Is it me or has this winter been the strangest in recent memory? Last week we went to the zoo and the weather was 66 degrees… in mid February! Cue the shocked face emoji! Even though my Stendig calendar is telling me I need to be digging into stews and soups, the melting Winter is telling me to dive head first into lighter and healthier fare.
There’s nothing lighter than the perfect fruit smoothie. However, take note that I did not include an “and healthier” in that last sentence. Why? Well the truth is a fruit smoothie can sometimes be packed full of hidden fats and sugars. Between the fruit, milk, yogurt, nut butters, and even some veggies (I’m talking about you avocado), a smoothie might not be the healthy treat you tell yourself it is. Don’t fool yourself anymore into thinking this stuff won’t hit your waist (or thighs) at the end of your week.
That’s why, when making a shake, I like to choose the purest ingredients possible (fresh or frozen whole fruit instead of juice, sugar free nut butters, low sugar/high protein yogurt, etc.) to ensure my shake is as natural as possible. We want to make sure our shakes are giving us the fruit, veggies, and energy we need to help us repair after workouts or to keep that sugar craving at bay. Also, I have yet to be able to enjoy a smoothie to myself since my son was old enough to point and sugar highs/crashes are not my idea of a fun time with a toddler!
So now that we’ve got that out of the way, Let’s get that blender going! Here are 5 shakes to get your creative juices (pun intended) flowing:
Carrot Cake Shake:
This is a MUST the whole month of Easter. It’s the perfect breakfast or dessert shake.
In a blender grind 1/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup walnuts. Add 1/2 cup - 1 cup cashew milk (or low fat milk), a pinch of salt, and blend. Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and any other add-ins you like (here I did hemp seeds and rehydrated goji berries), 1 cup of 100% unsweetened carrot juice and a small container (about 5 oz) of low-sugar fat-free plain yogurt (my personal favorite brand is Siggis dairy because all of their yogurts are super low sugar but have a high protein content).
Blend, blend, blend! The top layer comes out extra frothy the longer you blend and ridiculously tasty. Best part? My toddler loves it and has no clue he’s having about 3-4 carrots in each serving!
Banana PB Oatmeal Smoothie:
My son loves all my shakes, but this is probably his fave because it combines all his favorite things: bananas, peanut butter, and oatmeal!
In a blender pour 1 1/2 cups of low fat milk (or unsweetened vanilla almond milk). Add 1/2 cup quick cook oatmeal (no steel cut oats in the blender, please). Add 1 banana and 1 tbsp of smooth sugar-free peanut butter. Blend, Blend, Blend. Top with a sprinkling of cacao nibs for an extra special treat!
Blueberry + Beet Ginger Smoothie:
I’m not a huge fan of ginger but it’s healthy benefits cannot (and will not) be denied. I’ve made this smoothie with cooked and peeled beets sliced and added to the blender, but Love Beets also makes an awesome 100% beet juice with a hint of ginger that is the perfect pick me up to add to this shake (and also means you won’t be scrubbing residual beet juice off of all your surfaces for the next week).
Blend 1/2 pint blueberries, 1/4-1/2 cup ginger beet juice (or 2 sliced beets and 1 tsp of freshly shredded ginger), 1 small container of low sugar 0% plain yogurt, and top with chia seeds and your fave granola.
Cocoa + Almond Butter + Cashew Milk + Oatmeal Shake:
You guys, this is the ultimate sweet cheat when you’re craving chocolate milk but watching your sweets intake. The cocoa + cashew milk + almond butter combine to make this super creamy while the oatmeal makes it filling enough to be a breakfast drink.
Add 1 1/2 cups cashew milk to a blender and add 2 tbsp cocoa powder, 1 tbsp almond butter, 1/4 cup oatmeal, and 2 tbsp shredded coconut. Blend until frothy and rich.
Mango Green Goddess Smoothie Bowl:
If you like your smoothie’s extra thick, pour them into a bowl and eat it with a spoon. It’s all the rage! If you’ve never topped your smoothie bowl with a drizzle of almond butter, you’re in for a treat! The almond butter seizes up a bit, making it like almond butter ice cream on top of your super smooth (and super nutritious) smoothie.
Here I blended 1 cup of frozen mango (I found 100% blended mango pulp in the freezer aisle and it has changed my life), a half of a banana, a celery stalk, and a quarter of an avocado with 1 cup unsweetened almond milk, a quarter cup of non fat yogurt, chia seeds, and as much spinach as the blender would hold, then I blended it down and added another handful of spinach- cause I want my smoothie green!
Here I topped it with blackberries, some fresh mango, more chia seeds and a squeeze of Justin’s almond butter- my absolute guilty pleasure.
Which ever way you have it, a green smoothie is the PERFECT way to scratch that sweet itch, get your fruit and veggies for the day, and is the perfect way to get your kids involved in the kitchen. Enjoy!!
-Christine (make sure to follow Christine on Instagram HERE)