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Smoothies are definitely hyped, especially when people are staying at home and getting bored of traditional breakfasts and snacks. People are constantly looking for something new in terms of diet, and this particular trend seems to be lasting much longer than others.
Technically, even if you’re not a fan, you can’t escape smoothies with how social media is packed with their recipes. Moreover, there are many people that swear by their benefits and claim things that initially sound too good to be true. However, the claims are not far from true.
If the aesthetically-pleasing images are making you curious about the 21st century’s most popular healthy snack, you’ve come to the right place.
Continue reading to know the benefits of smoothies, how they hold up against juices, how to properly make them, and the best hacks to make the most out of them.
According to a 2020 study by Mordor Intelligence, the global smoothies market is expected to reach a 7.2% CAGR between 2020 and 2025, with the largest market being in North America. So, there must be some actual benefits to smoothies, and here they are:
Most people are aware that they don’t eat as many fruits and vegetables as they need to be on a daily basis. According to a 2021 research by the Produce for Better Health Foundation, American’s fruit and vegetable consumption has declined by 10% since 2004.
We can make a change by trying to eat more produce and include it in a daily smoothie, the smartest way to up your fruit and vegetable intake.
Thanks to their abundance in vitamins and minerals, consuming the right amount of produce on a daily basis, which is 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables, will help reduce the risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and heart disease.
One of the biggest advantages of smoothies over other types of healthy drinks is the abundance of dietary fiber. Fibers are a must to have proper digestion and healthy gut bacteria. Plus, they lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels.
Sadly, American adults only consume 15 grams of dietary fiber per day, when the recommended intake is 25 to 30 grams. If that’s something you know you need to change about your diet, a smoothie will help you get there faster.
If you’re someone that doesn’t drink much water on a daily basis, you definitely should. However, smoothies would make a delicious, fun way to hydrate yourself even more on the side.
If you’re worried that your kids aren’t drinking enough water, try making a fruit smoothie and sneaking in some water. The kids will love it and get the hydration they need.
There is a wide range of recommendations and recipes for smoothies all over the internet, so the options are actually endless.
If you have a blender, produce, and liquid, you can experiment with whatever you like according to your personal taste, nutritional needs, and budget. Making smoothies doesn’t require any cooking skills, which means that anyone at home can make it.
Remember that add-ins are pretty popular with smoothies; things like nuts, seeds, nut butter, spices, spirulina, ACV, bee pollen, oils, powders, you name it. You don’t need to add many of them to each smoothie, but given that they add nutritional value and flavor to your drink, it’s beneficial to have them added.
One of the main reasons why most people don’t stick to a healthy diet is that it takes effort and money to cook and buy ingredients for healthy meals, and that’s a problem that only a smoothie can solve.
You can make a filling, nutritional smoothie with the simplest, cheapest ingredients at home. There’s no need for exotic fruits or fancy veggies when you’re on a budget. Try to make a smoothie with a banana, some milk, and a pinch of cinnamon, and you’re good to go.
The “smoothies vs. juicing” debate will probably never end, as both have their own dedicated fans. However, there’s no denying that smoothies are healthier and more efficient than smoothies. Let us tell you why!
Juicing removes an underrated yet very important ingredient from your fruits, which is the pulp.
The pulp is the source of fiber in fruits that when you remove, the sugar gets absorbed much faster and in higher concentration than if you eat or drink the whole fruit, leading to sudden spikes in blood sugar levels. So, juicing is a no-no for people with diabetes.
Moreover, the lack of filling fiber means that you’ll need to drink a larger amount of juice to feel full, so you’ll end up consuming even more sugar without fibers to slow it down. Not to mention it takes multiple fruits to make one cup of juice; think of how much sugar and how many calories pile up over time.
Juices lack essential nutrients that exist in the skins of veggies and fruits, such as vitamin B-12, magnesium, antioxidants, polyphenols, fat, and protein.
So, while you can get away with replacing meals with smoothies from time to time, thanks to their high nutritional content, juice cleanses aren’t nutritional enough to do the same.
Most juicing junkies won’t tell you this, but juicing is pretty expensive. It takes many fruits and veggies to make a few cups. You have to put a lot of stuff in the juicer, and a liquid with much less volume will come out.
Plus, If you’re trying to juice organic produce, the price goes up even more. Juice “cleanses” also cost a ridiculous amount of money for only a part of the benefits.
On the other hand, smoothies are pretty cost-efficient. You can include ingredients that exist at every home and won’t have to go overboard with the fruits and vegetables needed.
Now that we’ve discussed why smoothies are so cool and their benefits over juicing, here’s how to make them.
While anyone can add their ingredients in whatever order they want, layering them in the right order ensures the smoothest blending of all ingredients.
Adding liquid first makes it easier for the blender to work. There are a ton of options when it comes to liquids, and people choose them depending on their dietary restrictions or preferences. You can add water, coconut water, milk, plant-based milk, cold tea, or vegetable juice.
Water is the go-to for maximum hydration and the lightest texture. Coconut water and cold tea come next in that category with the addition of flavor. A creamier smoothie would need milk or plant-based alternatives. Vegetable juice makes a healthy addition to a fruit smoothie.
While some people love to add fruit juice, we don’t recommend it because it can dramatically increase your sugar and calorie intake if you’re not careful.
If you’re looking for a creamy, filling smoothie, feel free to add thickeners at this step.
Consider fat-free yogurt, Greek yogurt, or plant-based yogurt. The reason we recommend them is that yogurt is one of the best ways to sneak in protein and probiotics into your smoothie.
Avocado is another excellent thickener that’s packed with nutrients, such as vitamins, monounsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants.
If you have some protein powder or spices to sprinkle, natural sweeteners to add, or seeds and nut butter to experiment with, this is the time to do so.
Protein powder is an awesome way to increase the nutritional value of the smoothie without having to add food. Also, spices, such as cinnamon, turmeric, and ginger, prove that tasty and healthy can co-exist.
If you tend not to eat enough vegetables normally, a smoothie is where you can temporarily compensate for that. Vegetables such as spinach, beets, kale, carrots, and sprouts are pretty popular in the smoothie world.
Before you start to worry about the taste, veggies taste fine in smoothies that have at least one fruit to sweeten them. Technically, if you put a banana in a green smoothie, you’ll hardly taste the bitterness of the green.
This is when the tastiest part of a smoothie comes in. The varieties are endless; you can use frozen or fresh fruit. Also, one type of fruit or more is acceptable.
Frozen fruits have a thicker texture and don’t need ice cubes as additives on a hot day. On the other hand, fresh fruits are perfect for a lighter smoothie.
However, fresh fruits are smooth enough to be added in this step, while frozen fruits should be delayed in order not to clog the blender.
There are endless fruit combinations that you can make. Just be mindful not to add too many fruits or add sweeteners for already sweet fruits, such as bananas and mangoes.
If you have some hard ingredients to add, such as frozen fruits, ice, or some hard-to-blend vegetables, this is where you add them. Adding the toughest ingredients last puts less pressure on the blender and helps it work more efficiently.
Now that you’ve added everything, it’s time to start blending them all together. Remember that you never need to blend a smoothie for more than a minute at a time.
Here are the tips and tricks that you need to get the most out of the tastiest, healthiest, and most well-blended smoothie.
We’ve all bought some green bananas at some point and wanted to eat them immediately. While you can eat many fruits while they’re still green, we don’t recommend adding them to smoothies.
Unless you have a heavy-duty commercial blender, don’t put whole fruits and vegetables in the blender and just turn it on. Doing so will overwork the blender, and it probably won’t last long if you do this repeatedly. Plus, the food will not be blended well anyway.
Instead, take a few minutes to cut large produce into cubes and slices before you feed it into the blender. The result will taste better and be more homogenous.
Most people add the ingredients in order, turn the blender on for a minute, and drink. However, if you want the best, most homogenous drink of all, consider pre-blending.
When you add a few ingredients, usually the liquid and add-ins, then blend before adding anything else, the drink will blend so effortlessly that it’ll be hard to imagine how many ingredients actually went into making the smoothie.
This hack is especially helpful when you have ingredients that are known to be tougher to blend, such as frozen fruits, carrots, and other raw vegetables. You can always stop the blending in between to test the consistency and add more ingredients.
While the crunchiness of ice sounds pretty good in the summer, it may not be the best option for a cold smoothie. Ice can water down the flavors in the smoothie or mess up the consistency.
A better alternative would be frozen fruits. They add flavor and even improve the smoothie’s consistency. Plus, freezing fruits means that they’ll be available even when they’re not in-season. Another alternative is frozen tea cubes, which would make a tasty liquid.
One of the best advantages of smoothies is how cost-efficient they are. Do you want to save even more money? Know what you like and buy it in bulk. You can even pack individual packs for each smoothie.
Doing so will save you a lot of money and time because you won’t have to prepare each smoothie from scratch. Instead, you can do the preparation of 10 cups worth of smoothies in one go.
Personal blenders are trendy nowadays, and they’re worth the hype. If you’re not motivated enough to use and clean a whole blender for your personal use, a personal blender will motivate you.
It’s smaller and portable, so it’s space-saving and good for people on the go. Plus, the blending cup doubles as the drinking cup, which makes the cleanup much faster and the operation more efficient.
A personal blender also targets smoothies more than any other type of blending, which makes it ideal for someone who only wants to blend single-serve smoothies in a minute.
What makes smoothies so much fun is how much you can experiment with them. Anyone who’s ever blended a smoothie before can tell you that they’re probably blended things that tasted better than they previously sounded.
That being said, some people are always in a hurry and have no time to test new mixtures, only for them to taste too bitter, too sweet, or straight up inedible. So, don’t shy away from browsing basic three-ingredient smoothie recipes online.
Beginners will get the hang of smoothies and their layering better after browsing enough smoothie recipes, as well.
Wait, what? You heard us. If you still have leftover smoothies, they can be tomorrow’s treat. The easiest and most popular way to preserve them is by pouring them into ice cube trays so that you can use them whenever you like.
Do you know that you can keep smoothies and use them on baking goods like cakes and muffins? If you’re feeling even more productive, you can turn smoothies into fruit leather that you can eat as a dried snack.
If you’re up for it, feel free to turn smoothies into pudding. Smoothie parfait is pretty popular, as well.
On hot summer days, there is no healthier treat than a smoothie popsicle or sorbet. The whole family will love it, and the ingredients will be homemade and safe.
The point is to never throw a smoothie away because there’s so much you can do with it.
Some people blend a smoothie once in a blue moon, while others can’t start a day without one. You know which one you are. If you’re an avid smoothie drinker or at least trying to be one, we recommend getting a high-quality blender.
There are many trusted brands with varying price points. Do the research according to your needs and choose a good-quality appliance that can handle the frequency and intensity of your personal usage.
If you already have one, read its guidelines and stay within its limits so that it would last and do the job efficiently.
Powders and spices are an excellent way to add flavor or nutrition to the smoothie, especially when you don’t want to add any more fruits or veggies.
However, most people end up adding too much of them that the smoothie comes out too clumped. Also, you need to be careful that the add-ins don’t overpower the flavor of the main ingredients, especially if it’s a protein powder that doesn’t taste that good.
Adding a pinch or two is perfectly fine. If you feel like that’s not enough after taking the first sip, feel free to add more. The point is not to overdo it before you even know what it tastes like.
There are many factors that could lead to smoothies not being well-blended. It could be that you layered the ingredients wrong, adding hard ones first and soft ones last. Also, some ingredients can clog the blender when too much, such as powders and frozen fruits.
A smoothie can be too foamy if there’s too much fiber in the mix, mainly insoluble. You can add water, stir it with a spoon, or re-blend it for half a minute at a slower setting. Next time, stick to produce with soluble fiber.
It depends on your personal taste. Most people prefer smoothies with milk because of the nutritional benefits, creamy consistency, and flavor. That being said, if you want a light smoothie, water or coconut water will be fine as the base.
It’s not a must, but you can if you want. On hot days when you need a cold treat, you can add ice cubes last in the mix. Remember to check first if your blender can handle it. If you’re worried that the ice will water things down, replace it with frozen fruits.
If you were intimidated by smoothies before, they probably don’t seem too scary by now. As you can see, they’re highly beneficial. They reduce the risk of many diseases, increase your fiber intake, hydrate you, allow you to customize however you like, and cost very little.
Plus, smoothies have proven to be a healthier alternative to juices, as they’re tamer in terms of sugar and calories, maintain the nutritional value of the produce, and are more cost-efficient.
To make a smoothie correctly, all you need to do is layer the ingredients from thinnest to thickest so that you don’t clog or push the blender beyond its limits.
And finally, don’t forget the tips and tricks that we discussed earlier. Cut the produce into pieces, use frozen fruits instead of ice whenever possible, and don’t add too much powder or spice.