Guest Post by Alyssa Bauman, Nourished.ca
I love good smoothies, and nothing is easier to make. Not only do they taste good, but there isn’t a more efficient or faster way to pack in the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and superfoods.
Mixing up some nutrient-dense magic at home is pretty easy. But as a mother of three, I’ve also heard my share of complaints. I constantly hear, “It’s too green, too icy, too sweet, too chunky, too thick,” and I get it, no one wants to drink salad. After 10 years married to my beloved blender, the Vitamix – blending, creating and combining, here are my 8 essentials for making the creamiest, tastiest and healthiest concoctions EVER.
1) Use the freshest ingredients possible.
Fresh fruits and vegetables will always taste better than older ones. You can tell when sushi isn’t at its best – the same goes for smoothies. Using fresh ingredients also maximizes the nutrient-rich potential of your smoothies. Try to buy locally whenever possible. If not, stock your freezer with frozen fruit and chopped leafy greens. These are just as good as most of the time they are picked at peak times and flash frozen.
2) Use a restaurant-grade blender.
Unfortunately, the hand-me-down blender from college doesn’t cut it any more. A high performance, multi-speed blender will guarantee a well-blended beverage, and it allows you to use heartier, more delicious ingredients such as coconut oil and almond butter. Thick, well-blended smoothies should taste more like milkshakes – after all, they are for the kids. The Vitamix is my weapon of choice. I use it 3 to 4 times a day and so will you.
3) Experiment with different types of combos.
Some of my favourite recipes are the most unusual of combinations – this makes it more fun! An ever-evolving list of ingredients that may seem suspicious at first, but turn out to be oh-so good can be very rewarding. Blend a mix of greens, hemp or nut milk, organic almond butter or avocado, raw cacao powder, coconut oil, and a dash of cinnamon for a creamy, slightly sweet, and nutrient-dense smoothie that kids love.
4) Liquids first.
Pour water, hemp or nut milk, or coconut water as your base to cover the blades. Fill the middle of the base with your desired fruits, veggies and superfood powders, and then top it off with ice and more liquid. Then blend and enjoy!
5) Use 1 cup of dark leafy greens.
To ensure that you are getting all of the goodness from these God-like leaves, add one cup of greens for each 20 oz. beverage. But if your kids are kid detectives, start with a couple leaves and then build up slowly.
6) Choose your superfoods for nutrition and taste.
I have an entire shelf in my fridge dedicated to superfood superpowers – all of which boast potential health benefits. They add taste and texture to your drinks.
Maca regulates hormones and boosts energy and the libido. I can tell you that it gives me espresso-like intensity, and adds real creaminess (Note: I would skip this for the kids!). Hemp Seeds are the highest and most perfect plant protein, with a slightly nutty consistency. Goji berries provide ultra-high boosts of antioxidants. Camu camu is packed with Vitamin C. Raw cacao powder is every kid’s favourite – it’s loaded with iron, fibre and antioxidants, and the healthy way to add chocolate into the diet. Acai powder is loaded with antioxidants that taste both sweet and savoury. Chia seeds are packed with Omegas and protein. It protects the heart and keeps you full. Master these first, and then play around with Bee Pollen, Chaga mushroom powder and other superfoods.
7) Add healthy fat to rev up your metabolism and create depth and taste.
Choose from raw peanut and almond butter or tahini, avocado or a tablespoon of coconut, or hemp or MCT oil.
8) Spice it up.
Cinnamon keeps blood sugars stable, while cayenne kick-starts your metabolism. Turmeric is always the best anti-inflammatory, but it needs a little black pepper for maximum absorption.
For must-try smoothie recipes, please visit www.nourished.ca.