Some people think of a smoothie as a treat–something you get at a juice bar or have made for you after an intense workout. But smoothies can–and should!–be an everyday part of your meals. They pack in a lot of nutrients essential to a healthy eating plan, are great if you’re not a big veggie fan but know you still need to eat a garden variety, can be made in advanced and eaten on the go, and just plain taste great.
What’s even better is how simple smoothies are to make. Make a few big chops to produce with a kitchen knife, toss your ingredients in the blender, and voila: a simply sensational smoothie that you can have for any meal or snack.
If you’re still not convinced it’s that easy, it might be because you don’t have the right ingredients on hand. After all some smoothies seem to pack in an entire supermarket produce section, and all you have is some frozen berries and a browning banana. Guess what? With those two things and some ice, you’re a blender away from sipping on a smoothie. Will it be as glorious as one you’d buy a smoothie stand? Probably not, but it will be sweet, smooth, and satisfying, all with a wallop vitamins and antioxidants that can benefit your body.
Stock up on the following six go-to smoothie ingredients, and you’ll be in for a treat anytime you need one.
Banana: If you have a banana, you can pretty much add anything to make a smoothie…ok, within reason. Bananas are best because they’re inexpensive, typically something people have on hand, provide a nice mild sweetness, and create a perfect smooth, creamy base. Tip: If you have a sweet tooth, wait for your bananas to turn brown. If you’re looking for a refreshing healthy treat to beat the heat, keep your bananas in the freezer. Just make sure to peel and cut them before freezing.
Frozen Fruit: No matter what time of year or where you live, the frozen section of your supermarket makes just about every fruit ripe for the picking. Smoothies are best when built from flavors you already enjoy, so choose your favorite fruits in frozen form. For example, berries and cherries will create a tart taste, where as a mix of melons will keep the flavor more mellow.
Spinach: Before you turn up your nose, a handful of baby spinach in your smoothie will only change the color–not the taste. If you’re not a fan of eating your veggies, hide them in with other flavors and drink your greens instead.
Nut Butter: Natural almond and peanut butters add healthy fat and a touch of protein to a smoothie, not to mention yumminess. Simply drop in a dollop of nut butter to give your smoothie a boost.
Non-Dairy Liquid: While you could use water or ice cubes to help further liquefy your smoothie, coconut water, almond milk, and other non-dairy liquids (sorry, not wine) can offer more bang for your smoothie buck.
Protein Powder: Protein is key to helping you control hunger, build muscle, and run strong throughout the day. Add a scoop of protein powder in your favorite flavor, and you have the basis for a meal replacement and super-powered snack.
With these ingredients–and a blender–you’re set for smoothies. Use these as your base, but don’t forget to get a little creative with ingredients you already have. Things like cinnamon, vanilla extract, beets, carrots, and chia seeds are great additions. Give them a try and see how smooth your smoothie can be!