Has this week felt totally weird or what?! With Tuesday being the Fourth of July, it really just threw all the other days for a loop. But I ain’t complainin’ about a Friday!
I’m super excited about today’s post. I have been SERIOUSLY into smoothies lately and I’ve gotten a lot of questions about them on my Instagram! So we’re gonna break down my favorite smoothie mix-ins and how to create what I believe to be a daaaang good drink. Or bowl! I prefer the bowl method, because, you know, TOPPINGS.
One of the reasons I’ve shied away from posting smoothie recipes on my blog is because I, personally, never follow one. I never make the same smoothie twice! They’re always different depending on what I’m craving and of COURSE I can’t be bothered to measure anything! So my hope with this post is that it will inspire you to get creative and find combinations that you LOVE! Smoothies are an incredible way to pack a ton of nutrients into your day, and an opportunity to sneak looots of veggies in without sacrificing taste. It takes practice (lots and lots of trial and error) to find what works and what doesn’t, what tastes gross and what tastes magnificent, but hopefully my tips will help you along your smoothie journey and prevent any blender blunders!! (Hehe…I’m pretty proud of that wordplay there.)
99% of the time, my liquid of choice is a nut or seed milk – almond, cashew, coconut, or hemp. The other 1% of the time I’ll use coconut water, but it’s not super frequent. I like the creaminess that nut milk adds and the fact that it has just enough flavor to help mask some of the veggies 😉 For a smoothie bowl, I will add about 4 oz of liquid to the blender, and for a regular smoothie, I will generally use about 8 oz. Always use less liquid for a bowl than a regular smoothie because you want the bowl to be thick & able to hold its own against the toppings! Your biggest rule of thumb when it comes to making a smoothie bowl vs. a regular smoothie is using all frozen fruits and vegetables. The more room-temperature produce you have, the thinner your smoothie will be.
I almost always use about 1/2 of a chopped, frozen banana in my smoothies for creaminess & sweetness. Then I generally pick one other fruit to use, anything from strawberries to blackberries to mango, but my go-to lately has been blueberries because they’re high in fiber and antioxidants and lower in sugar. Sometimes I’ll throw in a pitaya packet, but that’s really just for the pretty magenta color 🙂
If you’re not careful, the sugar content in your smoothie can climb REAL fast, especially if you use a juice as your liquid. While natural sugars are all fine and good, too much of a good thing is, well, too much of a good thing. All that sugar will hit your system first thing in the morning (or whenever you choose to drink your smoothie) and your body will react as if you’d just had a Mountain Dew…but minus the caffeine part: a spike in your blood sugar and energy levels, and then a biiiig crash. Keeping the sugar levels low and having a good balance of carbs, healthy fats, and protein in your smoothie will help your body big time!
I’m not sure if it counts as a fruit, but I love to add one of inner-eco’s young green coconut meat puree packets to my smoothies, too! I find it at Whole Foods.
I aaaalways add cauliflower into my smoothies. Always! Why? Because it’s a super sneaky way to get vegetables in with little to no additional flavor – and, strangely enough, it helps create that creamy texture we love! I buy riced cauliflower and then freeze it and scoop it out as needed. I usually use 1/3 cup. Some people I know choose to steam their cauliflower before freezing because it’s better for digestion, and also because it takes some of the sharpness of the raw flavor away, but raw doesn’t bother my body so I skip that step! From an aesthetic point of view, I like cauliflower because it’s a vegetable I can add to my smoothie that doesn’t affect color, which I like for my pitaya bowls, especially 🙂
For “green” smoothies, I buy a mixture of organic baby kale & spinach and keep it in my freezer. Mostly because that way I don’t have to worry about it going bad, but also because it keeps things cold. Nothing worse than a room temperature smoothie! Haha. I usually just grab a handful out of the bag and stick it in the blender.
Occasionally, I add like 1/4 of an avocado to my smoothies, but not super often because I think it tastes funny. I can ALWAYS taste the avocado, no matter how many other things I have going on in the smoothie and it just weirds me out. I don’t like it. But I’m trying! Maybe one day??
I’ve also experimented with chopped, frozen zucchini in my smoothies and I like it!
Okay, so here we’ve come to the fancy powders and butters! These are what I use on a frequent basis:
- Collagen peptides – I loooooove collagen peptides! It has so many crazy amazing health benefits, from packing in the proteins (18g per serving!!!!!!!!!!!) to beauuuutifying your hair and skin and nails to healing your gut lining to helping your hormones and it has *virtually* no taste. I say virtually because everyone I know says it has NO TASTE, but I think there’s a liiiiittle bit of, like, tanginess (?) that it has, but it doesn’t usually bother me. I use the collagen peptides by Vital Proteins and usually add 1 scoop, sometimes 2.
- Plant-based protein powder – Lately I’ve been loving the vanilla protein powder by ALOHA. It’s plant-based and the ingredient list is squeaky clean, which I love. Protein powders can be filled with the worst ingredients, ironically, and this is one of the best I’ve found. I usually add 1 scoop, which has 9 grams of protein.
- Cacao powder – I especially love adding cacao to my green smoothies because whatever chocolate touches turns to GOLD – can I get an amen?! I love the organic cacao powder by Navitas Naturals.
- Maca powder – Also by Navitas Naturals, maca is an adaptogen that increases stamina and supports hormone & immune health. It has a subtly sweet, nutty taste, but the serving size is only 1 teaspoon so you really can’t taste it in a smoothie.
- Nut butter – I am OBSESSED with Artisana’s line of organic, raw nut butters. They are absolutely delicious. I usually add a tablespoonish of almond or cashew (sometimes walnut or pecan) butter to my smoothies for healthy fats & extra deliciousness.
On a random side note, the other day I added a knob of fresh ginger into a green smoothie and WOWOWOW it was so good! Def recommend.
Ahhh yes. My favorite part!!! My go-to toppings are cacao nibs for crunch & fiber, hemp hearts for protein, coconut flakes for texture & healthy fats, chia seeds for healthy fats & crunch, and nut butter for protein & healthy fats. Whenever I have some Purely Elizabeth granola on hand I like to add that, too, because YUM!
I own a Blendtec and use that to make all of my smoothies. I believe a high-powered blender is one of the most valuable tools in my kitchen and highly recommend the Blendtec brand! Blendtec has stellar customer service & creates an incredible, quality product. They blend smoothies effortlessly and do really well with frozen foods – something that blenders can really struggle with.
Like I mentioned previously, learning how to make a good smoothie really comes from a lot of practice and finding the flavors that YOU love! You’ll find very quickly what works and what doesn’t, what flavors go really well together and what flavors make you wanna puke. It’s all part of the fun! 😉 I hope that this post was maybe a little bit helpful & gave you a little inspiration!! Happy blending!!