June 11, 2020 - 2:00pm -- brown.5517@osu.edu

More and more days are blessing us with sun and warmth lately. Warm weather always makes me crave a cool treat, how about you? A healthier alternative to frozen desserts like popsicles, ice cream, and milkshakes is smoothies. Smoothies are naturally sweet from fruit, a good source of dairy, and can even be a sneaky way to add more vegetables to your day. Here are my four steps to build a better smoothie.

Tip: If you have fresh fruit that is getting overripe, toss it in the freezer to use for a smoothie so it does not go to waste!

  1. Pick a Few Fruit Favorites

Most of the flavor of a smoothie comes from the fruits that are added. Some fruits, such as pineapple and mango, will create a tart, refreshing smoothie. Other fruits, such as blueberry and banana, will give it a creamy sweet taste. Canned, frozen, and fresh fruits all work well for a smoothie. Using frozen fruits removes the need for ice in the smoothie. One cup of fruit is typically enough. If the fruit is not frozen, toss a handful of ice cubes in the blender as well. 

  1. Add a Bone Building Dairy or a Calcium-Rich Juice

Milk, almond milk, soy milk, and yogurt are all good additions to a smoothie that will increase its calcium amount. A good rule of thumb is to use equal amounts of fruit and dairy. If you use ½ a cup of fruit, balance it out with ½ a cup of yogurt. If you prefer not to use a dairy or dairy substitute as your liquid, use a juice with calcium such as 100% orange juice instead.

If you are making a smoothie because you want a lot of vegetables, try this Celebrate Your Plate recipe that has 1 cup of spinach per serving: Sunrise Smoothie

  1. Sneak in a Vegetable

Getting the recommended 2.5 cups of vegetables every day can be a challenge! Adding a bit of spinach, kale, or cauliflower to a smoothie can help you meet that goal without changing the taste of the smoothie much. Tip: If you find kale to be bitter, try “massaging” it before adding it to your smoothie. This decreases the bitter taste. How much should you add? It’s up to you! I usually add a handful of spinach, and I can’t taste it. One of the best things about smoothies is that you can easily change the amounts of ingredients to suit your taste. 

  1. Protein

Finally, I like to add a bit of protein to my smoothie. The dairy options in Step 2 add plenty of protein, but adding a spoonful of nut butter or nut butter powder is delicious. A tablespoon of peanut butter will give your smoothie a creamy taste. You can also try using tofu, as in this CYP recipe: https://celebrateyourplate.org/node/229

Note: The above recommendations are to make a single serving. If you do not have a blender, try adding all the ingredients to a bag and mash them up by hand. Soft frozen fruits such as bananas and raspberries will mash up fairly easily, and kids love the interactive method.  

Written By Nina Hoffmeyer, SNAP-Ed Program Assistant, OSU Extension Montgomery County
Reviewed By Dasia Brown, FCS/4-H Program Assistant, OSU Extension, Montgomery County