How to Build the Perfect Recovery Smoothie
By Carly Guggemos
How To Build The Perfect Smoothie For All Occasions
I know, I know, you are probably thinking just toss some fruit, ice, milk or juice in a blender, push start and voila - a good-for-you breakfast on the go, lunch or a snack. You can drink a smoothie with no judgments even for dessert (yes, you can totally add in cocoa powder to your smoothies)! While you are correct that this is grounds for a good smoothie, we can pack more nutrition into your day and make that smoothie do more for you, your health, and recovery.
While making a smoothie can be a creative process in which pretty much anything goes, there is some rhyme and reason to it. There are some tricks of the smoothie-making trade to make sure you’re sipping on the tastiest, creamiest, healthiest, most refreshing smoothie. And it all comes down to ingredients, making sure you have the right balance and the right order. Have you ever added all your smoothie ingredients to a blender only to press start and nothing happens except for an awfully loud noise indicating your blender is not happy? Yep, we’ve all been there (the blender struggle is real). Not to worry, those blender woes can be remedied by a simple instructions on how to build the perfect smoothie.
Follow this road map for healthy and delicious sips in minutes:
Let it flow: Adding liquid first makes things easier on your blender and you’ll find your ingredients blend more efficiently. Try milk, kefir, coconut milk, or almond milk for a creamier consistency. Use coconut water, herbal or green tea, iced coffee, juice, or water for a refreshing twist. Typically ½ - 1 cup liquid for 2 cups of ingredients is a good starting point. Remember, you can always add more liquid later but you can’t remove it once it’s blended in.
Hail the Hard Stuff (produce): Think frozen fruits like wild blueberries, banana, strawberries, mango, cherries, and pineapple. You can also add in vegetables such as carrots. This is all the stuff your blender is going to work extra hard on. Usually anywhere from ½ - 1 ½ cups. You want to position these close to the bottom so they can easily come in contact with the blade.
Sprinkles Come Next: No, not rainbow sprinkles. But the sprinkles that add flavor and nutrition boosts to your smoothie. This is where you add in nuts, seeds (chia, hemp, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin), protein powders, sweeteners (honey, pure maple syrup), spices (cinnamon, cocoa), extracts (vanilla, almond, mint), zests, etc. This way they’ll blend seamlessly with the liquid and the rest of your beverage.
Be a Softie: After your sprinkles come your soft foods. Now it’s time to embrace your inner softie and add your softer, fresh fruits and vegetables. Like avocado, melon, cucumber, and smashed pumpkin or any fresh produce. Don’t forget to add your greens; leafy greens like kale, chard, spinach, or arugula for a one-two nutritional punch. Booya!
Crazy for Creamy: In my opinion, there’s nothing better than a creamy, rich tasting smoothie. Side by side with your soft produce, add in any creamy ingredients that will impart a thicker texture to your drink. Not sure what add-ins create creamy? Try avocados, Greek yogurt, kefir, canned coconut milk, silken tofu, nuts and nut butters, bananas and oatmeal.
Ice, Ice, Baby: Last but not least, top it off with a little ice, if needed. I only add ice if I’m using fresh fruits and not frozen. This is one of the reasons why I love using frozen fruit. They are the perfect smoothie ingredient to keep your smoothies cold. If you use frozen fruits and your smoothie still isn’t cold enough for your liking, you can always add ice after you blend all the ingredients together.
Blend Away, My Friend: Start your blender on the lowest setting and wait until those big pieces of frozen produce start to break up before you gradually increase to the highest speed. This will help your blender be more efficiently and will prevent your blender from making those horrid noises.
A few pointers on powering up your beverage:
Think whey or plant based: Whey protein and plant-based powder dissolve well and lends a creamy texture. Plus, it's a complete protein—that is, it contains all nine essential amino acids. For both, choose organic options to stay clear of unwanted ingredients like growth hormone rBGH.
Watch out for sugar: Look for the lowest-sugar options you can find (there are several with as little as 1 to 2 grams per serving). Add your own sweetener as needed. Also, be sure there are no artificial sweeteners in the ingredients list.