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Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to start incorporating healthier meals into your diet. They are a great way to add more servings of fruits and veggies to your while maintaining an active lifestyle on the go.
I’m not someone who generally eats breakfast because let’s face it, a healthy breakfast isn’t always the easiest most time efficient activity when you have to be out the door by 7am. Instead of grabbing a sugar filled pastry or highly processed microwavable breakfast sandwich I can throw everything into a blender and press start.
I tried making smoothies at home years ago but quickly stopped because honestly they were terrible. Not to mention they were less than healthy. I gave up for a while but after much trial and error (getting a job at a smoothie bar helped too) I’ve mastered the art of home smoothies.
Grabbing a smoothie at your favorite juice bar can get kind of pricy if you’re going everyday. Where a coffee drinker might spend $5-6 dollars on their favorite morning latte, a smoothie drinker will pay upwards of $10-12 dollars. With a few changes to your home smoothie method you’ll be drinking delicious smoothies everyday in no time without breaking your budget.
The type of blender you use could be the difference between a mediocre chunky home smoothie and that delicious smoothie from your favorite juice bar. You don’t have to invest a grand on a Vitamix, but you do need one with some power.
A good blender is going to give you that smoothie texture that’s blended to pure perfection like you’d generally get from a commercial smoothie joint. Those portable blenders with the cups attached might be convenient and inexpensive, but you’ll be hard stretched to find one that can properly blend frozen fruit and ice into a smooth consistency.
You’ll want to get a full size kitchen blender if you don’t already have one. I use this knock-off Vitamix style blender that cost me less than $100 bucks. I honestly can’t tell the difference between my blender and the expensive Vitamix blenders I’ve used in the past at my juice bar and coffee shop jobs. If you’re just absolutely itching for a Vitamix you can find refurbished options for less than $300.
To make a healthier smoothie you’ll want to use a liquid base that’s low in sugar. The fruit you add to a smoothie can have a good amount of natural sugar content. This is why you’ll want to swap out juices as your liquid base and use nut milks or coconut water instead.
If you want a creamy smoothie you’ll want to use oat, almond, or coconut milk. For a fruity tropical tasting smoothie coconut water is the best choice. Don’t worry it you’re not a fan of coconut water as you won’t be able to really taste it in your smoothie. Coconut water is also a good choice if you’re dehydrated since it’s high in electrolytes to help replenish and rehydrate the body.
Soy milk is another creamy smoothie option but it’s important to limit how much soy based milk you consume. Soy products can cause hormonal imbalances and isn’t the best option for those with thyroid conditions.
When I first started making smoothies at home I added yogurt to my base. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this as long as you’re using unflavored Greek yogurt that’s low in sugar. Yogurt is a great source of probiotics but your favorite smoothie bar is most likely leaving this ingredient out. You can add a probiotic supplement to your smoothie if you want the benefits of yogurt with the taste of a juice bar style smoothie.
Frozen Over Fresh
This tip will save you money and make a world of difference in the consistency of your home smoothies. There’s a misconception that fresh fruit and veggies are better than frozen. That’s not exactly true. Fresh produce is picked early so it can ripen while in transit to it’s final destination. Produce that’s picked before ripeness means doesn’t allow full nutrients to develop. Produce picked for frozen packaging is left on the plant until it reaches peak ripeness allowing nutrients to fully develop. It’s then frozen to hold in the peak ripe taste and nutrients.
Do you ever make a smoothie and it has that weird foamy texture on top? It’s probably because you’re using fresh produce instead of frozen. Most fruits and vegetables are high in water content so if you’re using fresh it’ll make your smoothies extra watery with a foamy substance on top. To counteract this you’ll have to add more ice resulting in a smoothie with less flavor and less nutrients.
When you use frozen fruits and vegetables you’ll have to use hardly any ice in your smoothie recipes. This results in a flavor packed smoothie just like the one from your favorite local spot.
Kick It Up a Notch
Your favorite smoothie spot adds more than fruit and a handful of kale to their smoothies. Most smoothie spots are adding supplements and flavor boosts to their recipes. Adding supplements to your home smoothie helps kick up the nutritional value.
If you’re using a smoothie for meal replacements try adding some protein powder. Not all protein powders are created equal so if you’re using them to supplement one of your daily meals quality matters. Tejari makes some of the best plant based vegan protein powder in flavors like cacao, blueberry, strawberry and banana. They even have a pumpkin spice protein for fall!
What else can you add?
- Collagen: Joint Health, Hair Skin & Nails
- Probiotics: Gut Health, Immune Support
- Adaptogens: Mental Health, Stress, Immune Support
- Matcha: Energy, Antioxidants
- Bee Pollen: High Antioxidants, Cancer Fighting, Hormonal Support, Immune Support
- MCT Oil: Energy, Antifungal, Heart Health, Weight Loss
- Spirulina (Blue or Green): Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant
- Turmeric: Cancer Fighting, Antiviral, Anti-inflammatory, Antioxidant
To add an extra element of flavor you can also add a squeeze of lime or lemon and some fresh ginger root. Lime and lemon are great to help alkaline the body and ginger acts as an antiviral keeping you healthy during cold and flu season.
Most importantly get creative! When starting to make smoothies at home most of us tend to go for the old trusty strawberry banana. Take a look at your favorite local smoothie bar menu and you’ll find some very creative recipes. Strawberry banana is great but let’s be honest, it’s pretty boring.
Try out some new and exotic fruits in your recipes at home. Most supermarkets even stock frozen dragon fruit and acai now. Try some mango, peach, cherry or kiwi. If you’re in a rut for creative recipes get on Pinterest and search superfood smoothies.
Don’t be discouraged if the first few don’t turn out how you imagined. Making smoothies is a wellness art form. It may take a short trial and error period. Stick with it and stay creative!