The perfect smoothie is one that you jump out of bed for in anticipation. Given the right mix of fruits and vegetables, a smoothie can make an easy, filling and nutritious substitute for porridge or toast in the morning. If you’re going to be on the go all day, prepare a second batch and take it along with you on your travels for an afternoon snack.
With the right blender and the right ingredients, you won’t have to jump farther than your very own kitchen for the ultimate liquid breakfast. Give the juice bar a miss and get blending with these tips.
Step One: The Right Tools
If you’re thinking of blending firm ingredients, you’ll need a tough blender to boot. The Kambrook 500 watt blender (KBL70), $39.95, is a good affordable option, boasting stainless steel blades and two different speeds. Its pulse function gives you the extra control you need to make sure your smoothie is at the perfect consistency. Then there’s the Breville 900 watt blender (BBL300), $69, which has 5 different speeds and a 1.5 litre jug so everyone in the house can get in on your smoothie escapades. To really revolutionize your smoothie-making, check out the extremely powerful Sunbeam 2000 watt blender (PB9800), $229.
Step Two: Start With the Perfect Liquid Base
A common starting point for smoothies is dairy or a dairy substitute product: they’re smooth, a good source of protein and have a creamy, neutral taste. For a thinner, lighter smoothie, use milk (regular, skim, soy, almond, coconut – whatever takes your fancy!). For a thicker, frothier smoothie, go with yoghurt. Begin your smoothie with 1-2 cups of liquid– pour it into the jug first before the fruit and veg. Some other liquids you could use are fruit juice, tea and coffee. Or, scrap all of the above and use just water as your liquid base. Keep in mind that the more juice in the fruits and vegetables, the less liquid you’ll need. A good formula to follow is: 1 piece of fruit such as a banana and 2 handfuls of frozen or cut up fresh fruit like berries or mango pieces.
Step Three: Amazing Extras
It’s the extras that take your smoothies from average to amazing. If you want an extra healthy punch to help you power through your workouts, add some flavoured protein powder. If you’re more about decadence, thrown in chocolate chips or cocoa powder for a yummy chocolate kick. Add some richness with 2 tablespoons of a nut butter or a seed or nut-based oil, which also act as a binder.
Don’t be Afraid of the Green Monster
Have you heard of the Green Monster? A Green Monster is any smoothie that contains spinach or kale. Before you go green with disgust, rest assured that the taste of spinach and kale seamlessly disappear amongst the tastier ingredients in your smoothie. It’s an easy way and delicious way to add more nutrient-packed leafy greens to your diet.
Another green ingredient to put on your ‘to try’ list is powdered green tea, known as matcha. The health benefits are plentiful: it’s an antioxidant, has been said to boost metabolism and can help reduce cholesterol!
Now that you have the tools and the tips, here’s a recipe that will give you a reason to pull back the covers and jump out of bed in the morning. All you need is:
- 2 handfuls of baby spinach
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- ½ an orange
- 1 cup of yoghurt
Trust us on the baby spinach! You won’t be able to taste it but, combined with the vitamin C from the orange, your body will be able to absorb the iron in the spinach more effectively for an extra boost of energy. Use the pulse function on your blender to crush the ice first, then add in the rest of the ingredients with a little bit of water. Blend on a medium speed until all ingredients are combined and then use the pulse function again until it’s as smooth as you like it.
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(photo by mag3737)