It’s hot like sauce, and I’ve been waking up craving just one thing:

SMOOTHIES.

What went in the blender this morning:

  • 1 6 ounce organic peach yogurt
  • 1 frozen ripe banana
  • 1 fresh peach
  • A handful of thawed frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • A scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
The perfect marriage of the summer fruit I love and the quality protein I need, plus some Omega-3s thrown in for good measure.  I drink smoothies all year long, but I find I enjoy them most in the summer, when it seems like I can chug water and Greaterade all day and still wake up feeling dehydrated the next morning.  There’s no specific formula or recipe I follow; usually I just throw in whatever I can find in the fridge.  I can offer a few golden rules for smoothie success though:

1. If you want to take your smoothie to the next level of deliciousness, add a frozen banana.  Room temperature bananas are also good in smoothies, but they won’t provide the same creamy texture.  The riper the bananas are when you freeze them, the more pronounced their flavor will be in your smoothie.  If you’re a bargain hunter (like this girl), you can stock up on those molted brown bananas that are always on quick sale at the grocery store and then just toss them in the freezer until you’re ready to get your drink on.

2. Adding protein powder is a great way to up your smoothie ante.  I usually opt for powders made from soy, rice, or other vegan protein sources, but I’ll use whey if that’s all we have on hand.  I find the extra protein gives my smoothies staying power, and it’s helpful for muscle recovery after a tough workout.  If protein powder isn’t really your thing, nut butters also make a great addition to any smoothie.  One of my favorite combos: almond butter + banana + coconut milk + dates … just do it, you can thank me later.

3. I’m a big fan of greens in smoothies, but some work better than others.  In my experience, spinach blends up much more nicely than my beloved kale, and collards are iffy.  If you have a super powerful blender, go for it.  Otherwise, stick with the spinach.  Your throat will thank you.
UPDATE: I was whipping up a green monster the other day and realized I had neglected to mention a crucial aspect of the smoothie creation process: layering.  I like to start with some sort of fruit base, followed by any ground or powdered ingredients (flax, protein powders, etc.), then any greens I’m using, and finally, more fruit and any liquids (such as juice or soy milk).  Putting heavier items on top of the powders and roughage prevents them from flying up and sticking to the sides and lid of the blender once you get to the actual blending step.  That means less chunk and more yum, not to mention less waste!
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