After a couple weeks on the road eating and drinking a bit too much, we’re trying to make this week extra healthy. So far, there’s been lots of salad, roasted veggies, hummus and lentils (…and a couple ice cream sundaes…oops). Now we’re moving into smoothies, our go-to when we want to put ourselves on a healthy path. I love, love, love our smoothies for packing a big vitamin and fiber punch. We also mix in enough veggies that they’re substantial, while reasonably low in calories.
To make a smoothie, I start with the same base every time (with a little variation here and there):
- 1 orange
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/3 – 1/2 banana (I like just a touch for creaminess and potassium, without giving the smoothie too strong of a banana flavor)
And then I almost always put in:
- A couple handfuls of frozen spinach (or fresh..but I definitely prefer the regular “adult” spinach greens, not the baby ones, because the flavor of the big leaves are less intensely spinach-y)
- A handful of frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, pineapple and/or mangoes
Here are some extra veggies/greens I might add, depending on my mood (use anything that’s very fibrous, like beets, carrots and apples, very sparingly, or else your smoothie will have a too-think consistency):
- Wheat grass (often it’s sold sprouting in the produce section)
- Parsley (Alex likes this a lot…it adds a clean, crisp flavor to smoothies)
Sometimes we like supplement-type things in our smoothies, too:
- Spirulina powder (I’m a huge fan of including just a dash to take advantage of its enormous protein to weight ratio and superfood punch)
- Ground flax seeds
- Chia seeds (like the amazing distance runners slurp down in Born to Run! I saw these on sale at Whole Foods and was too excited, thinking I would magically turn into a super-duper Tarahumara.)
- Psylium husk (this adds tons of fiber, but also makes the texture a little more gritty…go really light)
I listed almost everything as frozen, but you can definitely do it with fresh stuff. It’s just easier for me to keep a bunch of frozen goods on hand than constantly re-stocking fresh fruits and veggies. I really like Trader Joe’s for frozen produce. Cheeeap.
As for the bananas, I start with them fresh (not sure you can buy them any other way?). If any begin to become over-ripen, I peel them, break them in half, and then put the bananas in a container in the freezer. It’s nice to have frozen bananas on hand — not only are they good in smoothies, you can also make an impromptu banana “ice cream” when the urge hits you (topped with some chocolate…or peanut butter…).
But, really, anything goes with smoothies. The only rule I keep in mind is not to mix too much dark green ingredients (spirulina, lots of spinach) with dark red ingredients (beets, raspberries) because dark green + dark red = a brown smoothie. Tastes fine, but doesn’t look so appealing.
To get you going on your smoothies, here’s a recipe!
Strawberry-ginger green smoothie
- 1 orange
- 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 banana
- a handful of frozen spinach
- 6 frozen strawberries
- 1/2 t fresh ginger
- 1 c water (or you could do something like almond milk…)
Load all the ingredients in your smoothie from juiciest and softest to hardest (citrus and banana toward the bottom). Depending on the motor of your blender you may require more or less chopping beforehand. I think you can probably get away with not chopping anything much, except perhaps the ginger. Once you’ve got the smoothie loaded, blend until the color looks even. Alex never blends long enough. Really blend the crap out of it.
Et, voila! A wonderful and wholesome smoothie.
Here’s the nutrition facts for your big ole smoothie, which I calculated using this awesome tool. Tons of good stuff, a filling breakfast or snack, and still low in calories.
Have fun creating new smoothies! Let us know if you come up with any recipes you really like.