There’s something about a cold refreshing smoothie that makes them irresistible on a hot sunny day. It’s no surprise I love making them. 

Smoothies are SO tasty but what I really love about them is how they make me feel! The cool, icy texture melts in my mouth and I love knowing that I’m nourishing my body with antioxidant rich fruits, berries and veggies. Talk about satisfying.

Smoothies and being healthy seem to go hand in hand. When smoothies are incorporated into daily routines, they enforce a nourishing lifestyle. They serve as a wonderful meal replacement and ensure you get all of your nutrients in one glass. If you’re interested in jumping on the smoothie bandwagon, here’s what you need to know.

First things first … you’ll need a blender! If you have one, the good news is you can make a smoothie. Next, gather ingredients. Most of my smoothie ingredients I purchase in bulk. Here are some of the items I keep on hand:

  • Bananas: OK, if you haven’t heard about bananas here’s the 411. Bananas contain potassium, fiber, magnesium, vitamins B6 and C — and when added frozen, they help form a frosty texture in smoothies.
  • Berries: Raspberries, Blackberries, Blueberries & Strawberries are rich in vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and fiber and are important to your overall wellbeing.  Vitamin C reduces inflammation and supports your immune system by maximizing iron absorption. I buy a large bag of each kind of berry and keep them in my freezer.  They last forever.
  • Pineapple: Pineapples are low in calories but have an impressive nutrient profile including vitamin C, niacin, riboflavin and iron.
  • Any other fruits or veggies you fancy: A bag of spinach, organic carrots and apples are staples in my fridge. If you’re like me and sometimes forget to eat your spinach, adding a handful to a smoothie is the perfect way to get your greens in.
  • Greek yogurt: A scoop here and there makes smoothies extra creamy.
  • Orange juice: Some of my smoothies use orange juice, but you could easily blend in a whole orange instead. One orange contains enough vitamin C to satisfy your daily needs. Oranges, when eaten whole, are also an excellent source of fiber.
  • Almond milk: Non-dairy milks provide a nice dose of a variety of nutrients and usually contain calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin D and more. Some non-dairy milks like soy milk provide a nice dose of protein. I used almond milk in my smoothie to keep it soy free and because I like the smooth, nutty flavor of almond paired with raspberry.
  • Peanut butter: Like most nut butters, peanut butter is quite high fat and calories (190 calories and 16 grams of fat per 2 tablespoons). But the good news is, you get a lot of nutrients for your investment. Peanut butter is a great source of protein, fiber, minerals, and vitamins. According to the FDA, eating 1.5 ounces per day of may reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Optional ingredients: Chia seeds, flax oil, flax seeds, vegan yogurt, protein powder and maybe a dash or two of cayenne if you like a spicy accent.

Here are three of my favorite smoothie recipes. It’s no surprise that I crave and embrace them daily. Magic? No. Just the power of some feel-good nutrition. Thank you, antioxidants! Have fun with smoothie making, get creative and see what you can come up with. 

PINEAPPLE SUNSHINE

            • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple

            • 1/2 cup organic carrot

            • 1 handful of fresh spinach

            • 1 apple (cored)

            • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt

            • 1/2 cup apple juice

            • 1/4 cup water

            • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

PEANUT BUTTER BANANA DAYDREAM

            • 2 frozen bananas

            • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter

            • 3/4 cup almond milk

            • 5 Medjool dates (pitted)

            • 1 1/2 tablespoon raw cacao powder

            • 1 tablespoon chia seeds

BERRY BEACH BUNNY

            • 1 frozen banana

            • 1/3 cup organic carrot

            • 1/3 cup frozen raspberries

            • 1/3 cup frozen blueberries

            • 1/2 cup almond milk

            • 1 tablespoon of almond butter

Rachel Spensatelliis a Los Angeles native who moved to Tennessee in 2014 to open The Curious Kitchen, a recreational Cooking School, Cafe & Catering Company located in Murfreesboro.  To take a cooking or cocktail class with Rachel, go to www.TheCuriousKitchen.net.

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