Summer Smoothies

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When the weather gets too hot to cook, switch your breakfast to a frosty, good-for-you smoothie. It’s also a perfect afternoon snack that’s even good for you!

One of the benefits of smoothies is all the nutrition that you can pack into one. Best of all, without yours kids noticing. Greens may seem like an unexpected addition to your smoothies, but they add many nutrients to your day. Imagine getting your child to actually ask for something that contains kale, chard, or spinach!

The trick to adding greens is add some blueberries to cover up the color and make it purple instead of green. If you match it with red fruits like strawberries , your smoothie will turn an unappetizing color of brown. But, you can still add a few strawberries with the blueberries without that effect. If you leave out the berries altogether you’ll have a green smoothie and that may appeal to some age groups as well. Shrek smoothie anyone?

I like to start with a frozen banana to make the smoothie thick and creamy. Look for ‘over-ripe’ bananas at the supermarket. They are usually not even ready to eat yet, the dark skins just look like they are. But even if you get truly over-ripe ones, they are sweet and ready to freeze. Just peel them and break them into bite sized pieces, then store them in the freezer in zip-lock bags for easy access.

If you are adding greens, you may want to start with a mild tasting green like spinach and then build up to chard and kale. You’ll be able to add in different greens and more of them once they become more accustomed to the taste.

I blend up about 1 – 2 cups greens with 1 cup liquid per serving. You can use milk, juice, or a non-dairy milk like almond, soy, or rice. I like to use unsweetened vanilla almond milk for mine. It adds a great vanilla taste while adding less calories than skim milk. Blending the greens and liquid allows it to puree better. After all, we don’t want anyone finding a chunk of spinach in their smoothie.

Add a half of a frozen banana per smoothie to your blender, and any other fresh or frozen fruit you have on hand. If you use frozen fruit it will be more of a thick, frosty drink, with fresh fruit it will be thinner. You can add ice cubes in with the fresh fruit to make it thicker as well, if you want.

There are so many delicious fresh fruits at the market right now. Buy extra while it’s fresh and cheap, and freeze for later. I do this every year with strawberries and blueberries. Wash and dry them and freeze on a cookie sheet so they stay separated. Once they are frozen solid, transfer to a zip-lock bag made for the freezer. Now they are ready to throw right into your next smoothie!

Websites to get smoothie inspiration from:

Eat Better America
Veg Family
Fitness Magazine
Smoothies Recipes
Eating Well

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