A vitamin-packed smoothie is a great way to start the day, or works as the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. Cassie Best shares her top tips on how to make your smoothies delicious and nutritious every time.
Start your smoothie with two mugs full of a liquid base. This can be milk, or a dairy-free alternative such as soya or almond milk, natural or flavoured yogurt, fruit juice, or for a tropical flavoured smoothie, low-fat coconut milk or coconut water. It’s important to add the liquid to your blender before adding the fruit as this will prevent the blade from getting damaged.
Next add about three quarters of a mug of your chosen fruit. Banana is a great base flavour for any smoothie, and will give you a lovely creamy texture. Other fruits that work well are berries, mango, peaches, plums, nectarines, grated apple or pear, and melon. You may have to add more fruit or liquid, depending on the type of fruit you choose. Play around until you have a texture you like. Add a squeeze of honey, maple syrup or agave syrup if your smoothie needs it and finally add a few ice cubes to the blender for a thick and frosty smoothie.
If you want to make smoothies regularly, it’s a great idea to stash some fruit in the freezer. Not only will they retain their nutritional value and flavour, they will instantly chill your smoothie, so no need to add ice. Before your bananas have a chance to turn brown in the fruit bowl, peel and slice them, then freeze on a sheet of baking parchment on a tray until solid. You can then store in sandwich bags and throw into your blender whenever you need them. Even fruits that don’t usually freeze well, like strawberries and melon, are ok to freeze if you’re using them in a smoothie. Most supermarkets now sell frozen smoothie packs, which are often great value and give you a good mixture of fruit.
Once you’ve mastered the basics, try adding different flavours to your basic recipe. Add a spoonful of cocoa powder, cinnamon, grated nutmeg or vanilla essence before blending, or give your smoothie some texture with a sprinkle of flaxseeds, toasted chopped nuts or whole oats. Not only will it taste great but it will keep you fuller for longer too.
Bump up the goodness
If you haven’t tried a smoothie made from a mixture of fruit and vegetables before, you may be surprised by the flavour. The sweetness of fruit blends well with lots of vegetables and makes for a delicious and super-nutritious drink. Try making a green detox smoothie with coconut water, grated apple, kiwi, banana and spinach. Other vegetables which work well are grated beetroot or carrot, kale, tomatoes and avocados.
If you’re having a smoothie for breakfast or lunch, make it a more rounded meal by adding some protein. A spoonful of protein powder, peanut or other nut butter, or some tofu will blend well with your smoothie and give you an essential protein boost. Contrary to what you may have seen in Rocky, raw eggs are not a good option as we absorb the protein in eggs much better when they are cooked.
Are you a fan of a smoothie? What do you put in yours? Get some inspiration from our collection of smoothie recipes