I was recently corresponding with a reader about how great smoothies are as an easy way to pack a healthy dose of goodness into kids’ diets – especially on days where maybe they haven’t eaten so great. For instance, in our house when it’s pizza night I make a green smoothie before dinner as a little snack. The girls go crazy for it and I feel good knowing they’ve gotten a big serving of leafy greens before we all dig in to a delicious, cheesy, greasy slice of NY pizza. So in honor of pizza nights everywhere and kids that enjoy nutrient-packed smoothies (even in winter) here are my tips for preparing the perfect smoothie.
Every smoothie needs the following elements:
Something with substance, i.e. bananas, avocados, yogurt, tofu or nut butters.
Your favorite fruit. Fruit can be fresh or frozen. (If you use frozen fruit, which has substance of its own, you can do without step 1.)
A liquid – juice, milks (dairy, nut, rice, coconut, or soy), water, or coconut water.
You can also add optional ingredients like wheat germ, flax meal, green powder, maca, chia or hemp seeds.
An appliance to properly smooth out your smoothie (blender or vita-mix). Toss a handful of the abovementioned into your appliance, push “blend”, and you’re all set.
* For Green Smoothies:
Green smoothies are very easy to make and the options are endless. The best ratio is typically 50% fruit to 50% green vegetable. Example: 1 large handful leafy greens mixed with 2 small bananas or 1 avocado to emulsify (make creamy), plus liquid, ice, and anything else you’d like to add such as honey, lemon, parsley or ginger. For an easy green smoothie kids and adults alike will love, click here.
Green vegetables and most fruits combine well together, especially bananas, oranges, pineapples and any type of berry. The only fruit I’d completely avoid is anything in the melon family. Take it from me this doesn’t work well.
It is important to blend until all “chunks” are removed from the mixture. There are a lot of nutrients encased into the cell walls of green plants and these need to be ruptured so full nutrition is available upon consumption without much digestive work. If you don’t have a great blender, you may have to blend longer and the smoothie will get warm. In that case, add more ice or make it the night before so it will be nice and cool by breakfast time.