The art of smoothie-making

by Khushboo on July 10, 2013

If ever it felt like summer, that time would be now!  London is currently experiencing a major heat wave and it sure is HAWT!  It is driving my fro yo expenditure through the roof, but I’m loving it.  Although I have never been one of those girls who loses her appetite completely in the heat, the idea of eating cooked food has hardly appealed this past week.  I’ve been going through tubs of Greek yogurt like it’s my job and loading up on salads.

sushi

Abokado

I’m usually more a fan of eating my meals versus drinking them, but smoothies are starting to sound real good too.  To ensure they’re filling enough to be considered a meal and don’t leave me wanting to chew my arm off within an hour of finishing, I try to approach smoothies the same way I would a meal i.e. Balance them out with carbs, protein & healthy fats:

Carbs:

Along with fruit like bananas or berries, I sometimes mix in a few tablespoons of oats.   They add a really nice doughy texture & flavor, and overall help bulk out the smoothie without weighing me down.  Alternatively even a piece of wholegrain toast on the side does the trick.

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Protein:

You know it, I know it: adding a lean source of protein is a surefire way to keep you fuller for longer.

  • Although cow/soy milk & yogurt are good sources, I prefer to go one step further & use Greek yogurt.  Since flavored varieties of yogurt tend to be loaded with crazy amounts of sugar, I stick with the plain varieties and sweeten it with agave or honey….or just rely on the fruits for natural sweetness.
  • Cottage cheese: Crinkle your nose up all your want but don’t knock it till you try it.  Once blended, it gives somewhat of a cheesecake flavor…”somewhat” being the operational word ;).

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  • Protein powders, especially if you’re in a pinch or lactose-intolerant.

Alternatively you could eat a couple of boiled eggs alongside your smoothie.

Healthy Fats:

Aside from the nutrition & satiety benefits of healthy fats, they just make smoothies taste THAT much better.  Some of my favorites are:

  • Ground flax
  • Chia seeds
  • Natural nut butters  

I’ve heard avocado tastes great in smoothies but I’m yet to try it out.  If you’re trying to keep your calories in check, be cautious of how much you use as these tend to add up the fastest.

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Others:

  • For extra flavor, try adding vanilla essence or a tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • For a nutritional boost, add in a handful or 2 of spinach
  • For a creamy texture, skip the ice and use frozen fruit instead.  When you’re freezing bananas don’t make the same rookie mistake I initially did and freeze them with the skin on.  Wait for the banana(s) to ripen (the blacker and uglier, the better) and then peel them before sticking them in the freezer.  If you want to streamline your morning even further, peel, chop and add the banana slices to a Ziploc bag and then freeze.

smoothie

Some of my favorite combos:

  • Pina colada: frozen banana with ½ cup pineapple, soy milk, flax
  • Blueberry cheesecake: blueberries with cottage cheese, milk, agave, vanilla extract, and oats
  • PB & banana: Milk, yogurt, 1 frozen banana, 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • Banana & cantaloupe: Milk, yogurt, 1 frozen banana, ½ cup cantaloupe, ground flax
  • Strawberries & banana: 1 frozen banana with strawberries, Greek yogurt, a bit of milk to thin it out and ground flax

 What are your favorite smoothie mix-ins and/or combinations?

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{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

Lucie@FitSwissChick July 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I LOVE Cottage Cheese in Smoothies, it’s SO good! Especially when you whip it – it tastes like a decadent dessert.
I put cinnamon into all my smoothies and avocado too, you should try it, it’s so delicious and creamy!
I always try to sneak in some veggies and the best is to go with sweet ones like spinach (as you said), beet or carrots. So good.

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:20 pm

I’ve never tried whipped cottage cheese- do you just blend it?

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Lucie@FitSwissChick July 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Exactly! You can add a little almond milk, xanthan gum, stevia and cacao powder and I swear it tastes like Chocolate Mousse!

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:26 pm

YUM! I will have to give this a shot 🙂

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Sophia July 10, 2013 at 2:22 pm

So creative! I am not much of a smoothie aficionado (like you ;)) But I love banana, runny plain yogurt (homemade) and honey together with creamy raw milk, I also love the same combo with blueberries or strawberries (added creamy vanilla gelato is what I get at cafes around town- extra delicous) sounds like you are having so much fun Khushboo 🙂

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Regardless of the consistency, there’s definitely something more appealing about consuming a meal through a spoon rather than a straw 😀

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Nikhita July 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

I’ve never been a smoothie person – love eating way more than chewing! In NYC, this place – juicegeneration.com – has the best fresh juices, and add protein powder in their smoothies though!

Your blueberry cheesecake smoothie sounds yum though, and of course peanut butter and banana is the best combo – I do that with my overnight oats 🙂

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Peanut butter & banana overnight oats are the best…even more so with some cinnamon thrown in!!

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Nikhita July 10, 2013 at 3:25 pm

chewing more than sipping, oops* 🙂

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dixya@food, pleasure, and health July 10, 2013 at 4:04 pm

i use a lot of frozen fruits and still freeze bananas with skin on and I go through the process of thawing them – dumb I know I should really peel it off and freeze them separately..nut butters and spinach makes into my smoothie pretty often. I have tried avocado and it makes smoothie – smooth I love it. I have yet to try cottage cheese though.

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:22 pm

Ah for your own sake, please peel the bananas…I feel like I lose so much of it when trying to peel it frozen!

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DK July 10, 2013 at 4:43 pm

These recipes are AMAZING !!! I can’t wait to try out pina colada !

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Perhaps we can make some during nacho night 🙂

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Alex @ therunwithin July 10, 2013 at 5:20 pm

my problem with smoothies is always how to make them less ice-y… my blender sucks apparently haha

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Try frozen fruit, especially bananas- it should add a creamy texture!…or add more yogurt!

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Chelsea @ Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen July 10, 2013 at 5:23 pm

This is such a great guide here! I don’t really like drinking my meals either, so I just have smoothies as snacks. I’m sure with your tips here though I’d be able to make a really filling smoothie! My favourite kind is a strawberry banana smoothie made with milk and Greek yogurt.

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

Smoothies for a snack are much more appealing all year round- especially when time is short!

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Alex@Veggin' Out July 10, 2013 at 6:41 pm

This is such a cool post! I definitely prefer to eat my meals rather than drink them, but smoothies still taste amazing! I love how you show how to make a smoothie nutritious and filling. Sometimes I end up adding like ten different ingredients to get my smoothies checked off in each of the different “nutrition groups.”
I used to make this smoothie with almond butter, mango, coconut, and a bunch of other stuff. It was SO good, but unfortunately I don’t remember all that was in it 🙁

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:24 pm

That combination sounds SO tropical and refreshing 🙂

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Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 10, 2013 at 7:19 pm

I’ve been doing smoothies for breakfast a lot lately! After the gym + the crazy heat means that a frozen breakfast is ideal. I like to do a chocolate-banana version (unsweetened chocolate almond milk + frozen banana) with a bit of coconut flour and xanthan gum (for thickness) and a scoop of protein powder. I always had cereal on top, because I feel like I need a bit of crunch or I don’t feel like I’ve had a real meal!

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Khushboo July 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I need to look out for unsweetened chocolate milk- that combo sounds amazing 🙂

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Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness July 10, 2013 at 7:51 pm

I’ve heard great things about avocados in smoothies too, I’ve been meaning to try that! and i love adding frozen fruit to mix, it almost always comes out so good. thanks for listing some recipes at the bottom, i want to try them all. especially that banana and cantaloupe one, i bet that one is delicious!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 2:57 am

Please give the banana & Cantaloupe combo a try- it was actually a result of me having no other fruit at home but it turned out to be one of my favorite combos :)!

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Brittany July 10, 2013 at 8:50 pm

As an experienced smoothie maker once managing a smoothie shop, I must say your smoothie ingredient skills are SPOT ON! HAHA ok I sound so lame, but really I love all the things you add in to make these smoothies more than just fruit and ice!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 2:58 am

Saaaa-weet…glad I got the smoothie connoisseur’s stamp of approval 😉

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Katy July 11, 2013 at 1:32 am

When I make smoothies, I just throw in anything and everything I have. I almost always use frozen fruits (especially bananas) and protein powders… and parsely or spinach. Can’t forget the green!!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 2:59 am

Ooh parsley in smoothies sounds interesting- does it alter the flavor hugely?

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Honey, What's Cooking July 11, 2013 at 2:19 am

Great post K. Love the blueberry cheesecake one, i gotta try it, so I’ll be adding cottage cheese to my list.
I haven’t tried avocado in smoothies either, but I want to. I heard it’s good.

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 3:01 am

I think you’ll love the cheesecake one- it’s YUM 🙂

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kym July 11, 2013 at 4:56 am

banana + something chocolatey would definitely have to be my fave combo! at first when i saw cottage cheese, i thought… “eww!” but then you said cheesecake…. that changes things. haha!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Hahah crumble over some graham crackers if you want to go all out 😉

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P July 11, 2013 at 5:18 am

I prefer having solid food meals over smoothies, since smoothies always make me super hungry. But you have a really nice guide here on how to help balance your smoothie so it’s actually filling :D!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Thanks, P!

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Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl July 11, 2013 at 6:06 am

My favorite smoothie combo is definitely pb & j!!

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Good taste 😉

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Meghan@Clean Eat Fast Feets July 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

I’m a basic smoothie girl: lots of fruit, sometimes my greens and that’s about it. It’s also usually my first breakfast and granola with yogurt is my second breakfast. Fruit alone doesn’t cut it for a meal, and you know how much I love fruit.

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

You’re absolutely right…even if it’s a huge fruit platter, it still feels like something is lacking!

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Tara @ Sweat like a Pig July 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

Yum!! I haven’t had a smoothie in about 18 months…. I don’t have a blender, clearly. Now I’m desperately craving a blueberry cheesecake smoothie 😀

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Khushboo July 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm

Haha if only smoothie kept well- I’d bring you one when we met 🙂

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Lisa July 11, 2013 at 7:29 pm

I love adding oats to my smoothies – makes for a nice thickener and some great carbs too.
Smoothies for Dinner have kind of become my obsession since it’s pretty hot over here as well.
My favorite combo as of late it frozen cherries, protein, chia and hemp seeds, some almonds butter, and avocado for extra creaminess. So tasty.

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Khushboo July 12, 2013 at 4:17 pm

That sounds like one heck of a creamy smoothie- yum!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien July 11, 2013 at 10:54 pm

I have to try cantaloupe in my smoothie–that sounds so fab. And I bet adding cottage cheese gives it a really authentic cheesecake flavor! My all time favorite combo is frozen banana, almond butter, loads of cinnamon, flax and vanilla almond milk. It’s seriously heaven in my mouth.

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Khushboo July 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Banana & nut butter in liquid form= heavenly 🙂

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