As you may know based on my previous posts, my family makes a lot of smoothies. I started making smoothies for my son as a way to sneak in fruits and veggies into his diet when he was one and a half. It has become a daily routine for the whole family. I make 2 batches each morning, one to split among both of my boys and one to split between my husband and I. I feel refreshed, energized, and satisfied after my smoothie and I know my kids are starting the day off with something healthy. It serves as my breakfast and it gets me through my crazy morning routine chasing after 2 boys.
This is my guide to building a smoothie, but it is absolutely not the only way to make a smoothie. When I get my blender out every morning, I don’t know what combination of ingredients I plan to use. I use what I have in the fridge/freezer and I think about the flavors I am craving at the time. Lately, as the weather is warming here in Massachusetts, I have strawberries on my mind. Though my taste preferences may vary each day, I generally follow this guide.
My general rules are:
- No grains
- Only naturally occurring sugars
- Make sure there are healthy proteins and fats
- Add plenty of greens
- Keep it vegan (no dairy)
I should also mention that this guide is based on using a high-powered blender. I started out with a basic blender, then upgraded about a year ago to a Vitamix. You can certainly get a great smoothie out of a conventional blender. However, I have found that dates and hard seeds like chia seeds are difficult to blend uniformly. You may have to figure out what your blender can handle.
I hope you find this guide helpful and it inspires you to incorporate more smoothies into your life!
Family Gluten Free Guide to Building a Better Smoothie
|1. Start with a good thickener|
|I prefer to use a banana (1 small or ½ a large), but you can also use avocado (1/2). Frozen bananas are also great, I regularly freeze bananas we can’t eat before they get too ripe.|
|2. Add some chill|
|You can use any frozen fruit of choice (1/2 – 1 cup). I like mango, pineapple, peaches, strawberries, cherries, and blueberries. If you don’t want the extra fruit you can just add ice (2-3 cubes).|
|3. Add your sweets|
|I like Medjool dates the best (don’t forget to take the pit out). You can find them in the produce section of any supermarket. The amount you use is based on your taste preference and the sweetness of the other ingredients. I typically use 1-2 dates per smoothie batch.
You can also use honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup.
|4. Add healthy fats and protein|
|You can use any of the following: chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, or flax seeds. I use 1-2 Tbsp per batch.
You can also use nut butters or nut meal (1-2 Tbsp per batch)
|5. Add a yummy boost (Optional)|
|This can be anything to add flavor and nutrients. Here is a list of my favorites:
Raw cacao nibs or powder, or unsweetened baking cocoa powder – 1 Tbsp
Unsweetened shredded coconut – 1 Tbsp
Raw goji berries – 1 Tbsp
Yogurt (I prefer non-dairy) – 2 Tbsp
Acai powder – 1 tsp
Spirulina – 1 tsp
Maca powder – 1 tsp
|6. Add Greens|
|I heaping handful of any of the following: kale (I like baby kale or flat-leafed kale, de-stem if needed), baby spinach, lettuce, or arugula|
|7. Add liquid to desired thickness|
|I usually add enough liquid to cover all the ingredients except the greens. You can always add more if it’s too thick. Here are the best choices for liquid:
Soy milk (I like brands that are only soybeans and water for ingredients)
Almond milk or other nut milks (avoid brands with carrageenan)
Coconut Milk (avoid brands with carrageenan)
Splash of juice (pomegranate, acai, or orange juice)