You’ve got your fruits and veggies (see Smoothie Basics 101). Here are suggestions for making your frosty deliciousness even more nutritious:
: Add enough liquid to blend.
Juice can also be used to sweeten or to mask a taste that is more vegetably than you prefer.
Milk I usually use unsweetened almond milk, but you can use any milk.
Coconut “milk” I don’t find anything coconutty about the coconut milk from the dairy section or the kind packaged in the aseptic container, but I use it occasionally to mix things up a bit. (Canned coconut milk is fine for cooking, but in a smoothie, it tastes, well, canned). You can make real thing with a fresh coconut. But I like smoothies because they’re easy, and it’s easier just to add a couple of chunks of fresh coconut. When my mom, who thinks nothing of making hand made noodles for lunch, makes fresh coconut milk, I just want to enjoy it as is.
NUTS/SEEDS should be raw, if you want the full benefits of the oils. (I keep them in my freezer to keep the oils fresh). Besides upping the protein quotient, nuts will thicken your smoothie, adding a creamy texture.
My favorites: walnuts, almonds, pecans (add a maple-y flavor), cashews, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds
ICE CUBES are the duct tape of smoothies. If my smoothie is too sweet, too heavy, too creamy, or too strongly flavored, adding ice usually fixes it. And for some reason a colder smoothie always tastes better.
Cocoa Powder: (Big chocolate taste, no sugar, no fat!). Use sparingly. A little goes a long way. I’ve also used Ovaltine, but prefer to avoid the added sugar.
Vanilla Extract: adds another dimension to any smoothie with milk and/or chocolate.
Ground Flaxseed: I like the crunchy texture, so I mix in a teaspoon after I’ve blended everything. Keep your ground flaxseed in the freezer, since the oil gets rancid quickly. Alternately, you can use whole flaxseeds which have a longer shelf life.
Chia Seeds: Aztec food. Basically grass. Nevertheless, supposedly high in nutrients and antioxidants. (Lately, it seems the more exotic and primitive a food is, the higher its purported nutritional value). I like the crunch it imparts if you mix it in after blending. (If it sits, it gets jelly like).
Powders (Wheat Grass, Barley Grass, Alfalfa) : Add this for a nutritional boost or when you don’t have any fresh veggies. It does have a “green” taste, which may take some getting used to, but start with a little bit. It’s passed my son’s taste test, so it can’t be that “healthy” tasting. I use the Amazing Trio from Amazing Grass.
Yogurt: for added protein.
Protein powder: adds calories and staying power to your smoothie. Most protein powders have additives that I want to avoid. Solgar is the only brand I’ve found that doesn’t use a sugar substitute. (Note, it won’t give you the “milkshake” taste of other protein powders, but as a smoothie addition it works perfectly fine).
Of course, you can put just about anything in your smoothie. These are just some of my usual ingredients. As with any recipe, proportion is as important as the actual ingredient. If you’re trying something new, start with a small amount. Eventually I hope to post some of my favorite combinations with actual — well, at least approximate — measurements.