Being a huge fan of the smoothie, it was inevitable that I end up inventing my own smoothie concoctions. I mean, whats not to love about a smoothie? First of all, to make it is as easy as 1-2-3. Well if youve got a blender that is. Second, having a smoothie is convenience at its best! Prep, dunk, blend, pour, serve, drink or take out and drink later! Third, depending on whats in it - and hopefully its the good stuff - smoothies are nutritionally beneficial for you. They are an awesome way to get your daily dose of fresh fruit and veggies. Especially if the latter isnt a favorite, smoothies are a great alternative to eating your spinach. Four, making your own smoothie is healthy cooking on a budget.
And so on occasions when I dont have precise ingredients for a certain smoothie recipe at hand, I end up substituting and later on experimenting with the stuff. And - hit or miss, tried and failed. Sometimes my imagination totally gets the better of me. So here are a few pointers to making your own in case you are like me, a lady with a great many invent-ful tendencies.
Tip #1: Picking Out Fruits And Vegetables
Fresh or frozen? Fresh is always good! However, frozen fruit is a good option as well. Since you will need to add less ice when using frozen fruit, in terms of taste, you will achieve a more intense flavor and creaminess closer to the real thing.
Adding vegetables is always an excellent idea that will make momma proud. Spinach is a popular add-on to smoothies as fruit easily masks its flavor! Other veggie options are lettuce, bok choy, cucumbers and kale.
Tip #2: Adding The Liquid
A smoothie isnt a smoothie without the liquid of course! Consistency is as important as the flavor. One to two cups of liquid for every three cups of fruit is typically the best ratio. Knowing a fruits texture is also important. For example, bananas and mangoes have thicker textures compared to the watermelon, which also has a lot of juice. Hence, add less liquid when using watermelon. In case you end up with a little too thick of a consistency, you can always add more liquid. And if you end up with a slightly watery one, you can always add more fruit! So make sure you have a little bit more in stock of both to spare if you are still experimenting.
Your liquid options are varied depending on your nutritional needs and taste preference.
For a calcium boost, there is always cows milk. If you are lactose intolerant, there is lactose free or skim milk. For a more flavored variety, almond or hazelnut milk!
If you prefer a fruity taste with a vitamin C boost, freshly squeezed is always the best, although bottled or canned are also options. Popular juices are orange, apple, pineapple, pear or pomegranate.
Tip #3: Thickening It Up!
This add-on will give your smoothie more body, texture and not to mention nutritional boost. It will also balance out the acidity from fruits such as oranges and berries. Thickening is highly recommended for fruits that pack more liquid such as watermelons, pineapples and pears.
Your options are nuts and seed butters - almond butter, cashew butter, peanut butter, cookie butter - and dairy - yogurt, cottage cheese, ice cream. Though if you prefer not to add the said options, add ice to thicken.
Tip #4: Adding In More Flavor, Anti-Oxidants And Phytonutrients
You have three options depending on your taste preference of the day: sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar); salt - a dash of high-quality Iodized sea salt is best; herbs and spices - mint, basil, lemongrass, parsley, cilantro, cinnamon, vanilla, almond, nutmeg, ginger, clove, and cayenne pepper.
Tip #5: Taking On The Optional SuperFoods
Now this is the highest level you can take your smoothie to. Its like putting icing on a cupcake with the cherry on top! You can either add healthy oils - coconut oil, fish oil, flaxseed oil - or protein powders - whey protein, hemp protein, wheatgrass/chlorella/spirulina/probiotic powders.
So there you have it. Now get your lab coat on and experiment!
Samantha Samonte is a writer, health and culinary enthusiast. She has been sharing her knowledge and what nots about trends, healthy cooking and the best culinary art schools via Culinary One. She spends the rest of her time living life to the fullest and promoting a more active lifestyle with her latest pursuit managing PR and branding for a dance and fitness site.