Summer arrived last week; the days are long and the temperature will continue to rise (although the weather here in the Pacific Northwest is still very mild). For me, a fruit smoothie is a wonderful treat on a warm, sunny day. I never do very well in heat above 80 °F and I am easily melted down to a puddle of angst-y rage cursing at the summer’s weather.
However, I find that a cold smoothie is just what I need to cool down body core temperatures and keep my temper in check.
Smoothies are a wonderful tasting drink for the warmer months, although they can be enjoyed in winter as well. They are refreshing after running, hiking or exercising. They make a nutritious in-between meal snack for when your blood sugar is running low. Best of all they are delicious for children and adults alike!
Eating fresh fruit and vegetables is important to a healthy diet. Smoothies are a great way to deliver fresh nutrients. With the modern day’s easy access to fats and sweets, obesity has become a serious cultural problem in America. Another obesity-related problem is malnutrition. Studies, like Americans Do Not Meet Federal Dietary Recommendations, have shown that American diets lack important nutrients. A large majority of the United States population under consumes the recommended amount of fruit. Although I grew up learning the U.S. standard food pyramid, the more recently introduced Healthy Eating Plate more easily translates to our daily lives. Providing a balanced meal for family and friends is simpler if I consider that fruits and vegetables should fill half of our plates. This ratio should also be translated to the snacks we have in-between meals. Smoothies provide nutrients from fruit and yogurt that a bag of Cheetos could never replicate.
Smoothies are easy to make and the varieties are endless. I have listed a basic outline to get you started making smoothies for yourself. It is simple to exchange ingredients with what is available in your refrigerator. To make my own smoothies, I always use a small amount of yogurt and a few ice cubes. The fruit is always determined by what is currently occupying my refrigerator or freezer, either fresh or frozen works well. I like to add a banana because they are a solid backbone to the drink providing a balance of nutrients and taste. Keep in mind some fruits can be tart or under ripe so I may add a little honey to sweeten it up. If the liquid seems closer to a solid than a liquid after blending, a splash of fruit juice (of any kind) will smooth the problem out. I don’t think it is possible to make a smoothie incorrectly as long as it is all chopped up together in a blender.
½ cup yogurt
½ cup rinsed fruit
4 ice cubes
1 tbsp. honey (optional)
¼ cup fruit juice (optional)
In a blender, add all ingredients and secure lid. Blend ingredients until at desired consistency. Pour into cups and enjoy. This recipe serves two people.