13 Mar Mixed Berry Smoothie Recipe
How To Make The Best Smoothies
It may be balmy or Baltic wherever you, dear reader, but I believe all weather is smoothie weather. If done well, smoothies make a delicious and nutritious breakfast or meal on the go. If you follow these essential tips, you’ll have a template for making a variety of smoothies all year round.
Start with a frozen banana
I use a frozen banana in most of my smoothies. They are highly nutritious, a good source of energy and resistant starch. Resistant starch helps you to feel fuller for longer and also feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. As far as taste and texture goes, bananas add a natural sweetness and help to thicken the smoothie. Frozen banana chills the smoothie, making it more pleasant to drink. To freeze bananas, simply take ripe bananas, peel and chop up into chunks. Spread out as a single layer on a tray and freeze overnight. Pop into plastic freezer bags the next day for individual portions. Please wash and reuse these to reduce plastic.
Add milk and plain yoghurt
I use 250ml of milk and 125ml of plain Greek yoghurt per smoothie. I like the creamy texture and taste that these give to my smoothies, with a bit of tartness from the yoghurt. Greek yoghurt is also a great source of protein, which makes the smoothie more of a balanced meal which will keep you fuller for longer. And if you use a brand with live cultures, you are also helping to feed your gut bacteria. Whichever brands you choose, just make sure they are unsweetened.
Frozen fruit and vegetables
Frozen fruit and vegetables are ideal to use in smoothies. My favourite fruit to keep in the freezer are raspberries, blueberries, bananas, mango and pineapple chunks. Vegetable wise, frozen spinach and kale is indispensable and are normally frozen in small bundles. And a special mention goes to frozen avocado halves. Fantastic as a source of healthy fats and fibre, avocado also lends a silkiness to smoothies and is particularly good with chocolate. If you want to be super organised, make Smoothie Packs by freezing all the fruit and veg in one freezer bag. Please wash and reuse these to reduce plastic.
Go easy on the sweetness
Homemade smoothies should be lower in sugar than shop bought ones, as you have complete control over the ingredients. Unfortunately, some smoothie recipes can be very bland and they need help. I try to think flavour, not just sweetness. So try adding these to your smoothies: vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, pumpkin spice, orange zest or unsweetened cocoa powder. Also ensure that your bananas and other fruit are very ripe. If the smoothie is still lacking, one or two Medjool dates works wonders, or a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
Nuts and seeds
In my personal diet, I aim to have about 30g of nuts and seeds a day. These add a good dose of nutrients, healthy fats and fibre to my diet. I often add a tablespoon of nut butter or tahini to my smoothie, choosing the sugar free and salt free brands where possible. To boost my intake of Omega 3’s, I’ll add tablespoon of ground flaxseeds or ground chia seeds. These thicken up the smoothie, so consume soon after making. These are nutrient and calorie dense foods, so enjoy them in moderation. No eating spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar!
Fibre, protein and fat are great for keeping you fuller for longer. While smoothies do retain the fibre in the fruits and vegetables, it does become chopped up by the blades of the blender. So another favourite add in of mine is a quarter cup of porridge oats, which is a great source of soluble and insoluble fibre. And if you whip up your smoothie until good and frothy, you are whipping air into it, which also helps with satiety.