Summertime Smoothies!

As temperatures warm up, smoothies are a refreshing way to incorporate antioxidant-rich fruit and even vegetables in your diet without heating up the kitchen!

 

Benefits of Smoothies:

 

  • Health in a glass! – Loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, smoothies can help you meet your nutritional needs. Did you know that less than 10% of Americans reach the recommended intake of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1 ½ to 2 cups of fruit per day? Smoothies are a delicious way to add these nutrient-packed foods.
  • Fights disease – Antioxidants, phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals in fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices can strengthen the immune system, boost cognitive function, and promote gastrointestinal (GI) and heart health. Eating whole foods as opposed to fast foods high in calories, saturated fat and sugar can also help control weight and blood sugar levels.
  • Hydrating – Most people don’t drink enough fluid, which can lead to feelings of fatigue. Smoothies are an easy way to increase your intake of fluid and foods with a high-water content.
  • Quick and Easy – Smoothies don’t need to be complicated! Save time by making smoothie packs to keep in the freezer. Freeze individual portions of fruit and vegetables in a container. When ready for a smoothie, just place the ingredients in a blender along with your liquid of choice. Blend and you’re done!
  • Affordable – Buy fruits and vegetables in season or frozen fruits and vegetables on sale. Making your own smoothies at home is much less expensive than commercially prepared smoothies!

 

Blueberry Bliss

photo of Blueberry Bliss Smoothie in a glass

Blueberries pack lots of flavor and nutrition in this simple smoothie. For a change of pace, use less liquid to create a smoothie bowl. Thicker than regular smoothies, smoothie bowls can be capped with a variety of toppings and eaten with a spoon.

Ingredients:

1 cup blueberries, frozen

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1 cup milk

Optional toppings: toasted coconut, sliced almonds or ground flaxseed

 

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 

Watermelon Mint Julep

Serves 2

photo of watermelon smoothie in mint julep cup

Sweet and hydrating watermelon is a perfect ingredient for an invigorating smoothie. The combination of strawberries and watermelon provide a double dose of vitamin C. If you have time, freeze the watermelon and strawberries for a slushy texture.

Ingredients:

2 cups watermelon, fresh or frozen

1 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup coconut water

1 tsp honey

1 tsp mint, chopped

Pinch of lime zest

 

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish with additional mint leaves if desired.

 

Triple Berry

Serves 2

photo of triple berry smoothie in glass with two straws

Look for frozen mixed berries and stock up when they are on sale for use in smoothies. The dark-colored berries disguise the spinach in case you have a non-vegetable eater in the house!

Ingredients:

2 cups mixed berries (blueberries, raspberries and blackberries), fresh or frozen

1 cup spinach (about a handful)

1 cup lowfat Greek yogurt

1 cup almond milk

1 tsp honey

Optional: add oats to make this a complete meal-replacement smoothie

 

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

 

Peach Mango

peach mango smoothie in glass topped with chia seeds

This smoothie is light and refreshing – a perfect grab and go breakfast. It is similar to a popular Indian drink called mango lassi. Buttermilk can substitute for the almond milk for a slight tang and healthy dose of probiotics.

Ingredients:

½ cup peaches (about 1 small), fresh or frozen

½ cup mango chunks, frozen

1 cup almond milk (or buttermilk)

½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt

 

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

Optional: top with chia seeds for an antioxidant boost!

 

Pineapple Ginger Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

The flavor of warm, spicy ginger shines through in this smoothie. Ginger may relieve nausea and can even help soothe sore muscles after a tough workout.

Ingredients:

1 cup pineapple chunks (fresh, canned in juice (drained), or frozen, if desired)

1 banana, frozen if desired

1 cup loosely packed fresh spinach

1 tsp ginger, crushed or grated

1 tsp chia seeds

½ cup almond milk, unsweetened or vanilla-flavored unsweetened

½ cup water

 

Combine all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until smooth.

Chia seeds thicken and swell by absorbing the liquid in anything they are incorporated into – if you don’t drink this smoothie right away it will thicken to pudding texture. Still delicious though!

 

Forge is delighted to partner with Laura Rutledge, MA, RDN, CSO, a Registered Dietician Nutritionist who focuses on oncology nutrition for Cooking with Laura focuses on nutrition during and after cancer diagnosis and treatment. For more information and recipes from Laura check out Nourishing Plate. All images courtesy of Nourishing Plate. You can find additional blogs from Laura on Forge’s blog!

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