As the warm weather is starting to approach, there is nothing like having a cold, refreshing drink in hand. However, rather than reaching for a glass of empty calories with a cold beer or iced coffee, try having a smoothie. Smoothies are an easy way to pack a ton of nutrients into one glass, allowing you to get creative in choosing your favorite combination of ingredients. The versatility with smoothies is endless, as they can be solely fruit based for an easy snack, or with added protein and vegetables, the perfect meal replacement for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.
Besides the ingredients you choose to add to your smoothie, the only appliance needed is a blender, or food processer. Once you have obtained the necessary equipment, the first step to mixing up delicious, refreshing beverages is to choose your fruit. Fruit can either be fresh or frozen. The fiber that you get from eating whole, raw fruit helps with digestion and removing toxins from the body, all while keeping you fuller for a longer period of time.
The next step is to add liquid to the blender. If you are looking to make a thicker, creamer smoothie, try adding milk or Greek yogurt. For a thinner smoothie, add fruit juice or tea. When using juice, be aware that this will increase the amount of sugar, as fruit already contains sugar naturally. Be sure to choose a brand that contains 100 percent fruit juice without artificial sweeteners. If making a dessert smoothie, consider adding ice cream, sherbet or frozen yogurt.
For a smoothie that would work as a meal replacement, now would be the time to add protein and vegetables. Protein can be in the form of powder, or by adding a spoonful of peanut butter, or even a handful of nuts. Adding fresh kale and spinach will pack in tons of nutrients without you tasting them, as their taste gets masked by the other ingredients. Adding healthy fats such as avocado, flax oil or hemp oil also help to make a smoothie more filling. Avocados are great source of healthy fats with close to 20 vitamins and minerals, and are the perfect substitute for bananas to add thickness without adding sugar.
The last step is to add ice cubes. Remember the more you add, the thinner the smoothie becomes. If you use fresh fruit, add more ice cubes, and alternatively, if you use frozen fruit, add less. You can also try making your own ice cubes from fruit juice to add more flavors. Always start off adding a few ice cubes at a time to prevent the smoothie from thinning out too much.
Now, blend, and enjoy! Remember, you can never make a mistake with smoothies. If you end result is too thin, add a thickening agent to the mixture, such as a spoonful of plain Greek yogurt. Or if it is too thick, add more liquids until you get your desired results.