As a family we used to be into juicing. Other than the clean-up, it was pretty amazing how fun it can be to put together your own flavour combinations. Not even to mention the nutritional benefits.
Then we decided to invest in a Vitamix. Wow! It has all the benefits of juicing, is easy to clean, and can be used for almost anything. I use it at least twice a day for anything from making sauces, pastes, and chopping vegetables, to smoothies and juices. Smoothies became more popular in our home since they have the added benefit of fibre (which juices lack). When I layer cups of veg and fruit and ice in the blender I look at it and go ‘Wow, look at what I am feeding my daughter!’
It is a good feeling. My toddler loves a good smoothie, and she usually drinks one a day. Sometimes I would even add Vega All-In-One Vanilla powder to give it more oomph.
The best base combination is a mixture of frozen banana, berries, and almond milk or water. You can add nuts, yoghurt, honey, hemp seed, spinach, nut butters, you name it. I like to use water in most of the smoothies that I give her since part of the reason for the smoothies is for her to up her intake of fluids. She usually asks for ‘juice’ when she is thirsty which we rarely have in our home. I would normally give her diluted unsweetened coconut water, almond or rice milk, or smoothies to drink. She is not a big fan of water, although I still try and introduce it and she always has a little sip. I’ve tried infusing tap water with oranges, lemon / lime and cucumber respectively. She doesn’t seem to take to it as much as I would like her to.
In the end, I am grateful that she takes to drinking smoothies so well. It certainly helps her maintain a daily intake of unprocessed, nutritious foods.
A few days ago she asked me for ‘juice’ again. I decided to try something else and asked her to bear with me. So I squeezed out the juice of two oranges, and peeled two medium carrots. I blended these together with a couple of ice cubes and asked her to try it… Unfortunately it wasn’t all that great. It needed some sweetness, which is the very thing I am trying to avoid when it comes to providing her with healthy drinks. So I added an apple. The taste was slightly better, not too bad actually, but still needed something else. Then I added a whole cup of unsweetened frozen blueberries. Voila!
This smoothie has an earthiness to it from the carrot that combines well with the taste of oranges. The bitterness from the citrus is somewhat balanced out with the sugar content of the apple and the berries. Enjoy!
Here are the ingredients again:
- juice of 2 oranges, pulp discarded
- 2 medium carrots, peeled
- 1 large apple, such as ambrosia or fuji
- 1 cup frozen unsweetened blueberries
Blend all these ingredients together with 2/3 cup of water and 4 to 6 ice cubes. Slowly bring your blender to its highest setting and keep it there for 20 seconds, or until everything can easily be consumed through a straw.
Another recent creation was born from the same scenario. Only this time, it was as a result of a breakfast mishap. Essentially, there was just no plan for a Saturday morning breakfast at 5:30 am… and thanks to that I created this fabulously tropical and nutritious drink with an unusual combination of ingredients.
- 1 orange, peeled
- 1 apple cored, cubed
- 1 cup grapes
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach
- 1 medium carrot
- 1/3 cup raw unsalted cashew nuts
- 3 – 5 dried mango strips
- 1 scoop vanilla flavoured protein powder
- 4 ice cubes
- 3/4 cup water
Blend everything together in a powerful blender until completely smooth. This recipe serves 4, so adjust quantities as needed.
It turns out she liked it. It may have been because she was really thirsty, but I still felt validated regardless for my efforts. I’ve learned to just work with what you have at hand. There are some rules you can follow to ensure a perfect smoothie every time:
http://www.nomeatathlete.com/the-perfect-smoothie-formula/ ; The 12 Best Smoothie Ingredients http://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/best-smoothie-ingredients
But where is the fun in trying your own methods and combos? That is the best way to learn what your preferences are when it comes to the creation of a perfect smoothie.
If there is a recipe that you really like, please share below. I would love to try it with my daughter! 🙂