Smoothie consumption has grown more than eighty percent in the last five years, and there are over 6,000 smoothie shops in the U.S. to satisfy our growing thirst. To make a thick, rich-tasting super food smoothie, start with frozen fruit. Regardless of the smoothie’s flavor, mine always start with a frozen banana. I keep a gallon-size bag of bananas in my freezer at all times. Offering subtle flavor, great texture, and natural sweetness to the smoothie, bananas are good for you too. They give you energy—both immediate and prolonged—and they offer significant health benefits, the big ones: heart, blood pressure, bones.
So that I’m not drinking the same smoothie flavor from day to day, I also keep on hand a variety of frozen fruits. I offer a recipe for blueberry smoothie here, but you can use just about any fruit you like. If you want to make a banana smoothie, simply use 2 frozen bananas rather than one.
A good smoothie needs liquid. Because soymilk is lower in calories and naturally sweeter than regular milk, I prefer it. But any milk, dairy or nondairy, will work. In fact, Maggy has recently switched to Coconut Dream, a nondairy drink very high in calcium.
Then I drop in a big spoonful of 0% fat plain Greek yogurt to help thicken my smoothie. Low in calories and high in calcium, this dairy contains the good bacteria your digestive system needs.
Thanks to Maggy, I’ve also started adding ground chia seeds. Considered a super food, chia seeds are a wonderfully invisible way to get fiber in your diet. And if you don’t eat a lot of fish, they’re a great way to get your omega-3.
Smoothies need just a touch of additional sweetener, and I’m using agave a lot more these days. Not only does it dissolve better than sugar, agave also has a lower glycemic index, which means it won’t cause your blood sugar to spike and fall.
Just for fun, I like to add a little extra flavor. Depending on your drink’s flavor, consider finely grated citrus zests, extracts like vanilla, almond, and coconut. And if you’re making a chocolate smoothie, boost the chocolate flavor (and improve your memory and blood flow while you’re at it) with unsweetened cocoa powder.
As much as I like the rich, thick smooth texture of this drink, I also like a little crunch. As you can see from the recipe below, I top my smoothies with nuts and granola in the morning. If it’s an afternoon or evening snack, however, I might crumble in graham crackers, chocolate wafers, or gingersnaps.
No wonder we’re drinking more smoothies. We get something that tastes like a rich milkshake but, in fact, it’s just what the doctor ordered.
1 heaping cup frozen blueberries
1 frozen banana, cut into chunks
1 cup vanilla soymilk
1/4 cup 0% Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds (optional)
2 teaspoons agave
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/4 cup your favorite granola
Place all ingredients—except granola—in a blender; process until creamy smooth. Divide between 2 glasses. Top each with a portion of the granola and serve.