An Extensive Guide to Smoothie Making
March 10, 2023
Life as a university student has definitely proven to be very different to that of a highschooler. Everything is more intense: you have less time, money and freedom due to a heavier workload and increased number of responsibilities, so saving time and money where you can is a must. One way I’ve found I can make more efficient use of both is by switching a meal for a smoothie. I’ve been a big smoothie fan since a young age, but when my parents got me a nutribullet for christmas one year, my life has never been the same. Smoothies are super customizable with endless possibilities to tickle your tastebuds. There is nothing more satisfying or refreshing than a fruity drink on a hot summer day, and as if it couldn’t get any better, they are a great way to sneak some healthy foods into your diet without having to scarf down buckets of chicken, rice and broccoli. So without further ado, here is my comprehensive guide to smoothie making.
One of the biggest benefits to smoothies is you can tailor them to your nutritional needs. A smoothie is only as healthy as the ingredients you put in it, so avoid using things like sugar or ingredients with artificial sweeteners. If you pick your ingredients right there should be no need for any sugars in the first place. Like I previously said, you can customise your smoothie to meet your needs and to hit your health goals. You can use fruits and veg to enhance your vitamin and mineral intake. Just a couple examples include strawberries and oranges for vitamin C, peaches for Vitamin A, spinach for iron, and so on. If you are a gym rat and are obsessed with packing as much protein into every meal, try using dairy products like milk, yoghurt or even whey protein powder. You can even get some omega 3s with ingredients like flax seed. The possibilities are truly endless.
You can also choose specific ingredients to either increase or decrease your calorie intake. Coming back to spinach, it is a very low calorie option that will keep you full and stave off hunger, while packing a nutritious punch. On the other hand things like peanut butter and protein powders will give you a caloric boost. Speaking of calories, there are theories that drinking smoothies leads to individuals being less satiated versus if they ate the ingredients whole, which is said to lead to overeating. Many studies have shown that perceived portion sizes have been more closely linked to being satisfied after a meal.
There is also another theory that claims that blending your fruits will destroy some of the fibres in the fruit and veg, and will not give you the same nutritional value as if you ate it. I’ve heard this theory several times but after some research I have not really been able to find proof outside of Reddit arguments and self proclaimed nutritionists on Quora, so to me this is very much still a theory. As always, do your own research and come to your own conclusions, but if I had to give an opinion, I wouldn’t worry about it. Fruit is fruit and even if you are missing out on some fibre you still get all of the same vitamins and minerals.
It is in all of our best interests to save money, so here are a couple tips I’ve found that help.
1. Buy Frozen Fruits
Frozen fruits are often cheaper than their fresh counterparts, but it’s always better to double check before you check out. This has also turned out to be helpful because I am a forgetful person. Sometimes I’ll buy a bunch of strawberries or blueberries and they will go bad before I can go through them all. Having frozen fruit will give it a longer shelf life, meaning it is no big deal if you do not get to your fruits or veggies right away.
2. Freeze expiring ingredients
If you do notice you have a bundle of bananas or blueberries that are towards the end of their life, just chuck them in the freezer. This is also a great way to reduce food waste; saving you some cold hard cash
3. Check out your flyers
You know you are old when you get excited to see this week’s sales at the grocery store, and sadly it seems at the young age of 19, I am ancient. I really shouldn’t have to explain to you what a flyer is, but essentially it tells you what’s on sale. These are great for planning your shopping trips so you can get in, get out and get on with your day. You can also look out for more luxurious items you may otherwise be unable to afford. On the other hand, the best time to try out a new ingredient is when it is on sale. This way if your experimental smoothie does not turn out to be as great as you would have thought, you do not have to feel as bad about wasting your money.
So now it’s time for what you came here for, it’s time for my favourite smoothies. First of all, let me lay down some ground rules.
1. INCLUDE SOMETHING FROZEN: there is nothing worse than a warm smoothie, so if you don’t include frozen fruits, at least drop a couple ice cubes in that thing
2. DON’T GET CUTE: Somethings are best left simple, don’t get too fancy, keep the ingredients to a minimum, generally ill keep it to 2-3 fruits, 2 liquids MAX, and maybe one or two minor ingredients for nutritional or flavouring purposes
3. NO ADDED SUGAR: the point of this is to make a tasty drink without it being filled with garbage like the store made smoothies you can buy. Let the real ingredients do the talking
Now that that’s over and done with, let’s get into some recipes.
Strawberry Banana Smoothie
This one is a no brainer honestly. The mix of the bitter frozen strawberries with the sweetness of the banana is enough for me as is, but if you want to spice it up, you can do so. Add peanut butter to mimic everyone’s favourite childhood snack, the PB&J. you could add some orange juice to give it a little sweet tang, or if you are trying to pack on the muscle, add some chocolate protein powder. Everything’s better with chocolate. Fill it up with milk, blend and enjoy your concoction
Banana, Spinach and Peanut Butter
Like I said the banana is great for a naturally sweet smoothie. Throw in a handful of spinach to get that Iron and a spoon of peanut butter for some protein. If your bananas are not frozen throw a couple ice cubes in that sucker to cool it down and then all you have to do is blend. I also sometimes like to throw in some flax seeds to up my fibre intake and take care of my gut health. The flavour of the peanut butter covers it up super well also. Don’t let the browny-green colour fool you, it is delicious and packed with nutrients. Overall a great way to start the day
This may be my most experimental recipe. Start with frozen blueberries and mango. I like to use yoghurt to smooth out the texture, I prefer the flavoured stuff but I won’t judge if you go with plain greek yoghurt. Fill it up with milk, and maybe add a drizzle of honey if you have a sweet tooth. Blend it up and enjoy. Sometimes if you see the frozen berry mixes at the grocery store I will use them instead of the blueberries to keep it fresh. Berry mixes are almost a cheat code for smoothie making.
Well now you have learned all there is to know about the craft of smoothie making, so dust off your blender, get the milk out and start blending.