It has been so ridiculously hot this past week and even though we have the air blasting all day, sometimes it just isn’t enough to cool down. So lately, I've been making a lot more smoothies for the family to enjoy. Smoothies can often be packed with lots of sugar and unnecessary calories, but I'm not referring to those milkshake-like monstrosities, but rather whole food smoothies that are packed with healthy fruits and vegetables!
Luckily, God has blessed me with a child that LOVES to eat. I know a lot of babies who eat well, but I have never met a baby who is as passionate and enthusiastic about food as Taylor and can eat pretty much everything! She isn’t picky about anything and has no allergies that we are aware of. However, I do know that this is not the case for everyone. Smoothies are not only a delicious treat, but a great way for you to sneak in some fruits and veggies for your kiddos (and husbands)! Incorporating smoothies into your diet is also a great way to stay healthy year round! Your skin & body will thank you!
The great thing about smoothies is that the possibilities are endless. You can mix things up and try different combinations to create new recipes!
5 STEPS TO THE PERFECT SMOOTHIE:
STEP 1: LIQUID--Choose a base. I prefer non-dairy milk such as almond, cashew, coconut or soy milk or coconut water (Try to avoid using fruit juices, which are usually packed with sugar.) If you are looking to boost your protein, Greek yogurt is a great choice!
**Make sure to check for any nut, soy or dairy allergies for your Little ones before introducing any almond, cashew or soy milk**
STEP 2: FRUITS & VEGGIES--Banana and coconut chunks make for an awesome base in almost any smoothie, because they both have a mild taste and a creamy consistency. Other fruits and veggies that work really well in smoothies are berries, papaya, mango, pineapple, peaches, and spinach. If you want to be extra healthy, I like to throw in about two cups of Super Greens. The color won't be as pretty, but you can hardly tell the difference in taste!
STEP 3: CONSISTENCY--To thicken your smoothie, you can add nut butters (also added protein) or avocado. Adding half an avocado is a good way to get vitamins and nutrients like antioxidants, vitamin B complex, and potassium. Chia seeds are also great and serve several purposes: They thicken beverages, and they add fiber and healthy fats and protein. Another great addition are oats.
STEP 4: BOOST FLAVOR--Instead of using sugar, sweeten your smoothie by adding honey, maple syrup or agave. I personally don't like to add any sweeteners, but when using lots of veggies and greens, a little sweetness can make the difference, so I add 2 or 3 dates! Dates are perfect natural sweeteners because dates have the potential to help with blood sugar regulation due to their low glycemic index, fiber and antioxidants.
You can also add spices or herbs such as cinnamon, nutmeg, tumeric, vanilla extract, and mint to make your smoothie extra special.
STEP 5: ADD SUPER FOODS--Healthy smoothie add-ins include spirulina, wheatgerm, flaxseed, protein powder, and goji berries. I like to add flaxseed and protein powder when I'm enjoying my smoothies as a meal, such as breakfast, but otherwise will leave it out if it's as a snack.
Below are some of my favorite Go-To Smoothie recipes:
1 cup Almond milk (unsweetened regular or vanilla)
2 cups Super Greens (spinach also works)
1 frozen banana
3 pitted medjool dates
CARAMEL APPLE (Overnight Oats):
½ cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 medium apple, peeled and cored
3 pitted Medjool dates
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup Cashew or Almond milk
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana
1 cup blueberries
(optional cup of spinach)
1 TBSP chia seeds
1 cup unsweetened Almond or coconut milk
1 cup frozen Strawberries
1 frozen banana
4-5 coconut chunks
1/2 cup pineapples
Hope you & your loved ones enjoy these recipes as much as we do in our home!