Start with a Basic Smoothie and Then Customize

Basic Smoothie Recipe and Making Tips
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This basic smoothie recipe has a helpful formula for all kinds of smoothies, including fruit smoothies, vegetable smoothies, or a combination of the two. Use this recipe (or ratio balance) as a starting point and then you can branch out to make complicated smoothies or smoothies kids love.

The basic smoothie formula is:

  • 2-3 parts fruit or vegetables (2-3 cups)
  • 1 to 1-1/2 parts liquid (1 to 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 part yogurt or another thickener (1/2 cup)

Fruit or Vegetable Options for Making Smoothies

Frozen fruit and vegetables are great for smoothies. They give the smoothies a frosty, milkshake-like texture that is pleasing to the kids and adults. Frozen fruit, especially big fruits like strawberries, can be tough to puree in a regular blender. If you don't have a high-speed blender, such as a Vitamix or Blendtec, you might want to make your smoothies with fresh fruits and vegetables. You can add ice to make the smoothie frosty, but be aware that these smoothies tend to be a bit more watery.

Another alternative is just to make your smoothies in a food processor. Most food processors can crush the frozen fruit as well as a smoothie blender, it's just not as easy to pour the smoothie out of a food processor.

Deciding Which Fruits and Vegetables

What types of fruit can you add to your smoothies? Anything you can imagine! Strawberries, blueberries, carrots, cucumber, apples, ginger, raspberries, peaches, grapes, bananas, oranges...you're only limited to your imagination. If you can't buy the fruit already frozen, simply wash it and cut it into pieces, then place it on a baking sheet that has been lined with waxed paper. Freeze for 30 minutes, then transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag. Your frozen fruit will be ready to use whenever you like.

The Liquid Component

For the liquid component of your smoothies, you can use any type of juice or milk. Some options are all-natural, no-sugar-added juices or milk, including whole, skim, or low-fat milk, coconut milk, rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, etc. You can even make smoothies with coffee, though that is not recommended for the kids!

The Thickening Agent

An all-natural sweetened or unsweetened yogurt is a good thickener for smoothies. Either regular, Greek, or soy yogurt works well. You can even use coconut milk yogurt. If using a sweetened yogurt, such as vanilla yogurt or another flavor, you probably don't want to add any sweetener to the smoothie since the combination of the sugars from the fruit, juice, and yogurt is usually sweet enough. But if you are using plain yogurt, you might add honey, maple syrup, or even a teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella) to add sweetness to the smoothie.

How to Make Smoothies More Interesting

You don't have to stick to the basic smoothie recipe for all of your smoothies. There are lots of ways to jazz up smoothies. Consider adding nuts, honey, flaxseeds, coconut, oatmeal, dried fruits, chocolate chips, cookies, and spices to make your smoothies more interesting. For example, if you want to make a smoothie taste like a certain dessert, such as pumpkin smoothies, you might add graham crackers and cinnamon.