June 21 National Smoothie Day: 10 Tips for Sensational Smoothies!

Did you know that the history of the smoothie is closely related to the history of the blender which was invented in the late 1930s? Smoothies experienced a boom when they became readily available in coffee shops, cafes, and supermarkets in the 1990s. Today, smoothies are great for a quick snack or as a refreshing meal replacement. Celebrate Smoothie Day and blend together your favorite combination of nutrition and fun. To get the most out of your smoothie, check out the following tips.

  1. Do some mental math when creating your smoothie:
    • As a meal, 350 – 400 calories are reasonable. For a snack size smoothie, aim for 150 – 200 calories.
    • While fruit is a healthy ingredient, remember that 1 piece of fruit, or 1 cup of fruit is typically a serving.
    • Nut butters add protein, but remember each tablespoon also adds about 100 calories.
  2. It NEVER hurts to add some vegetables to the mix:
    • For an extra shot of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, throw in some spinach leaves, carrots, beets or even some canned pureed pumpkin. If trying to “hide” vegetables in a smoothie, berries can mask the green color well!
  3. Keep tabs on added sweeteners:
    • Taste your smoothie before adding any extra sweeteners. Smoothie ingredients, like fruits and fruit juice, flavored plant-based milks or fruited yogurts may provide plenty of sweetness.
    • Dried dates, figs or prunes are nutritious options to add sweetness to a smoothie.
      TIP: Soak dried fruit in hot tap water for a few minutes to soften before blending.
    • A dash of vanilla can sweeten up your beverage.
    • Watch out when adding honey, syrup, ice cream, sorbet, and fruited yogurts, as they will increase both the calorie and sugar content of your drink.
    • Of course, sugar substitutes can be used if desired.
  4. Add a protein punch:
    • A protein rich smoothie makes a more filling and substantial drink. Good protein options include plain low-fat yogurt, low fat milk, soy milk, silken tofu, chickpeas, or white beans. Some like to add protein powders, like whey or pea protein. Keep in mind that non-dairy milks, like almond and coconut milk only provide a minimal amount of protein.
  5. Consider including plant-based fats:
    • Nut butters, seeds, like chia, hemp or ground flax seeds, and avocados can make a smoothie extra filling. Stick to about a tablespoon of seeds or nut butters or about a quarter of an avocado per serving to avoid adding too many calories.
  6. Do not forget the whole grains:
    • Toss in leftover oatmeal or soaked oats to get the rich addition of whole grains and added body to your beverage. Oatmeal and other cooked grains, like barley or bulgur will help your smoothie become a meal. Just a ¼ cup of cooked grains per serving will do the trick.
  7. Get creative with flavor boosters:
    • Add a sprinkle of cocoa powder, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, or unsweetened matcha powder to add flavor and other health benefits to your smoothie.
  8. Don’t toss out your over ripe fruits and wilting vegetables – freeze now and blend later:
    • Most fruits can be frozen – simply cut fruit up in 2-4” pieces, lay on a baking sheet and place in the freezer. Once frozen, measure fruit out into 1 or 2 cup servings and put in a freezer bag. Be sure to label and date the contents!
    • Green leafy vegetables, like spinach and kale, are often used when making smoothies. Blanching is recommended prior to freezing to maintain optimal color and flavor. Simply blanch clean greens in boiling water for 2 minutes, then plunge into cold water for 2 minutes. Pat dry, and coarsely chop before placing in labeled freezer bags.
  9. Or, Blend fruits and veggies first, and then freeze:
    • Fill your blender halfway with loosely packed greens, add a few tablespoons of water and puree until “smooth-ish.” Pour into ice cube trays. Once frozen, store vegetable cubes in a freezer bag. The greens will be ready to go for your smoothies!
    • This trick works for fruits too and helps to save space in your freezer.
  10. Remember, anything goes:
    • Ask your family for ingredient ideas and get them blending!

Celebrate Smoothie Day and express your own personal taste of summer.

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