Smoothies continue to be a popular treat at restaurants; although special equipment is promoted to make them it is not necessary. While we think of them as a tasty way to increase our dairy and fruit consumption, they can also be a wonderful way to slide in a few vegetables. Yes, I said “vegetables”!
The perk with smoothies is you can add things that people may not usually think they like – yogurt or kale – and your children (or picky spouse or co-worker) won’t even know they are there. Vegetables that work well in smoothies are spinach, kale, steamed broccoli, romaine lettuce, cucumber, peeled avocado, and carrots. Using low fat dairy, skim milk and lite yogurt, a smoothie can provide calcium and protein in addition to the vitamins and fiber in vegetables and fruits.
- While special smoothie machines aren’t necessary, a blender with a tight fitting lid is a must.
- To prevent damage to your blender, always use 1 cup of liquid, either skim or almond milk, or fruit juice.
- Add a 6 ounce container of light yogurt, vanilla blends well with any combination, but all types work.
- Choose your washed and chopped vegetable from the list above and add ½ to 1 cup. Remove stems from leafy veggies and add up to 2 cups.
- Add 1 to 1 ½ cups assorted fruits like – bananas, strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, pineapple, peaches, or kiwi. To prepare fruit – wash and chop into smaller pieces for even blending. Freezing fruit ahead will give an icy consistency without the work on your blender of breaking up ice.
- If you want to add ice – limit the amount to 4 cubes or no more than ½ cup.
- Blend until smooth without over-blending. Vanilla extract and a dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg can be a tasty addition.
To make a green monster smoothie blend: kale, grapes, yogurt, skim milk, and bananas.
Smoothies can be a fun snack for families to make together, just supervise blending and limit servings to about 1 cup.
University of Maryland Extension, http://extension.umd.edu/sites/default/files/_docs/Green%20Smoothie.pdf.
Michigan State University Extension, http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/smoothies_a_healthy_alternative .
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ross County.
Reviewer: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Fayette County.