Smoothies may seem pretty straightforward to whip up, BUT there are a few tips and tricks that helped us achieve the sweet, smooth and creamy consistency we had been searching for. Next time you grab a blender, take your smoothie to the next level by following these simple steps!
Tip 1: High voltage will MAKE or BREAK your smoothie!
We're talking about blenders, not rock-n-roll, though it, too, can help us all wake up when we don't feel like rolling out of bed at the crack of dawn! Anywho, when it comes to ramping up your smoothie-making skills, a high-speed blender is ESSENTIAL. It takes your smoothie from chunky to thick and creamy. No one likes to chew on leafy greens or crunch down on seeds when sipping on their smoothie.
Nutribullet and Vitamix blenders are great for smoothies and so much more. When shopping, look for a good quality, high-powered blender that’s easy to clean. Our personal favorite is Nutribullet because we can drink out of the cup we blend in. Less dishes? Heck yes!
Tip 2: Get your green on!
You can mix your greens up every so often for different benefits, but keep in mind that not all greens taste the same. If this is your first roughage rodeo, stick to spinach, as it has a mild flavor. If using kale, consider de-stemming it so it’s not quite so bitter.
Go slow when beginning to add more veggies into your diet. Baby steps are KEY when it comes to greens. Make your first few smoothies with a lot of fruit and just a hint of veggies. As your palate adjusts, increase your greens and decrease your fruit. Don’t try to go full-throttle right off the bat or you may become turned off by an overwhelming veggie flavor. Your tummy will thank you, too. Just like everything else in FfL, you want to create a habit that sticks!
Tip 3: Flavor it with FROZEN fruit.
First off, the key here is FROZEN. Having frozen ingredients is vital when it comes to smoothie success. Not only does frozen fruit retain its nutritional value and flavor, it CHILLS your smoothie. Why? Because no one likes a lukewarm smoothie OR one watered down with ice.
Bananas are a great base flavor because they sweeten while adding a thick, creamy consistency. From there, the sky is the limit!
As your palate adjusts, try to keep your frozen fruit to less than HALF your ingredients. Although fruit is made up of natural sugars, it’s still sugar. So, unless we're treating ourselves to dessert, we try to limit the amount of fruit we add to one-half or one-third of our ingredients.
Tip 4: If you’re making your smoothie a meal, add a little protein, fat and fiber.
If you want your smoothie to carry you from one meal to the next, protein, fat and fiber will do the trick. Often times, these ingredients add to the creamy consistency you’re looking for too. BONUS! Depending on if we're snacking or making a meal, we'll add or eliminate these simple ingredients when creating our smoothie.
For a protein boost, cottage cheese or unsweetened non-fat yogurt are our go-to ingredients. If you choose full-fat yogurt (made with whole milk), you can eliminate adding additional fats.
Some of our favorite healthy fats include unsweetened nut butter (which is also packed with protein), tahini (which is safe for people who have tree nut allergies), avocado, coconut oil and almonds. A little goes a long way, so choose one and keep it to less than a tablespoon.
For some added fiber, a teaspoon to a tablespoon of flaxseeds or flax meal works wonders. Not only do they deliver a delicious nutty flavor, they promote digestive regularity and contain a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid. Raw rolled oats can also add a creamy texture and keep you feeling full longer.
Tip 5: Choose your base.
Less is more when it comes to liquid in smoothies! Start small, and if it’s too thick, add a little more until you get to your desired consistency. We typically use just enough liquid to cover most of our ingredients.
Plain, unsweetened almond milk and non-fat milk are our go-to base ingredients, but there are so many you can choose from. Another great option is 100% PURE coconut water. Avoid using regular water, ice and fruit juice as your base. No one wants a watered-down smoothie, and fruit juice is filled with sugar.
Tip 6: Supercharge it.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try supercharging it with some added flavor and nutrition. Consider adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, raw cacao, goji berries, acai powder or local bee pollen.
Think about the flavor you want to achieve and the benefits you want to reap, then get creative and combine! We typically add a few varieties of seeds to every smoothie we make; the rest just depends on our mood.
Chia seeds are great for added fiber; hemp seeds add protein; raw cacao boosts antioxidants and tastes amazing. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg or a tiny bit of vanilla can also make fun additions.
Tip 7: Let the blending begin!
Once all your ingredients are added, blend away. If your ingredients stick to the sides, pause your blender and push them down a few times.
Tip 8: Making a smoothie bowl? Top it off with some amazing additions!
Smoothie bowls are an incredibly fun way to get your kids eating healthy and involved in some kitchen creativity! Let them choose their toppings and turn their bowl into a beautiful masterpiece.
Some of our favorite dry toppings are sliced almonds, chopped walnuts, granola (just check for FfL-friendly ingredients if you're not making your own), cacao nibs, chia seeds, hemp seeds, unsweetened dried coconut flakes and bee pollen. If you didn’t add fat or protein to your smoothie earlier, this is another way to boost flavor and nutrients.
For some fresh toppings, we often add a few banana slices, berries, sliced kiwi or freshly cut peaches.
Tip 9: This step is our personal favorite... ENJOY!
Pam & Kalie
What are your favorite smoothie making tips and tricks? Share in the comments section below!