Sunday, January 1, 2017

Berry-yogurt smoothie with secret veggies

In honor of New Year's resolution season, I'm sharing the smoothie recipe my husband and I have nearly every single morning. Obviously, the beauty of smoothies is that they are infinitely customizable, so I don't expect readers to follow this recipe exactly. Instead, I'm hoping I can provide you with a few tips and strategies you haven't thought of before to help you construct YOUR perfect smoothie recipe. Note that I have a cheap blender from Walmart. Someday, maybe I'll splurge for a Vitamix, but this recipe turns out great in my base-level model.

Make your smoothies in bulk. I fill a big 6-cup blender carafe with 3 servings worth of ingredients. If you have leftovers, put the entire carafe with leftovers into your fridge. The next time you want a smoothie, pop the carafe back on your blender, add a couple of ice cubes, and blend for a few seconds to mix it back up.
Make smoothie kits. I pre-pack freezer bags full of smoothie ingredients, so all I have to do is add yogurt and blend.
Add secret veggies. I love this smoothie because each serving has approximately a serving of fruit and a serving of vegetables. I sometimes struggle with eating enough fruits and veggies throughout the day, so at least I know that I've started my day with a couple. Spinach is a common smoothie add in, but people often don't think to add carrots, which are an ideal way to add natural sweetness. Berries are an excellent source of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and I use enough of them that they hide the color and flavor of veggies.
Capitalize on frozen ingredients. Adding frozen rather than fresh ingredients gives you a colder, thicker smoothie. Frozen fruits and veggies are usually picked at the peak of freshness, meaning they may be MORE nutrient-rich than fresh, out of season ones. They are also more cost-effective and easier to store. Frozen berries are a natural, but I also love to use frozen spinach and carrots.
A kitchen scale will save your dishes. Smoothies are not a meal that requires precise measurement. However, if you happen to have a kitchen scale, it will allow you to dump your ingredients directly into the carafe without using a measuring cup. Just put your carafe directly on the scale and zero out your scale every time you add an ingredient.
Yogurt is a staple for a reason. I know a lot of people like to add protein powder, but Greek yogurt plus flax adds plenty enough protein for me. It provides plenty of protein to keep you full, and probiotics to keep your gut healthy. It also keeps your smoothie creamy and emulsified.

Berry-yogurt smoothie with secret veggies
16 oz (2 cups) plain yogurt (I like nonfat Greek for extra lean protein)
210 grams (1.5 cups) frozen mixed berries
80 grams (2/3 cup) sliced carrots (I like frozen)
80 grams (1 cup) frozen chopped spinach or kale
30 grams (1/4 cup) ground flax or chia seeds
Water to fill carafe to 6 cups
Stevia or Splenda to taste
Add all ingredients to blender. Starting on low speed, blend, working up to high speed. Blend until smooth. Makes 3 approximately 16 oz servings.

Approximate nutritional information: 200 calories, 4 grams fat, 15 net carbs, 6.5 grams fiber, 19 grams protein.

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