Family Fun

Whirling Up Nutritious Smoothies

Donna Erickson, February 2018

Smoothie. It feels good just to say the word, doesn’t it? I used to think of the concoction of naturally sweet, fresh fruit flavors with crushed ice and yogurt as a magical summer thirst quencher, but with so many healthy and sometimes surprising add-ins nowadays — from kale to beets and avocado to chia seeds — I recently dusted off my blender to give some new combos a whirl.

While my preference is still a traditional blend of vitamin-rich fruits and berries, my family likes a variety of updated twists too, including adding coconut milk for a refreshingly light taste. But first, here are some smoothie basics using a standard blender.

• Start with liquids such as juice, milk, kefir, yogurt, sparkling water or crushed ice.

• Add fresh fruit (a half or whole banana is a standard ingredient for flavor and for thickening the mixture) and/or vegetables. To cut prep time, your school-age kids can pre-package and freeze fruit-and-veggie combinations in small plastic-bag packets and toss in with other ingredients when it’s time to make a smoothie.

• Whirl it all together. Pulse a few times, then blend for 15 seconds or until smooth.

Now for my go-to recipe that is quick to make at breakfast time, before sending kids to school, or as a satisfying afternoon snack.

Fruit Smoothie With Coconut Milk

4 ice cubes, crushed

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 banana

1/2 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt

1 cup fresh or frozen berries, such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries

Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Place ingredients in blender starting with liquids, and process until smooth. Pour into glasses. Makes about 2 1/2 cups. Tip: If smoothie is too thin, add more fruit or yogurt. Too thick? Just add milk or fruit juice.


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