Smoothies are both delicious and nutritious, and with new variations that are continually being introduced, you have more options than ever before for creating a refreshing and healthy drink. Smoothies today are becoming more and more popular as meal alternatives, snacks, pick-me-ups, and additions to a regular breakfast, lunch, or even dinner menu. Learn about some of the best new delicious variations on your typical smoothie recipes and try out these great add-ins at home with your blender. Smoothies are also a great family-friendly project that you can involve the whole family in experimenting with.
Green smoothies are so-named because in addition to the usual fruits, they often contain one or more green vegetables for a great burst of antioxidants, calcium, vitamins and minerals to keep your heart healthy and your blood sugar in balance. What is often most surprising for new green smoothie converts is how tasty they really are, and how you won't even be able to taste the green ingredients amidst the sweetness of the fruits and/or fruit juices. With a green smoothie you can be quite creative, including wheat grass juice, spinach, kale, avocado, lettuce, celery, cucumber, chard, beet greens, and even green algae and seaweed powder from a local health food store. One great standard recipe that you can use and adapt as your refrigerator or tastes dictate is as follows. Combine two cups of distilled or filtered water, one banana, one orange, one lemon, one apple, a chunk of ginger to taste, a squeeze of lemon, and one-half head of lettuce, kale, spinach, beet greens, or swiss chard. You can also add a half of avocado for some good fat if you are making this smoothie as a meal replacement.
Tomato smoothies are technically still fruit smoothies, even though tomatoes are more often lumped in with the vegetables. Tomatoes are actually fruits and they have lots of healthy properties including antioxidants that aid in cancer prevention. If you love Bloody Mary mix or V-8 and other tomato juice products, or you prefer tangy and salty snacks to sweet, then a tomato smoothie is a new variation that will be just up your taste bud alley. You can combine tomatoes with lots of other fruits and vegetables to customize your smoothie to your liking, and add seasoning as needed to keep your smoothie tame or make it as zesty as you desire. Here is a great variation on a typical fruit smoothie recipe that you can use to make a tomato smoothie instead. Include one medium to large tomato, one-half to one cup of tomato juice, one carrot, one large stalk of celery, two teaspoons of lemon juice, one-half teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, dash of salt, and half a dozen ice cubes together into your blender. You can also add fresh cilantro or onion powder, or a small clove of fresh garlic as you prefer. Garnish with a celery stalk or fresh cilantro and squeeze a dash of lemon juice over the finished smoothie before you serve it.
While you may look at the word chocolate and automatically assume that a smoothie that contains chocolate cannot possibly be a healthy smoothie, you will find that this is often not the case. Chocolate in and of itself, especially dark chocolate with a high cocoa ratio, has great antioxidant and cancer fighting properties, and a small amount daily can be beneficial to your health. While technically a chocolate smoothie may be classified as a dessert smoothie, when you look at the ingredients you will see how healthy these great-tasting smoothie variations actually are. Here is a great chocolate smoothie variation that you can use and tailor to your own personal smoothie tastes. Take one-quarter of regular milk (non-fat or low-fat) or coconut, rice, or soy milk, three-quarters cup of distilled or filtered water, one-quarter of avocado, one tablespoon of pure cacao powder, five dates (pitted and sliced), one-third cup nut meats (pecans, cashews, almonds, or other nuts), and natural sweetener (stevia or raw cane sugar) to taste. You can also add fun variations like uncooked oatmeal, a dash of cayenne pepper, vanilla, banana, berries (strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry), or green leafy vegetables (cabbage, kale, spinach, lettuce, beet greens, swiss chard) or use carob powder in place of cacao powder if you are unable to eat chocolate. With chocolate smoothies you can even get your kids involved and teach them that great tasting food can also be very healthy and good for them.