Satisfying Summer Smoothies: Get a Whole Day's Fruit Quota in One Delicious Shake-me-upAug 01, 2007 03:00AM ● By S. Alison Chabonais
Fruit smoothies have come of age and gone main stream to the point that they now rival coffees as a daily drink of choice. They’re quick, portable, filling and, of course, naturally nutritious. A whole day’s fruit quota can wind up delivering the goods in one delicious morning, midday or afternoon shake-me-up.
Googling “smoothie recipes” or “smoothies for kids” yields sufficient concoctions to keep us juiced up forever. And turns up treasures like The Ultimate Smoothie Book, The Original Smoothie Book and The Smoothies Bible, all chock full of options.
Still, we found that many smoothie fans experiment until they find one or two customized blends that they like exceptionally well. Then they stick with a convenient routine. For smoothie newbies, Natural Awakenings makes entry into this healthy habit simple by breaking preparation into five easy pieces. Then we offer a taste of the infinite possibilities with sample recipes.
Every smoothie begins with a half-cup of liquid in a blender. Creative possibilities include purified water, almond or soy or rice milk, juice or diluted juice concentrate, plain or fruit yogurt, kefir (an enzyme-enriched yogurt-like milk product), or soda water for a bit of sparkle.
Next we have the option of powering up with a scoop of protein powder. Flavors vary, but we hear that vanilla blends well with the taste of most fruits. Natural health advocate Gary Null likes aspartame-free plant-based protein powders. “I really like rice protein powder,” says Null. Some smoothie fans we know also toss in a bit of ground flax meal to add fiber.
Now comes 8- to 16-ounces of fun fruit. First, drop in a half-banana minus the peel to thicken the mixture. Follow with a choice of fresh or unsweetened frozen strawberries, blueberries, peach sections, red grapes, apple, mango, papaya and/or orange or other citrus fruit (skip any dairy with citrus). Even prunes work. Frozen fruit generally is most convenient, even in season. Just mix and match to taste.
Finally, add in crushed, chipped or chunked ice, to make the whole drink cool and deliciously refreshing. (May not be necessary if using frozen fruit). A universally desired thick and creamy texture requires maybe 5 to 10 seconds, up to 30 to 45 seconds, of mixing to ensure that ingredients are fully circulating and wholly mixed.
If a smoothie’s too thick, add juice or water. If it’s too thin, add fruit, yogurt or ice. If it’s too tart, add a little honey (but not for infants). If it’s too sweet, add a spot of lemon juice. Then it will be j-u-s-t right. Note that more than half a banana overwhelms other flavors and makes any smoothie a banana shake. For a frosty drink, use frozen fruit. It’s a neat treat. Especially once one gets the feel of it.
Smoothies deserve their sterling rep. After all, “What you eat and drink has a dramatic impact on your life,” says British nutritionist Natalie Savona, author of the Big Book of Juices and Smoothies, “…not just how well you are now, but also your vitality, your future health and your state of mind.”