Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Delicious AND Nutritious Smoothie!

I have had a love affair with smoothies for about as long as I can remember.

....I'm not actually sure when during my childhood they became popular at ice cream shops, coffee shops, etc., but whenever they did, I started ordering them! As a kid, I think I began with things like "freezes" or "chillers" -- drinks that were sweet, cold, and refreshing but were likely all ice and sugar. Then, I discovered "Frulatti" on shopping trips in junior remember those mall days, I'm sure, the kind where I was dropped off outside the food court with a girlfriend or two, stumbling out of my parents' minivan with cash in hand, ready to hunt for treasures with my awkward teen "fashion sense." I usually ordered the strawberry-banana smoothie there, the flavor that was and is the "classic" smoothie. 

Sometime in high school or college (probably after I started making smoothies at work at a local ice cream shop), I began to experiment with my own blended concoctions of juice, fruit, and ice at home. Let me tell you, I have tried COUNTLESS variations. I usually don't use recipes -- I just blend up whatever I have, keeping in mind a couple of basic keys to a smoothie. That is, you have to have ice (or something frozen), fruit, liquid, and some kind of thickener (i.e. yogurt or ice cream).

More recently, especially since becoming a mom, I've become more health-concious instead of purely taste-conscious. I have realized that smoothies are still a refreshing snack (or often a lunch for this mom-on-the-go), but that they can be packed with added ingredients in ways that hardly taste differently but allow me to reap the nutritional benefits! I've started adding veggies (usually spinach or kale) to create "green smoothies," and I've also earned to include little extras like flax seeds or chia seeds that barely affect taste but pack a big nutritional punch.

SO, with all of that said, I want to share a "recipe" (it's not exact -- feel free to experiment) for a smoothie that wins the medal for the tastiest AND healthiest one I've made. It's a twist on that "classic" strawberry-banana flavor. I've tried it several times (each has been delicious!), and this is how you can enjoy one, too:

Start with the "meat" of the smoothie -- fruit and veggies! For this recipe, use:

- 5-6 frozen strawberries
- a handful of frozen triple berry medley (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries)
- ½ a banana
- a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach
Next is liquid (and ice)! Add in:

- 3 oz. apple juice (I like to use the Motts for Tots I buy for Jacob -- less sugar!)
- 3 oz. milk (any kind you use is fine, whether it's skim, whole, almond, coconut, soy, etc.!)
- 5 oz. Odwalla Strawberry C Monster juice (a great Vitamin C blend of strawberries, oranges, apples, and grapes...I believe Naked and Bolthouse Farms have similar blends as well)
- 6-8 ice cubes
Add a "thickener" and an "extra boost":

- two heaping tablespoons of yogurt
- two tablespoons of flax seed meal (You can also use regular whole flax seeds -- I like the meal because they're already ground, so there are no seeds in my smoothie and I don't even notice it.)

The finished product! Pretty, tasty, and HEALTHY :)
*This recipe will make enough for two (or one really large "meal-replacement"). I always make a large smoothie because: 1.) I often eat these as the majority of my lunch or breakfast and 2.) I almost always share with my two-year-old, Jacob (healthy smoothies are GREAT for toddlers -- they love them, and you can sneak in some good healthy portions of fruits and veggies!).

Not sold on adding spinach and/or flaxseed to your smoothie? Here are a couple of great info.-graphics highlighting some of their benefits:

Found on

Breathe. Relax. Enjoy.

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