“Smoothie” means different things to different people. For some, it is synonymous with the bottled purees you get from the grocery store – “These things are healthy, right?” For others, it means the fruity treat from the fast food place that is just oh so sugary sweet. You know, the kind that sends your blood sugar spiking and then crashing. For still others, a smoothie involves all manner of fruits and vegetables shoved into the blender with some sort of liquid to get the juices flowing. All. The. Fiber.
With only ten percent of Americans eating enough fruits and vegetables, it’s worth considering smoothies as a way to boost your produce intake. While there is no wrong way to make a smoothie, there are healthier and less healthy options. If you’re looking to get your smoothie on, we have some suggestions to get you started, but let your creativity and taste buds guide you!
Before we jump into the how-to’s, let’s briefly look at why you might want to think about making your own smoothies at home.
Advantages of Making a Homemade Smoothie
If you’re like most people, getting enough fruits and vegetables into your diet is a struggle. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and fiber. Adequate fruit and vegetable intake benefits health in countless ways. It can help lower blood pressure and benefits heart, digestive and immune health. Fruit and vegetable consumption also helps regulate blood sugar levels, so we feel fuller longer. The list of positive health impacts could go on. While most of us know about the benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, knowledge doesn’t always translate to behavior change.
Prepping fruits and vegetables can be a hassle, and it can be daunting to think about consuming the recommended 1.5-2 cups per day of fruit and 2-3 cups per day of vegetables. One way to add more produce into our diet is to make it super simple. Blending up a homemade smoothie is a quick and easy way to add more fruits and vegetables into our day.
Not all smoothies, though, are created equal. It’s important to pay attention to smoothie ingredients. Prepared smoothies are often made from mixes that contain added sugar. Too much added sugar in the diet contributes to a myriad of negative health implications. A major benefit of making your own smoothie is that you are fully in control of what ingredients go into it. If you’re looking to limit added sugar, making your own smoothie is a great way to ensure you’re getting only the good stuff.
Now let’s make a delicious fruit smoothie!
How to Make a Healthy Homemade Smoothie in 3 Easy Steps
First, you’ll need a good blender. If you’re making smoothies for the whole gang, a large pitcher-style blender will do the trick. Blenders with a strong motor blend fruit and veggie fibers more completely, so they tend to cost more. You may have heard of Blend-Tec or Vita-Mix being the gold standard, but they come with a hefty price tag. If you’re not down to spend around $500 on a new blender, a really good brand at a lower price point is Oster. To serve up a smoothie for one, there are several single-serving options available. Now for the fun part…
Step 1: Select Your Fruits
It’s hard to go wrong when choosing fruits for a smoothie, as many flavor combinations are delicious. Toss in berries for a sweet-tart flavor and an antioxidant boost. Berries are lower in sugar than many other fruits, making them a great choice for smoothies. Tropical fruits like pineapple, banana, and mango are a fun way to sweeten things up.
Frozen fruits are a cost-effective option for smoothies. These fruits are picked at the peak of ripeness and rapidly frozen, so they retain their nutritional value and – bonus – you don’t have to worry about them going bad! Canned fruits, on the other hand, are often packed in a sugary syrup and are not the best choice.
Step 2: Choose a Liquid
You’ll need to add liquid to mix your creation to blended perfection. Choose a liquid that complements your flavors and meets your dietary needs. Plain water can be a good option for a simple smoothie that highlights the flavors of your fruits. For a tropical twist with beneficial vitamins and minerals (vitamin C, Thiamin, Potassium, and Manganese, among others), try adding coconut water.
Dairy or plant-based milks will make for a creamier smoothie, while providing additional nutrients like protein. One of our favorite dairy-free options is oat milk – it imparts a nice creaminess to smoothies and shakes.
Beware of using fruit juices. While these are tasty, they will add a significant amount of sugar to your smoothie without the beneficial fiber of fresh fruit.
Step 3: Boost Nutrients with Add-ins
Finally, power up your tasty concoction with add-ins. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Add a veggie boost – a handful (or two) of spinach will blend nicely into your smoothie, and you won’t even taste it. Popeye mode activated! Kale can work too, and if you want to make your smoothie a really fun magenta color, try out beets (or beet powder) in a red berry smoothie!
Toss in some protein –If you’re using dairy milk, you’ll get some protein here. Other options include greek yogurt and protein powder. For a smaller dose of protein, try peanut butter, chia seeds, or flax seeds.
Make it creamy – A scoop of avocado may seem a strange addition to a smoothie, but it can make your beverage lusciously creamy.
If you’re starting to make your own smoothies rather than buying them, don’t stress about making it just right, but rather just find what flavors you enjoy and go from there. You can gradually add in greens or other nutrient boosters.
Options for When You Can’t Make a Smoothie at Home
If you do buy a smoothie somewhere, ask what the ingredients are or check the label. Smoothies that contain simply fruits, vegetables, and possibly some additional nutraceuticals will give you more of the health benefits without added sugar.
Did you know our rapid-freezing appliance serves as a frozen smoothie maker? ColdSnap Smoothies are a delightful and healthy choice. Our team of food scientists and nutritionists crafts these house-made recipes with the health-conscious consumer in mind. They are made with fresh fruit, boosted with nutraceuticals like turmeric, and contain no added sugar. When you crave a freshly-frozen smoothie but can’t make your own, a ColdSnap Smoothie is a refreshing choice.
By Lyn Ferreira
Photos by Allyson Preble
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