Recipe Tips to Power Up Your Smoothies

in Substitutions
Published: March 28, 2017

Covert Greens

ThinkstockPhotos-503565766Baby Spinach
Baby spinach and stemmed kale leaves will visually disappear in smoothies that contain blueberries or blackberries, and can even be camouflaged by dark chocolate. Start with a modest handful of leaves per serving and work your way up with time – even the most neutral-tasting vegetables have a distinct flavor.

To ensure every bit blends in, puree your smoothie with the least amount of liquid possible to start. Once the very thick shake is smooth, thin it with more liquid to your desired consistency. If you add all of the liquid at the beginning, the leaves may simply spin around in your blender.

Sip Supplements

Delicious smoothies can provide the perfect pill-free delivery system for dairy-free probiotics, calcium, magnesium and more. Available in powder form, small doses of supplements can be added to smoothies with no change in taste or consistency.

ThinkstockPhotos-477798289Tumeric powder

Pinch of Sunshine

Deepen the hue of golden smoothies such as peach, orange or mango with a touch of turmeric, a milder cousin of ginger that battles inflammation. I add 1/8 teaspoon of turmeric powder to yellow-or orange-colored beverages along with a few specks of black pepper, which increases the bioavailability of turmeric by as much as 2,000 percent.

Go Low-Glycemic

When used in excess, pure stevia can overpower. But just a few drops added to most smoothies will naturally heighten the flavor of the healthy fruit and spices within.

ThinkstockPhotos-493516208Chia seeds

Enrich with Ease

Chia and flax add relatively inexpensive body, protein, fiber and fish-free Omega-3 fatty acids to healthy shakes. For the best emulsion, use flax oil, chia seed oil, or ground flaxseeds (flaxmeal) – chia seeds can be used whole or ground.

Give Smoothies a Boost

Protein powders, particularly allergy-friendly ones, can have noticeable textures that are rather unappealing in plain juice, milk beverage or water. Blending into a smoothie helps, but for the best consistency, start by using just 1 to 2 tablespoons of protein powder rather than the full serving. Since most protein powders are sweetened, taste the pumped-up smoothie before adding any sweetener or very sweet fruits (such as dates).


Peel Away

Bananas provide amazing body and sweetness to smoothies, but can also be an allergy concrn for many. To substitute or simply mix up your routine, use other fleshy fruits (fresh or frozen) such as avocado, mango or papaya. Pumpkin puree and allergy-friendly yogurt are also good options that can be used fresh or frozen into cubes. If sweetness is your primary goal, blend in l to 2 soft, pitted Medjool dates for each banana, and thin with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of coconut milk, dairy-free yogurt, avocado or pumpkin puree.

Be Adventurous

It’s easy to get stuck in a flavor rut, but the new world of healthy freeze-dried powders offers intense allergy-friendly tastes. Maca is a nutritious Peruvian root with a deep, malted flavor and purported benefits for hormonal balance; Lucuma is a low-glycemic fruit with mildly sweet maple-like taste; Baobab, Maqui and Camu are sweet-tart fruits with high concentrations of antioxidants; and Matcha is a specialty green tea, which is praised in studies for its powerful antioxidants.

Diversify Your Drink

Milk beverage is a fantastic creamy fluid, but many other liquids can provide nutrition while amplifying the flavor of smoothies. Experiment with your favorite 100 percent pure or fresh squeezed juices, coconut water, or even prepared and cooled tea or coffee.

Ninja BL450

Get Equipped

Full-size blenders can be cumbersome and even ineffective when whipping up smoothies or other small-batch recipes. A mighty personal blender gets the job done more efficiently and is typically lighter on both space and your pocketbook. We like the Nutri Ninja Pro ($79 at Walmart) which packs 900 watts of pulverizing power and comes with two sizes of BPA free, dishwasher-safe cups and travel lids.

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Try Alisa Fleming’s recipes for Spring Superfruit Smoothie or Carrot Cake Shake