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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!