Fruits and veggies!
Who doesn’t want to eat more fruits and veggies?? It’s the perpetual New Years Eve resolution- to get healthier, eat better…sound familiar? But how do you make a lifestyle change that really sticks? For my family, the solution was smoothies. But like everything I add to my routine, it needs to be fast, convenient and economical. For starters, I’m not paying $10 for a smoothie at a juice bar or $500 for a VitaMix. I do have a powerful blender that makes great smoothies, but even that isn’t easy enough for me to use regularly. Getting it out of the cabinet, setting it up, pouring into a second container, cleaning…I need something more streamlined (am I seriously this lazy???).
So, after much Amazon research I found the gadget that works best for me- the NutriBullet. Now, I don’t usually go for as-seen-on-TV type purchases. However, this little machine is a worthy investment of money and space if you are serious about incorporating smoothies into your lifestyle. I love this little thing. For one, it’s compact, so it easily fits in a cabinet, or even on the counter for ease of use. Second, it’s incredibly convenient. Basically, you add all of your ingredients in the cup, twist on the top and in 30 seconds- smoothie done. It also takes 30 seconds to clean the blade. I literally just rinse it under warm water with a drop of soap.
When buying the NutriBullet, there are several different “sets”. I got the 12 piece high speed blender/mixer system. It comes with the base, 2 types of blades, a large cup, 2 smaller cups and a few other accessories. For me, that basic set was all we needed and we make smoothies almost daily.
Smoothie vs Juicing
Apparently, this is an area of some contention. Initially, I thought I was on the jucing side of the argument. After a little nutrition research, I changed my stance. Jucing will give you lots of vitamins and minerals. However, the process also strips away all of the fiber, making it heavy on the sugar (albeit natural) without the fiber to help slow down digestion.
A smoothie, on the other hand, retains all of the aspects of the fruits and veggies. Other additional ingredients can be incorporated as well, including flax seed, yogurt, oats, etc. Making smoothies comes with a caveat- it is very easy to add high calorie ingredients. For example, I will sometimes use cocount milk if I want a creamier smoothie, but that is high in fat so it needs to be added in moderation. Also, for sweetness I use 100% pomegranate juice or honey but those are high in sugar, so again, use in moderation.
The Smoothie Formula
To get the most out of my smoothie, I use a basic formula. It consists of the green, the fruit, the liquid and the “extras”. I don’t do any measuring when I make smoothies, because that would take additional effort, and ain’t nobody got time for that.
Here is my basic smoothie making protocol:
- Green: spinach (it’s basically tasteless in a smoothie but full of nutrition), kale, chard, etc. I throw a handful in the bottom of the cup.
- Fruit: frozen or fresh, I usually have a big bag of frozen berries in the freezer, and will also add any expiring fresh fruit from the fridge. This is usually 2 handfuls. Basically, my ratio of green to fruit is roughly 1:2. Berries work well, as do bananas and apples. Frozen mangos or peaches can sometimes give a slight chalky texture, but not enough to deter me.
- Liquid: Coconut water, coconut/cashew/almond/soy milk, a little yogurt- the possibilities are endless. I will sometimes add a little 100% pomegranate juice for sweetness and an antioxidant boost. Regardless of what liquids you use, for the NutriBullet, fill it to the “Max” line.
- Extras: Again, endless possibilities here. Try a handful of ground flax seed for protein, a dollop of almond butter, some chia seeds, etc. It might a little trial and error as well.
For me, this general recipe is fast and convenient, but you can make any combination you like. Go heavier on the greens for a lower calorie but high nutrient smoothie. Add whey powder for even more protein. The internet has thousands of awesome recipes- check out these 50 ideas from the Food Network.
You definitely don’t need a special machine to make delicious smoothies, a blender will do just fine. Once you start, you will love how yummy and convenient it is to add several servings of fruits and veggies to your diet. However, you make them, get creative and enjoy!
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