially, but gradually incorporate the other vitamins as his age reaches the recommended ages on the bottles.

When it comes to purchasing vitamins we have had good luck with using Vitacost. They are about the same price if not cheaper than Amazon and they have good quality brands like Childlife and Garden of Life. They also run a lot of sales and send coupons for free shipping and 15% off regularly. When you create an account with them they remember what you previously ordered and give you the option to quickly reorder. I love that.

With supplementing the kids’ diet with these vitamins we have not had a great deal of illness in the house. “Pickles” has been a sick with fever maybe three times? “Bacon” has been sick once. They get your typical allergies with seasonal changes but overall have had great health!