In my attempt to step up my game on the health food front I've developed a completely new appreciation of the humble smoothie. A speedy breakfast, nutritious lunch or an afternoon perk-me-up, there's no time in the day that a smoothie doesn't belong. The perfect way to sneak in some veggies and a superfood or two, plus there's a whole heap of ways to customise based on your tastes or whatever you've got kicking around the kitchen. The hard part comes when knowing what to add, how much to add and if those flavours will work well together. After a little trial and error I think I've come up with the basics behind a good smoothie.
This is what bulks out your smoothie, the base layer that you can add a variety of flavours to. My base always consist of a banana (the riper the better) and some sort of liquid. A non-dairy milk is my usual choice given that I'm dairy free, but water is ok too. I usually use oat or almond milk.
My main tip here is start small. Don't jump straight in to a 4 parts kale to 1 part banana combo, you're guaranteed to hate it. Dark leafy greens are good to add thanks to their high nutritional value and ease of blending. Spinach is a good option for beginners and it's my personal favourite. Even the most basic blender seems to be able to deal with it quite well and the flavour is undetectable. I like to shove in a good two or three handfuls and still can't taste the difference.
Whilst the banana will add a good amount of sweetness and help thicken things up a little, it's also good to add a little more fruit to the mix, especially if you're just starting out. Here's where you can get creative. Berries, kiwi, mango, passionfruit.. fresh or frozen, the choice is yours. Berries are always a winner as they freeze well so can be kept on hand for anytime. I usually opt for whatever is in season to help keep costs low. Experiment a little and see what you enjoy.
Not only are smoothies a good way to incorporate some veggies into your diet but you can also sneak in a whole heap of superfoods. I add in both chia and flax seeds as well as maca powder. Chia seeds are a great source of a whole heap of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as Omega 3 (particularly important for someone like me who doesn't like fish). Flax seeds are another one high in Omega 3 whilst maca powder helps keep you energised and balance hormones. I add about a teaspoon of each, chia just sprinkled on top and flax and maca blended in. If you're going to try maca powder it's worth noting that it can have a fairly big impact on your body (hormone-wise), so it's best to start with small doses.
Feel free to ask any questions below or send me a tweet. Let me know if you give smoothie making a try!