I know many creative, delicious, wellness-enhancing smoothies await you. As a Registered Dietitian, what I particularly love about smoothies is how nutrient-dense you can make them with low to medium calories. Especially with spring here and summer coming, smoothies can be your favorite go-to item for being satisfied in both taste and nutrition!
The five must-haves for your kitchen so you are always ready to whip a smoothie are these:
1) Blender. Obvious I know! But unlike a juicer, a blender is way easier to clean and super easy to keep on your kitchen counter for making endless smoothies. As far as cleaning, what I do is put hot water right in the blender after I am done using it. Therefore nothing sticks to the sides. Vitamix or BlendTec are ultimate blenders but there are more cost effective and just as lovely ones at your local megastores. Just make sure it says BPA-free or is a glass container. The wear and tear and acidic qualities of fruits can particularly break down plastic and leach BPA if it is not BPA-free plastic. I personally prefer glass since it lasts so long!
2) Microplane. I greatly enjoy adding grated fresh ginger, grated orange zest and grated spices such as nutmeg to my smoothies! A microplane allows me to do this with the right size and texture of the item. The blender sometimes has trouble breaking already small food pieces, so you can get awkward chunks in your smoothies. However, the microplane provides excellent size and consistency for smooth texture and equal spreading of flavor.
3) Protein Powder & Superfoods. I think it’s a big head start to have a vanilla, strawberry and/or chocolate protein powder on hand for when you want to add some protein as well as flavor to your smoothies. For protein powders, you can either get whey or vegan formulas. If you are getting a whey formula, make sure it is grass-fed whey. If you are getting a vegan formula, try getting one that is not just made with soy protein isolate but omits soy or includes other vegan protein sources such as rice, pea and hemp. It is also super helpful to have a stack of superfoods at home for boosting your smoothies. Most superfoods stay well in the refrigerator and you can buy in bulk for a good price. Of course, you do not need all the superfoods. If you think about it, many offer the same thing but in different form, whether it is clean protein, antioxidants or anti-inflammatory benefits. Try testing a few and picking about three to five that can be your go-to superfoods for any perfect smoothie boost. Here are a few of my favorites: spirulina powder, goji berries, green tea powder (matcha), cacao powder, cacao nibs, maca powder, hemp seeds, wheatgrass powder, flax seed powder or oil, chia seeds and acai powder.
4) Frozen Fruit. Here’s the deal. Your next supermarket trip you are going to buy frozen fruit. Why? Because soon enough with your blender on your counter, you are going to be inspired to make a smoothie and you are going to be psyched that you have frozen fruit in your freezer! Frozen fruit has been shown to have the same nutritional quality as fresh fruit and it also maintains the fruit’s flavor wonderfully! As far as options, the list is gigantic but the most popular frozen fruits are strawberries, blueberries, melon and peaches. Even frozen veggies such as spinach and peas can really add fiber, vitamins and minerals galore to your smoothies.
5) Ice Cube Trays. You need a few ice cube trays. Smoothies taste better a bit colder than at room temperature. Also by making your own ice cubes, you can get creative and make cubes with coconut water, almond milk, coffee or juice. By adding flavor to the cubes, you are ensuring the smoothie does not get watered down with the ice cubes but is optimal in consistency and taste.