Do you have an almost-new NutriBullet or Vitamix that's collecting dust instead of making smoothies? You attempted to make one awhile back, but it tasted too much like liquid grass to be drinkable. Check out this easy, foolproof guide to building a nutritious and lip-smackingly good smoothie.
Greens (1 to 2 cups): Spinach and kale may turn your smoothie green, but once they're mixed with fruit, you'll hardly be able to taste them. You can also try adding beet or dandelion greens, sprouts, or arugula.
Fruit (1 to 2 cups): Frozen works best here, but if you use fresh, just add some ice cubes to give it a frosty consistency. Mix it up with two to four kinds of fruit such as banana, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, mango, peach, pineapple, pear, cherries, apple, grapes, papaya, oranges, melon, or kiwi.
Thickener (1/4 to 1/2 cup): For the perfectly creamy texture and for added protein and fiber, mix in some Greek yogurt or cottage cheese (3 ounces), nut butter (one tablespoon) or nuts (1/8 cup almonds, walnuts, or cashews), avocado (1/4 fruit), cannellini beans (1/4 cup), baked sweet potato (1/4 cup), oats (1/4 cup), or soft tofu (1/2 cup).
Liquid (1 to 2 cups): Water or some type of milk (cow, soy, almond, or rice) is always a winner, but you can also experiment with adding green tea; coconut water or milk; freshly squeezed juice such as carrot, beet, or orange; or chocolate milk.
Optional extras: Mix in a serving of your favorite protein powder to build muscle and stave off hunger. Or, for added fiber, add flax meal, wheat germ, or chia seeds (1/2 teaspoon). For a health boost, add fish or flaxseed oil or probiotics (recommended dosage). And for extra pizzazz and flavor, add cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, maple syrup, honey, dates, fresh herbs, or fresh ginger (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon).
Here's a handy chart showing a basic under-300-calorie smoothie with specific ingredients listed underneath.
1 cup kale (34 calories)
1/2 frozen banana (53 calories)
1/2 cup frozen strawberries (23 calories)
1/2 cup frozen blueberries (42 calories)
3 ounces vanilla Greek yogurt (65 calories)
1 1/4 cups cold water
1/2 serving vanilla protein powder (45 calories)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (2 calories)
Total calories: 264
Since diving into the world of smoothie-making can be intimidating, here are some other smoothie recipes you can try out that follow this basic plan. Have a smoothie recipe you love? Share it in the comments below.