A smoothie is like a milkshake's health-conscious older sister. Smoothies are made with healthy ingredients such as fresh fruit, yogurt, flaxseeds and even vegetables rather than the high-calorie ice cream and sugar found in milkshakes. But even though smoothies are good for you, they can serve as a tasty treat or meal that is quick to make and is popular with kids and adults alike.
Fruit is the main ingredient in smoothies. Almost any type of fruit, in any form, can make a great smoothie. Fresh fruit may have more to offer nutritionally and will probably add the most flavor, but frozen fruit requires no preparation and eliminates the need to add ice cubes to the smoothie. Often a mixture of fresh and frozen fruit will be most ideal to get the advantages of both types. Frozen bananas add a luscious creaminess to smoothies, and, combined with a little water, they can take the place of milk in a smoothie if desired. Some recommended types of fruit for smoothies include berries of all types, cubed melons pieces, pineapple, mango, apricots, cherries and peaches. You can add dried fruit such as dates, raisins, and prunes if you soak them overnight in water to soften them.
You will need to add some type of liquid to your smoothie or it will be too thick and you will have to eat it with a spoon. Add the juice in small quantities to reach the desired consistency as you mix the smoothie in the blender. There are many healthy choices for liquid ingredients, and you can combine more than one type, if you prefer. Choose any type of milk such as skim, soy, almond, rice or coconut. Any type of 100 percent juice or juice blend is a good choice, or you can use a frozen juice concentrate with a little water for extra fruit flavor. Yogurt and kefir, a cultured milk product similar to yogurt, can add needed moisture to the smoothie as well.
You can add additional ingredients to improve the nutrition or boost the flavor of your smoothie. Add a scoop of protein powder or nut butter to add protein to a smoothie. For extra vitamins, add a few leaves of spinach, kale, or Romaine lettuce---you'll barely notice their taste, thanks to the stronger fruit flavors in the smoothie. Some people like to add grains such as oatmeal or bran, or nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds, sesame, walnuts or almonds to their smoothies for fiber and nutrition. Consider flavoring your smoothie with vanilla or almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder or lime juice. Once you have chosen all the ingredients for your smoothie, simply toss them into a blender, give it a whirl, and it's ready to drink.