How to Make the Perfect Smoothie

guide to making smoothies

The great thing about smoothies is that anyone can learn how to make them.  You don’t need to know how to cook, they require very little equipment or preparation and almost any fruit or vegetable can be used.  If you can chop fruit, you can make a smoothie.

Made with the right ingredients, smoothies are the most nutrient dense food there is, whether you use them as a meal replacement, as a snack or a post exercise energy boost.

Although there are only a few rules to remember when making smoothies, it can become overwhelming with all the different choices.  The possibilities are absolutely endless. 

Which fruit or vegetables do you use, fruit juice or dairy, do you add yogurt? 

Use the wrong ingredients and you can end up with a sugar-laden, calorie filled monster or something brown and ugly looking.

Well we have the answers to your questions.  All the information you need to make healthy and delicious smoothies is right here.  Simply follow these simple rules and guidelines.

Learning how to make a smoothie is easy.  All you need do is follow these simple guidelines.

There are five parts to a smoothie:


   Liquid
   Fruits and Vegetables
   Thickener
   Flavors and sweeteners
   Extras


1.   Liquid Base

All smoothies need a liquid base.    It helps blend the fruit and vegetables together into a smooth consistency.  But the blades need to be surrounded by liquid for the blending process to be successful.
 
How much liquid do you need? 

The accepted ratio is normally 1 to 2 cups of liquid for every 3 cups of fruit.  But of course this can vary depending on the type of fruit used.  Some fruits, such as watermelon, make your smoothie watery, which means you will need less liquid.

  • Water - If you want a non-dairy, low calorie smoothie, water is the way to go.   It is recommended you use pure, filtered water.

  • Fruit Juice - Fruit juices such as orange, apple, pineapple and pomegranate go great with smoothies.  They give them that extra bit of sweetness.  But do steer clear of the high sugar commercial varieties.   If you have the time,  freshly squeezed is  best, otherwise choose a sugar-free brand. 
     
  • Milk - If using dairy, opt for skim or another low-fat option.  Non-dairy alternatives are soy milk, nut milks or coconut milk.  Nut milks are my favorite.  You can use almonds, cashews, pecans or walnuts.

  • Tea - Green tea is a common smoothie ingredient and contains valuable antioxidants.
how to make a smoothie

2.   Fruits and Vegetables

The next thing to add are the fruits and vegetables.  Almost any combination of fruits and veggies can be used in smoothies.   Smoothies can be fruit only or a combination of fruit and vegetables.  Most people prefer to add fruit to their green smoothies.  Not only do they taste better, but you get the added health benefits of both.  The vegetables nourish, while the fruits cleanse.

Fruit can be used fresh or frozen.   Unless your fruit is fresh and in good condition, frozen is often the best choice.  It is picked and frozen at the peak of ripeness and freshness, sealing in the goodness.  If you have a surplus of fruit during the growing season, you can freeze your own.

Using frozen fruit also has another benefit.  Because you don’t need to add extra ice, the intense flavour of the fruit is preserved without being diluted.

Smoothies are a great way to add some greens to your diet.  Don’t worry you won’t actually be able to taste them, their taste is masked by the fruit.  For those people who don’t usually like eating greens, this is such an easy and enjoyable way of getting your recommended five-a-day serving of fruit and vegetables – all in a glass.

When making a green smoothie, the ratio is generally 60 percent fruit and 40 percent vegetables.  This is purely for the taste.  Greens on their own are rather bland and tasteless.


3.  Thickeners

The difference between smoothies and fruit drinks is their consistency and to achieve that characteristic smoothie creaminess requires a thickener.  

Unless you use a thickener you will end up with a watery drink.  The best thickeners are:

  • Bananas
  • Mangos
  • Avocados
  • Frozen Fruit

Yogurt can also be used as a thickener and complements most fruit.  But avoid the  flavoured, sugar-laden varieties.   My favourite is Greek-style yogurt.  It is thicker and creamier than normal yogurts giving your smoothies that traditional creaminess.  Low-fat Greek yogurt contains less than 3 per cent fat.

Remember there are no hard and fast rules when making smoothies.  Adjust as you go.  If it’s too runny, throw in a banana. Too thick add more liquid.

Should you add ice to your smoothie?

Adding ice will give your smoothies that characteristic chill and make them thicker and creamier.    But if you use frozen fruit or frozen yogurt you can omit the ice.  Personally, I prefer to use frozen fruit.  That way you can savor the flavor of the fruit rather than diluting it with ice.    

If adding ice, start by adding about three ice cubes to your smoothie, then process on chop or ice crush for 30 seconds.  If you decide you need to add more, then repeat the process for about 30 more seconds or until your smoothie is thick and creamy.


4.  Flavorings and Sweeteners

Fruit smoothies generally don’t need a lot of extra sweetening.     In fact if you’ve added two or three fruits to your smoothie you have reached your daily recommended fruit allowance and your smoothie will have all the sweetness it needs.  

Green smoothies on the other hand, sometimes need a helping hand to make them more palatable.   Even if you have added some fruit to your green smoothie, you may like to add:

  • Honey
  • Vanilla
  • Maple Syrup
  • Agave
  • Apricot Nectar

Dried fruits are another good option.  Because the fruit is dried the taste and sugar content are concentrated.  Even adding a banana will give your green smoothies a boost.

For a different taste sensation spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger can be used.

Or herbs such as mint, parsley or basil.

5.   Healthy Extras

If you are using your smoothies as a meal replacement and you would like to add extra protein to your smoothies, then consider adding:

  • Oats
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

All nuts contain large amounts of protein, vitamin E and fiber with cancer-fighting properties.    They can be added whole or made into nut milk.

Protein powders are an option but not absolutely necessary if you have added extra ingredients.


Smoothie Ingredients you should avoid

To keep your smoothies as healthy as possible there are some ingredients that should be avoided.  Ingredients that are high in sugar and fat will simply provide unwanted calories with very little nutritional benefit.

So leave out the:

  • Sugar
  • Sweetened Fruit Juices
  • Full-fat Dairy
  • Whipped Cream
  • Ice Cream
  • Sorbet
  • Syrup
  • Flavored Yogurt
  • Canned Fruit in Sugar Syrup




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