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Krisha

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Maria

Good Morning Smoothies

by Maria on March 9, 2011

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Our blender has been running a lot over the past month. On any given morning there is a good chance I'm making smoothies to order. I'm not sure how this smoothie craze started, usually we just make them on occasion, but maybe it was the long winter that had us all craving fruit. 

The great thing about smoothies is that they are super easy to make with on-hand ingredients. A little frozen fruit, a ripe banana, some yogurt and milk, and you are good to go. Of course, leave it to me to sneak in some spinach too. Yes, it's true, more on that in another blog entry, but I have been doing a lot of "sneaking" lately. 

So here is what you need to make a delicious, healthful smoothie:

Fruit: Frozen fruit is more economical, easier to store, and actually works better for this purpose anyway; our number one frozen fruit for smoothies is wild blueberries, but we also add in strawberries, raspberries, and mangoes. You can certainly use fresh fruit too, and we almost always include a fresh banana in ours.

Yogurt: We love to use low-fat vanilla yogurt. It guarantees a sweet tasting smoothie without any other added sweeteners. We often use low-fat plain kefir or plain yogurt too, but usually add a little honey to sweeten it just a bit. If you are looking for a dairy-free smoothie, try soy yogurt or skip this ingredient and go straight to the orange juice or soy milk. 

Milk or orange juice: Thin out your smoothie to the perfect consistency by adding a little low-fat milk or orange juice. Non-dairy alternatives like soy milk and almond milk all work well too. 

Add-in's: From flax seed to pureed spinach, with a little creativity and experimentation you can boost the nutrient profile of your smoothie. If you choose to try the spinach, start with fresh baby spinach, puree it with some frozen blueberries in a food processor, and then add a small amount to a blueberry smoothie. (Start small and no one will know, well, except you),

Recipes: It's hard to go wrong with a smoothie, but here are some guidelines to get you started:

General smoothie recipe

Serves: 2

1 cup frozen fruit (e.g., 1/2 cup frozen wild blueberries, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries)

1 banana

1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt

1/2 cup low-fat milk

1. Combine ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

2. Pour into glasses and enjoy! 

For a balanced breakfast, pair the smoothie with whole grain toast, pancakes, or a granola bar. In a hurry? Pour it into a to-go mug and be on your way (just don't spill!) Made too much? Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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