Smoothies are an awesome way to add extra nutrition to your diet: they use whole fruits and veggies (not just juice) and you can add just about anything to them. Although I don’t like the hide-the-food games with kids, it can be a way to get kids through a picky phase and still get good stuff into them (and I did this with my daughter when she was around a year and would eat almost nothing — she still loves smoothies today, though she is no longer picky).
But what do you put in smoothies, and why? What shouldn’t you put in smoothies? And how do you make them family-friendly and customizable? Luckily, it’s easy!
What to Put In Smoothies
Whatever you like! Here are some good ideas:
- Fresh berries
- Celery (slightly salty taste)
- Carrots (try juicing them as using as the base)
- Fresh-squeezed juices
- Coconut milk or oil
- Raw egg yolks (raw whites can interfere with nutrient absorption, and I don’t personally like the texture)
- Plain yogurt
- Raw milk
- Fresh melon
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Raw honey (if sweetener is desired; often unnecessary)
- Powdered supplements (if desired, like spirulina or other naturally-occuring supplements)
It’s good to vary your selections so that you get a variety of different nutrients in your smoothies. Use different fruits and vegetables as desired. Just make sure that if you consume any of the ones noted below that you are careful in how you do it!
What NOT To Put in Smoothies
For the most part, the sky’s the limit! However, there are certain vegetables that you don’t want to put in raw, because they are either goitrogenic (interfere with thyroid) or have too much oxalic acid. These veggies include:
- Mustard greens
Yes, I was surprised by the last two, as well. If you have thyroid issues, you should probably avoid peaches and strawberries. If you don’t, it’s probably fine to include them here and there. This is not an exhaustive list of goitrogenic foods; there are others (like millet, kohlrabi, and cauliflower) that just don’t lend themselves to smoothies, so I didn’t add them to the list. It is important, especially if you consume salads or smoothies on a regular basis, not to consume these foods raw.
If you would like to include them in your smoothies — we frequently include spinach — lightly steam them and then add them. Light cooking gets rid of a lot of the goitrogens and other issues. You can steam a large bunch of greens at once and freeze in ice cube trays, then just pop a cube or two into your smoothie. We have done this and cannot even taste the addition.
Adding just an ounce or two of greens to your smoothie power-packs the nutrition, but if your other ingredients are mainly fruit, you will not even notice the veggies are there! Carrot juice is another great way to get some veggies into your smoothie (blend carrots with a little water and strain through a cloth; try Apple-Carrot Juice) without anyone really noticing.
Basic Smoothie Recipe
This is generally how I make my smoothies:
- 1/2 c. juice
- 1/2 c. plain yogurt (could use kefir)
- 3 – 4 raw egg yolks
- 2 c. frozen fruit mix (I use whatever’s on hand — blueberries, strawberries, cherries, pineapple, mango, spinach are most common)
That’s my basic recipe, very easy! It is just as easy to skip the juice or replace with coconut milk, or coconut water (great electrolyte drink), or simply use extra yogurt/kefir. Pair tropical fruit with coconut, and add oil if you like. It will lend a slightly gritty texture to the smoothie though.
I generally enjoy mixing quite a lot of different fruits together for a fun, sweet smoothie. Pineapple, mango, and sweet cherries are great for increasing the ‘sweetness’ without needing any actual sweetener.
I prefer to use frozen fruit so that I don’t need to use ice and water my smoothie down. A lot of my frozen fruit is fruit which I picked and froze myself, though I do buy organic frozen fruit too.
Combinations and Ideas
- Orange juice, pineapple, mango, and coconut milk
- Kefir, blueberry, strawberry, and cherries
- Strawberry and peach (if you can) with pineapple juice
- Pineapple, strawberry, lime, and coconut milk
What are your favorite combinations?