Monday, December 17, 2012

How to make the perfect smoothie

Smoothies are blended fruit and ice drinks and make a great breakfast for those on the go as well as a super post workout energy boost.

In addition to fruit, most smoothie drinks will have milk, ice cream or yoghurt as well as a sweetener of some description such as honey, agave syrup, banana, stevia or xylitol.

Over the years smoothies have been promoted as healthy drinks and this can be the case, but realistically a drink that's packed full of fruit (and in turn, sugars) mixed with ice cream and honey isn't going to be that healthy. Still, it's like everything in life, enjoyed in moderation it really isn't going to do you any harm.

If you're looking to make a smoothie drink part of your healthy daily diet then you should ideally look at replacing some of the fruits with green vegetables such as spinach or kale. You should use skimmed milk or an almond or coconut milk in place of the ice cream and use a natural sweetener such as the above mentioned agave or xylitol.

As a meal replacement you should also ensure that your smoothie is made up with a protein and this can be with a protein powder or whey. There are a huge number on the market including flavoured ones, which can help to enhance the overall taste. Peanut butter is a good source of protein too and tastes delicious with banana and honey.

If you're having your smoothie as your breakfast, you could add a handful of no-added-sugar muesli or granola to help keep you feeling fuller for longer. Look out in the supermarkets for Low GL cereals, these will help control blood sugar levels and help to keep hunger cravings at bay.

Fruit used in smoothies can be fresh or frozen which is a real bonus. Infact, frozen fruits are a great way of getting a nice ice cold drink, are often more cost effective than their fresh counterparts and have the benefit of being able to be kept for longer without perishing.

When you're ready to have a go at blending your own concoction all you need to do is add your chosen fruits to your blender along with a handful of ice and your milk or milk substitute. If you're adding a protein powder, pop a scoop of that in too and blitz until you have a smooth consistency.

Pour into a glass and decorate if you desire. If you want to transport your drink to work or to the gym, decant it into a bottle but try and refrigerate it or consume it as soon as you can.

Great fruits for smoothies:

Frozen or fresh berries such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries. Mangoes, pomegranates, bananas, apples, pears, kiwis, coconut, oranges, watermelon, pineapple and avocados are all great options too.

Milk substitutes:

Whilst milk is a popular choice, you can try experimenting with soya milk, yoghurt (natural or Greek is best where you can), nut milks such as almond or coconut, tea, fruit juice (careful about quantities), ice cream, frozen yoghurt and even flavoured waters as an alternative.

This article was contributed by Range Cookers.

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