Smoothies come in all colours of the rainbow, all flavours in the world and can incorporate any ingredient under the sun. You can chuck just about any food into a smoothie as long as your blender or mixer can handle the texture. Dark coloured foods like strawberries, kiwifruit, spinach, beetroot, mango give lovely appetizing colours to smoothies.
You can get the pickiest of picky eaters to eat whatever food you want them to. Just disguise it in a brightly coloured, flavour packed smoothie. Smoothies are super super healthy. You can load them with fibre, vitamins, nutrients, anti-oxidants; you name it. You can make them so appealing that your kids will be none the wiser.
It is my firmly held belief that one of the biggest turn offs to a kids apetite is Mommy saying, “It’s good for you.” When you serve up a super healthy smoothie, please restrain yourself. Keep your mouth tightly shut and don’t let the words “It’s good for you” come out, otherwise all your effort will go down the drain. “Bon apetit” or “Enjoy” works better, believe me.
Unless you are a fitness enthusiast or self- flagellator, you will probably not like all leaf or even all vegetable smoothies. It is best to introduce new ingredients, like less flavoursome vegetables or some newly re-discovered seed, by grouping them with proven favourite ingredients with appealing flavours and colours. Slip them in when no one’s looking.
You would be surprised to know the number of things that find their way into a smoothie. Smoothies are so accomodating, they can take up any ingredient and make it their own. Unorthodox ingredients that can be added to a smoothie’s repertoire include tofu, aloe juice, black beans and turmeric.
Smoothies are ideal for non -breakfast people since they can be prepared ahead and taken on the run. Ingredients can be packed in a Ziploc bag the night before- in fact you can do this for the whole week on Sunday evening. Every morning, pop them in a blender and take the resulting drink with you on your commute to work or classes.
Fruit smoothies are a relatively new trend while fruit juice has been around for eons. What makes the smoothie so special? Is it just another way of accentuating the gap between generations or is there some sense behind it?
Fruit juice is an extract of fruit. It takes out the nutrients, calories and vitamins from the fruit and presents them in a quickly consumed and easily absorbed format. Fibre gets left behind together with all its health benefits. The energy from juice is instant, but since there is no fibre or protein, it is short lived. Smoothies, on the other hand, give you all the goodness of juice, with the added benefit of a lot of fibre. Furthermore, other food groups, like cereal, seeds, milk and yoghurt can be added to smoothies.
Smoothies break up the fibre in vegetable, fruit and grains making it much easier to digest and absorb. This makes them far easier on your digestion than salads. People who don’t like to eat salads or find them difficult to digest, can take this quick and easy way out.
Since it is so easy to include all the food groups and add any number of ingredients to smoothies, they can become little meals in themselves. This makes them great for people who tend to skip meals. As meal replacement goes, a smoothie can become a good working lunch. In fact, some smoothie ingredients and a small electric mixer can be a good addition to any office tea trolley or coffee cart.
With all your food blended down into a brightly coloured, strongly flavoured gloop, the benefits of mindful eating and slow chewing are neutralized. For a breakfast person like me who cannot face the day without a proper meal and two cups of tea, smoothies can only be a snack.
As with any new trend, a lot of merchandising has sprung from the smoothie industry. Special smoothie mixers like the Nutri Bullet and the Vitamix are on the market. Traditional blenders and mixers also come with a smoothie setting. Mason Jars, primarily used for smoothies, can be seen everywhere: in cafes, in homes and at work. Equipped with screw top lids and drinking straws, they are super convenient.
Smoothie recipes abound on the internet : the number of recipes being as many as the number of ingredients, which is unlimited. The basic method is to just blend together a compatible set of ingredients with some ice. Just make sure you have
- Some texture
- Some liquid
- Some flavour
Bananas form a good base for most smoothies providing thickness, sweetness, soluble fibre, energy and vitamins. About half a banana is enough for a single serving. Texture can also be added with fruit like pineapple or mango. Cereals like oatmeal, and grains like flaxseed also make your smoothie thick and up the fibre content. Greek yoghurt and nut butter(peanut butter or almond butter) blended into smoothies provides your protein requirement. Berries are also very popular ingredients. Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries give smoothies colour, flavor and unlimited goodness; anti-oxidants, vitamins and fibre have all been packaged into these super-fruits.
Almost any liquid can be added to thin out the consistency of the blended ingredients as required. Beginning with water or milk and going on to soy or almond milk and coconut water, anything can be added to smoothies. Cooled brewed coffee or green tea can be added as can any kind of juice. Although there is a widespread focus on healthy eating these days, some of us just cannot get by without our morning cup of joe. There is hope for us in the shape of many varieties of coffee smoothies.
Surf the web, or skim the bookshelves; there are smoothies for all kinds of nutritional needs. There are anti-oxidant smoothies and anti-inflammatory smoothies. There are smoothies to energise you in anticipation of your work out as well as smoothies that replenish your electrolytes after you have been sweating it out at the gym.
In general, food that is good for you is not particularly appetizing while yummy food is usually calorie packed and not very healthy. Smoothies are this miraculous combination of being as good for you as health food and being as delicious and colourful as candy. So which is your favourite smoothie? I would love to know in the comments section.