Smoothie 101

So lately I have been playing around with my smoothies/shakes, and I’ve had quite a bit of fun! I’ve been experimenting with how to get the thickest, most voluminous shakes, because I don’t know about you, but watery shakes just don’t fly with me. The thin and drippy consistency is for juice, not for a smoothie/shake.

Since I’ve been pretty excited about the smoothies I’ve been making, I thought I would do a quick Smoothie 101 post and give you guys some of my tips. Keep in mind, each of these methods will add some thickness to your smoothie, but if you combine several of them, it will be even better. Smile

Oats -

oats

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The first tip is one I started playing with after seeing Kath do it. Adding 1/4-1/2 cup of rolled oats to your smoothie/shake gives it so much thickness, not to mention a wonderful “doughy” (as Kath describes it) texture. I don’t know how to explain it, but it almost makes it more like cake batter. It is really cool, but the health benefits are awesome, too! Adding oats will up the fiber of your shake, not to mention help lower cholesterol. Smile It will also likely keep you fuller longer, since shakes are usually made up of fruits, which are simple sugars. Oats are complex carbohydrates and take longer to digest, thus keeping you fuller longer!

Chia Seeds -

chia

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The first place I saw chia seeds added to a smoothie was on Ashley’s blog, in her Orange Coconut Creamsicle smoothie. Blending in just a tablespoon of chia seeds to your smoothie makes it much creamier. Also, once again, the fat from chia seeds will keep you fuller longer, and the health benefits of chia seeds are amazing. Chia seeds are one of nature’s highest plant-based sources of complete protein; they help regulate blood pressure; they increase your energy; and they are loaded with vitamins and minerals! Chia seeds are truly a super food.

Frozen Fruit -

frozen fruit

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This one and the next one are kind of no-brainers, but I thought I would mention them anyway. I always prefer to use frozen fruit over fresh fruit, because it gives the smoothie bulk and coldness!

Frozen Banana -

frozen banana

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Behold, the beloved frozen banana. We all know of the banana’s amazing ice cream-making abilities when frozen. When added to a smoothie (with some of the liquid omitted), a frozen banana can change a boring, limp smoothie into a thick, creamy, sweet smoothie. Almost every smoothie/shake I make has at least part of a frozen banana. Note: It must be frozen!

Frozen Almond Milk Cubes -

almond milk

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This is one I have REALLY started to love! Regular old ice is just fine, but sometimes it dilutes the shake too much and makes it too icy. I’m not a fan of icy shakes, and using almond milk cubes solves that problem. I almost always use almond milk cubes now. The almond milk cubes give it a more ice cream-like consistency, without hardly any added calories/fat. You can also freeze coconut milk or any other kind of milk. All you have to do is pour almond milk in an ice cube tray and freeze it overnight. In the morning, throw them into your smoothie and blend. Smile This also works with juice or any other liquid you would normally put in!

Coconut Cream -

coconut cream

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When you put just a tablespoon or two of coconut cream in your smoothie, you’ll be surprised at how much richer it is! It is quite high in fat, but the fat is a good kind. It maybe saturated, but it is made up of mostly short- and medium-chain fats. These kinds of fat are quickly utilized by the body for energy instead of stored as fat. As long as you keep moderation in mind, coconut cream makes a great addition to any smoothie/shake.

Frozen Avocado -

avocado

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This one might seem a little weird, and it is, but it’s great! Once again, the fat from the avocado thickens it up and makes it creamy. I would suggest being careful with this one though, because too much frozen avocado lends an earthy flavor to the shake. It’s a little funky when you go overboard, so be very sparing with this one. :)

Less Milk –

minusmilk

That’s supposed to be a subtraction sign by the milk (or other liquid). A lot of recipes call for one whole cup of liquid, but I almost NEVER use a whole cup. It’s usually 1/2 cup, and 2/3 cup is the absolute max. If I add more than that, it’s just too watery for me. Try reducing the liquid in your next smoothie and see what a difference it makes. :) Note: sometimes reducing the liquid will reduce the overall volume of your smoothie, thus decreasing satiety (for me at least). Make sure that if you reduce the liquid, you add other things to it that will fluff it up and make it bigger.

Yogurt/Soy Yogurt -

greek yogurt

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Plain (or flavored!) greek/soy yogurt makes a great addition to any smoothie/shake. It adds a slight tang, as well as thickness and creaminess. It also ups the protein by quite a bit, which will increase the length of time that it will keep you full. That’s always a good thing. :)

Other Frozen Ingredients -

smoothie

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Another good tip is to freeze any other ingredients you may be using! If you’re making a pumpkin shake, then freeze the pumpkin the night before. If it’s a carrot cake smoothie, freeze the carrots. It requires a bit of thinking ahead, but it’s worth it! It’s a great way to add volume and coldness without using ice, which waters it down. You can also freeze the aforementioned yogurt/soy yogurt.

Silken Tofu –

silken tofu

Mori-Nu Silken Tofu is the only kind of tofu I will put in a smoothie! It’s also the only kind I will use in a dessert. The aseptic container, which is found on the shelf, tastes so much better in things like these. In my opinion, the refrigerated kind in water is for cooking savory things, and the boxed, silken tofu is for desserts. I usually add about 1/3 of a block to my smoothie, and I also reduce the liquid by 1/4 – 1/2 cup. Just play with it and see what you like. Adding tofu to a smoothie is great, because it gives it more protein! It also makes it thicker, spoonable and more mousse-like.

Xanthan/Guar Gums -

xanthan gum (source)

guar gum
(source)

There’s a lot of controversy over whether or not xanthan/guar gums are “good” or not. You only use about 1/4/ – 1/2 tsp at a time, but neither of them are entirely natural, so you can decide for yourself. If you choose to use them, the gums will add incredible volume and creaminess to your shake. Guar makes things creamy, (which is why you can sometimes find it as an ingredient in coconut milk/ice cream) and xanthan makes things thick. Deb @ SmoothieGirlEatsToo wrote a great post about the gums.

Well I guess that about sums it up! Like I said, all of these tips come from my own experience, but feel free to give it a shot and tell me your opinion! Use any one (or multiple) of the thickeners listed above, and see if it helps!

For some awesome smoothie recipes, visit these ladies…

  • Angela @ Oh She Glows (scroll down to get to Smoothies)
  • Kath’s Dough Boy Smoothies
  • Ashley’s Smoothies (scroll down to get to Smoothies)
  • And you have GOT to check out Kathy’s page of absolutely incredible smoothies/shakes! She has got it down. Smile

I’ll hopefully have some smoothie recipes for you in an upcoming post, but in the meantime, feel free to check out some of my favorite shakes, too.

Question of the Day: What are your favorite smoothie-making tips? What can you not live without in your smoothies? What about your favorite recipe?

Thanks for reading!

kelsey-sig

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P.S. The winner of the Miessence Giveaway is comment number #32,  Liz @ IHeartVegetables! Congratulations, Liz! Send your email address to cleanteenkelsey@gmail.com and I will forward it onto Jessica. Thanks to everyone who entered! Smile

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21 responses to “Smoothie 101

  1. spoonfulofsugarfree

    These are such great ideas! Some of them I’ve never even thought of before…freezing an avocado? Brilliant!!

  2. Ahhhh!!!! YAY!!! I can’t believe I won!!! My address is coming your way :)

  3. Whoh girl!!!! You are like a Smoothie Making Queen!!! :)

    I love all of these suggestions. I really need to get some Silken Tofu, since the kind we usually get is the refrigerator kind, and it makes things taste a little weird. Do you get it in the dry section?

  4. Kelsey, I LOVE this post!
    I have done 1/2 frozen avocado before…AMAZING paired with a frozen banana!
    I feel like I have “mastered” my favorite smoothie of all time! I had one for breakfast today, it’s: 1 frozen banana, a few handfuls of spinach, 1/2 cup milk, 1 scoop chocolate protein powder, 1 tsp. cocoa powder, and 6 icecubes. It’s so creamy and delicious, and it makes a HUGE serving…I’m in love.
    I remember making your sweet potato shake a long time ago…so good!
    I have NEVER tried oats in a smoothie, I need to get on that!
    You get coconut cream by refrigerating a can of coconut milk, right? And, what can I use my canned coconut milk in?

  5. Awesome tips!!! I love making smoothies!!!!!

  6. I looovee smoothies! Green monsters are my smoothie of choice….especially with lots of banana, frozen cherries, and frozen blueberries! Thanks for all the ideas for additional add ins! I can’t wait ot make a smoothie now :)

  7. Kelsey- I Love love love love LOVVVEEEDDD this post!!! I just read the whole thing top to bottom and copy and pasted your whole post into a word document so I’d remember some of your tips! I love drinking smoothies and I’m totally with ya-the thicker and more volumious the better!! I’ve never tried avocado (frozen) in a smoothie so that’s the first thing I’ll be trying out! plus i’ve heard and seen sooo much stuff with the gums in smoothies, but i’ve never sucked it up to spend 12 bucks on one little package of it! You should post your current all time favorite smoothie recipe; i’d LOVE to see/eat it!

  8. Ever since the weather has began to get warmer I have been craving thick, cool smoothies like crazy! While I already make use of some of your tips, I am looking forward to using tofu, oats, and chia seeds to amp up the nutrition and volume. One of these days I’d also like to try the frozen avocado thing, but right now it kinda grosses me out. Haha. Don’t worry, though, I’ll come around. The thought of adding spinach to smoothies used to gross me out too and now I LOVE it! :-)

    Have a great weekend, Kels!

  9. I love adding oats to smoothies! I got the idea from the eating clean diet cook book. I’m usually a fruit smoothie type of girl but once in awhile I’ll have a breakfast smoothie with oats and PB.

    Whitney

  10. Yay I love new smoothie ideas. I definitely want to try the avocado and the oats. The creamier and thinker the better :)

  11. Thanks for all the smoothie info. It was really helpful. I don’t usually drink smoothies that often but I might try some of your suggestions and maybe I’ll enjoy smoothie more

  12. Ohhh, some really good ideas here! I’ll be skipping the soy though. Phytoestrogens and antinutrients? No thanks!

  13. I like using the gums and the frozen trick. I also like using tea to flavor them! Gingerbread spice tea in a pumpkin smoothie is AMAZING! I also recently made a lemon cream smoothie by freezing lemonade ice cubes and it was soooo good. I should start adding smoothies to my recipe page!

  14. this is such a great post! I’m a big fan of the gums- I’ve never looked back. I find that adding spinach really boots up the volume and adds good nutrients. I’ll be coming back to look at this page for sure

  15. A whole post dedicated to smoothies – genius! I start almost every single day with a giant green smoothie. It is seriously all I ever crave for breakfast, and I consider it the perfect way to start the day. Mine usually contain a big bunch of leafy green chard (I would use spinach but it’s very hard to get here), bananas, frozen strawberries and blueberries, rice milk or almond milk, yogurt, and a dollop or two of cashew butter. So incredibly delicious!

  16. Pingback: My Birthday Party + SAT! « katshealthcorner

  17. I have a question! You first mentioned putting oats in your smoothies (an idea which I can not wait to try) – but are we talking dry oats OR cooked oats (aka oatmeal) ?

  18. This is an awesome post, Kelsey! You’re making me want a smoothie :D

    I love putting nut butters (especially almond) in my smoothies :)
    <3

  19. I love this post! I pretty much enjoy anything thrown into a blender with a banana !

  20. I think chia seeds or frozen fruit are musts in smoothies for me. They both help thicken them up really nice. Oh and protein powder of course, to make it more filling!

  21. I love xanthan gum, oats, coconut cream (extra love) and chia seeds in smoothies – but only use fresh banana… I’ll try frozen and the frozen milk, they sound great!
    I’ll definitely try silken tofu too – great idea :-)

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