Simplifying Smoothies

Smoothies are everywhere: in the mall, at fast-food restaurants, in coffee shops. But for the most part, those smoothies might be better termed fruit milkshakes. Stuffed with sugar, frozen yogurt, even ice cream, they do more harm than good.

But made properly, smoothies condense large amounts of fruits and vegetables into one compact and very tasty drink. Plants are most nutrient-dense at peak season.

So when putting together a smoothie, try to use the freshest ingredients!

First, Our Top Tips:

1. Invest in a blender with at least an 800-watt motor.

2. Prepare frozen fruit ahead to save time. Cut and freeze on a baking sheet, then transfer to a freezer bag or container.

3. Frozen bananas go a long way. Peel, slice, and freeze them. This go-to smoothie ingredient adds thickness without taking over other flavors.

4. Add ingredients like milk, yogurt, water, or juice first to get the blender moving. Then, add lighter, drier ingredients, like leafy greens, followed by heavy ingredients like ice and fruit pieces.

Are you ready to go? Here are some recipes:

Chai Latte recipe:

6 cups milk heated with 8 cardamon pods over medium heat for 30 minutes. Cool milk down for 15 minutes and remove pods!!!

1 T ginger grated 1 T cinnamon

2 t vanilla essence 4 dates soaked and pitted

Salt to taste Blend all ingredients with ice.

4 Servings

Strawberry Mango Spring Smoothie

1 cup coconut milk 1 banana, peeled, sliced, and frozen

1 mango, skinned and chunked 5 large strawberries, hulled

Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Makes 3½ cups

Summer Stone Fruit Smoothie:

1/2 cup Greek yogurt 1 plum, pit removed, flesh roughly chopped

1 peach, pit removed, flesh roughly chopped 1 nectarine, pit removed, flesh roughly chopped

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Makes 2 cups

Pumpkin Pie Fall Smoothie:

1 cup almond milk 1 teaspoon agave syrup

1 cup pumpkin puree 2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 apple, cored Dried cranberries Combine all ingredients except cranberries in blender and blend until smooth. Top with cranberries.

Makes 3 cups

Top Smoothie Add-Ins:

Keep these smoothie staples on hand for an easy and intense nutrition boost:

Hemp seeds. Vegan protein source with a mild, nutty flavor.

Flaxseed. Rich in fiber, protein, and omega-3s.

Wheat germ. One gram of dietary fiber per tablespoon.

Sunflower seeds. Use shelled seeds for a boost of copper, magnesium, and selenium.

Chia seeds.

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