5 Great Smoothie Shortcuts
Tess Masters, also known as The Blender Girl, is back with more tips on how to create the perfect berry smoothie for your active morning routine.
Smoothies are the perfect quick easy breakfast for families on the go. With very little time, and some nutrient-dense ingredients (I love fresh berries) smoothies can be a healthy meal solution. Having just released my second book, The Blender Girl Smoothies, I've spent a lot of time developing and testing hundreds of smoothies. During this time I've discovered some tricks to make smoothies even faster, and have some great tips to help you create your own smoothies at home that look gorgeous, taste delicious, and are also loaded with nutrition.
1. Freeze Your Fruit
I like to buy fresh fruit, especially during peak periods, and then freeze it myself for maximum freshness. This also saves money. Fresh, ripe seasonal fruit adds wonderful flavor. Freezing high quality fruit adds the chill factor and means you don't have to use plain water ice which can dilute flavors.
2. Add Vegetables
If you have a picky eater in your family and struggle to include enough fruits and vegetables into the routine, smoothies are a great way to cram in a lot of produce in a fun and tasty way.
Our taste buds are temperature-sensitive so we can't taste the full dimension of flavors at extreme temperatures. Get a smoothie really cold, and you can hide all kinds of fruits and vegetables!
One great tip I share with moms and dads is to have freshly cooked veggies and frozen raw veggies on hand.
- ¼ cup to 1 cup of cooked carrots, sweet potato, squash or cauliflower work really well in smoothies. In fact, in many cases, the kids won't even know they're drinking their vegetables!
- ¼ cup to ½ cup of frozen raw cauliflower or broccoli also goes into most blends undetected.
- 1 cup of mild leafy greens like spinach or romaine fortify most blends without adding a strong earthy flavor. Kale also goes unnoticed when combined with sweet fruits. With more assertive greens like chard, collards, beet greens, arugula, and dandelion greens, add in small amounts (I start with ¼ cup) and add to taste.
3. Soak Ingredients for the Smoothes Textures
Soaking raw nuts, seeds and whole grains neutralizes enzyme inhibitors and unlocks the food's full nutrient potential, which makes the proteins more available and activates live enzymes. Soaking these ingredients softens them to make them more pulverizable, which helps you achieve a creamy textured smoothie with any kind of blender.
I recommend soaking foods at room temperature in a glass or ceramic container, and covering the jar or bowl with a clean breathable cloth or kitchen towel. Different foods require different soak times. But, on average, it is anywhere from 4 to 12 hours. Refer to The Blender Girl cookbook for a full chart or look online for soak times.
I usually soak using 1 part food to 2 parts room temperature water. Then add ½ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt (or other high quality salt) and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar per quart of water. Always discard the soaking liquid and rinse the food thoroughly before using.
To soak the quick way for smoothies, boil some water, and pour it over the food and allow it to soak for about 10 minutes. This quick-soak will not have any nutritional benefit, but will help get a smooth texture. With dates, sun-dried tomatoes, and other fibrous ingredients, soak for about 30 minutes to soften for the best results in smoothies.
4. Prep and Pre-Measure Ahead of Time
To save time on busy mornings, you can prepare your ingredients the night before. Peel and cut fruits and vegetables and place in containers or zip-lock bags. Measure and store any dry ingredients like spices, superfoods, and protein powders together in a separate container. Then, throw it all into the blender in the morning to make your smoothie in miunutes.
5. Get the Kids Involved
Smoothies are the ultimate healthy fast food - and it is almost impossible to mess them up. You can always rescue a seemingly undrinkable concoction with some fruit, spices, sweetener, or chocolate.
The forgiving nature of smoothies makes them a great way for children to gain confidence in the kitchen, and encourages them to make healthy food choices. Give your kids some ingredient options to inspire them to get creative and dream up their own blends. Discovering new flavor combos and coming up with fun names for your creations is always a fun family activity that gets everybody excited about healthy food. The flavor combinations possible with smoothies is literally endless!
Here's a great back-to-school recipe from my new smoothies book. I call it the 'Omega Overture' as it's packed with ingredients for ultimate brain power! Add some spinach or loosely packed chard for an added boost of nutrition.
Check out Tess' new book 'The Blender Girl Smoothies' for more smoothie inspiration!