I must admit I avoid banging on about how much my toddler and myself love a Smoothie, for fear of sounding like a smug Mum, or failed Hipster. I talked about them a bit here, but have been asked for a few recipe ideas, and ideas on where to start. So here are a few pointers which hopefully will inspired & convert you.
Getting Started with Smoothies for you & your family
Some recipes require a decent blender, lumps of Kale in a smoothie don’t appeal to anyone. Whereas softer fruit can handle a five pound hand blender happily. I use a Vitamix, which was a big investment, but I use it at least once a day, and it does the job so well. A juicer is not the same thing, it removed the vast majority of goodness, leaving you with the sugary parts of the fruit, and resulting in a lot of waste. How much pre chopping required depends on the quality of your blender. I throw in apples simply halved (core and all), but a less powerful blender may require you to pre chop a little more carefully.
I’ll leave you to your own call on Organic or not. Frozen fruit and veg is a great way to keep things affordable and convenient. The super organised and time poor could even pre-make up smoothie bags on a Sunday night so you literally throw, blitz and go.A great thing about smoothies is the fruit or veg which is looking a little past it can be given a whole new lease of life in a smoothie. So long as it’s not mould, i chuck it in. Give everything a wash before hand, and no need to peel anything-thats where all the goodness lurks.
Unless you are making a smoothie with a high water content (watermelon, cucumber etc), I like to add some liquid otherwise I find the consistency too soup like. Water is totally fine, or some ice cubes, but coconut water adds a hydrating natural sweetener (especially when you are using more bitter greens in your smoothie). Coconut milk can make a lovely creamy mixture. Or you could try one of the vast selection of nut milks. I find dairy tends to taste quite strange with a lot of the fruit and veg (I think it’s an acid alkaline classing thing), although coconut yoghurt can make for a lovely smoothy. Cooled stewed herbal and fruit teas can also be a tasty base if you’re looking for something a little different, which you already have in the cupboard.
My go to Veg & Fruit
Spinach sounds hardcore but honestly you can barely taste it when mixed with other flavours. Be sure to wash it throughly as otherwise you end up with an awful gritty. What isn’t subtle is the colour-but my daughter is happy that it’s dinosaur juice 🙂
Cucumber I chuck a chunk into every smoothie for a bit of added greens
Kale it mightn’t sound appealing but it works so well with so many flavours. Pineapple and Kale is our favourite at the mo
Apple i tend to only use a half as they are pretty sweet, but if you’re introducing your child to smoothies you can sweeten them up and then tone down.
Frozen berries a far cheaper and they add a nice chilly edge to the smoothie
Frozen Pineapple adds a delicious zing
Frozen banana-if your toddler has a habit of abandoning half eaten bananas, it’s a great trick to throw the leftovers in a sandwich bag in the freezer
Some hidden flavour boosters and hidden super foods
Ginger- antibacterial extraordinaire, gradually but I was amazed how quickly my Daughter (and ginger hating Husband) got a taste for it
Chia Seeds- full on minerals and fibre
Turmeric- the anti-inflammatory super hero, you might be used to it in Curry but it can add a great warmth to a smoothie and do amazing things for your wellbeing. You can buy the root fresh or use powdered. NB recent evidence suggests Turmeric is best absorbed when eaten with fat so throw in some nut butter or coconut oil for maximum benefits.
Herbs-throw in some mint to give it a mojito blast, parsley can really add a lovely freshness, experiment with small quantities initially and see which flavours you like best
Greens Powder- I use this one, but it does have a strong flavour, so introduce slowly
Add some extra energy
If you want your smoothie in place of breakfast, are trying to get some more calories into your kids, or just enjoy a heartier option. Here are a few was you can boost your smoothie:
Nut butter adds a delicious flavour and some great essential fats
Coconut oil offers anti viral properties, and keeps you fuller than bit longer
A handful of nuts a far more affordable option to nut butters and basically the same effect, so long as your blender is powerful enough. I love the flavour Almond adds.
Avocado a great way to use a slightly smoothy avo, and gain all the nutritional benefits
Oats are a great filling and affordable addition, with the added benefit of all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidant they contain, not to mention they help lower cholesterol, and balance blood sugar.
I prefer not to add additional sweetness life honey, grapes are a great way for an instant sweet lift.
What i find doesn’t really work
Hard veg with very little water content (carrots etc)
Pears seem to give a really grainy texture I just don’t enjoy
I haven’t listed specific recipes, because to me, the joy of a smoothy is throwing in a bit of this, a bit of that, and whatever is lurking in the veggie drawer. That no two are ever exactly the same! Play around with flavours, see what consistency you like best and have fun with it.
I’d love to hear your favourite smoothie, and which of these you’re going to try this week
ps. here is my recipe for a delicious chocolate moose which is sugar free!