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Smoothie 101

Three smoothies in ice bath

Ahh, smoothies. Sounds refreshing and satisfying, right?  They’re known as the prefect drink for a hot summer day by the pool or after a serious workout. And while they might seem like a fad, they’ve actually been around since the blender first came about in the 1930s. Why is the smoothie so popular? They’re easy to make, fun to enjoy and they usually pack a nutrient-rich punch.

Nutrient Rich

The “healthy” aspects of a smoothie depend wholly on what goes into it – fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts, seeds and/or spices. Try to select in-season fruits and vegetables, as that’s when they are the most nutrient rich and flavorful. If you’re unable to find what you’re looking for fresh and local, use frozen or even flash-dried products.

You can even prepare your smoothie before you blend it: cut it up and freeze your ingredients so you’ll have a stock of nutritious smoothies at a moment’s notice. And by freezing your ingredients, it can negate the need for a lot of ice cubes. By include the skin and seeds of your produce, along with the pulp; it will increase the fiber content of your smoothie considerably.

So how do you make the perfect smoothie?

Equipment

Now, to make the smoothest smoothies, it’s recommended your blender has at least an 800-watt motor or, in other words, ice-crushing power. The capacity and any other potential bells and whistles are entirely up to you.

Ingredients

Once you have a blender, you can either find a recipe you’d like to try or begin experiment with ingredients on your own.

More of a recipe person? Check out some of our favorite summer smoothies here.

Want to experiment? Here’s how to make a DIY Smoothie:

First, select your base. Start with 1-2 cups of liquid—water, green tea, coffee, vegetable/vegi-fruit nectar or plant milk, such as almond or coconut.

Next, add fruit and/or vegetables. These can be fresh or frozen, but if you add frozen goodness, you won’t need to add as much ice in the next step!

Third, thicken up the mixture. Now, thickness is a personal preference, so there’s no right or wrong amount to add. Thickeners include nut butter, yogurt, ice cream, ice cubes, coconut, chia seeds and oats. Play with your options! Some thickeners will make your smoothie more appealing for breakfast while others more for dessert.

Fourth, add some extra flavor. From sugar and honey to herbs and spices, this is the opportunity to add a little zip to every sip!

Last, but not least, take your smoothie up a notch with a power boost from superfoods. Try protein powder, ground flaxseeds or bee pollen, just to name a few of these highly nutritive superfoods.

Smoothies are not an exact science, which is probably one of their saving graces. Play around. Be creative. You could go all summer and never make the same one twice.