Ever since getting one of the nicest Christmas gifts I've ever gotten, aka my powerhouse of a Vitamix, I have been experimenting more and more with smoothies.
With smoothies, there are so many benefits, like being able to fit in a lot of greens and much-needed vitamins in one convenient drink, getting all the fiber from the produce (unlike juices), and well, they're so delicious it's like a treat. BUT. It can be a very slippery slope when it comes to the sugar content of a smoothie or smoothie bowl.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You're happily making a smoothie with some apple and banana. Then you notice some strawberries in your fridge and throw some in too! And what about those frozen blueberries? All those fruits are great for you, after all! But suddenly, before you know it, you have almost 90g of sugar from the 4 different fruits you've managed to put in there. Especially with smoothie bowls, where you'll usually also throw fruit on top- those must also be accounted for. I've definitely been there!
Portion and ratios are key here.
This is a green smoothie that I have been loving on lately. You can play around with the ratios to find the flavor and consistency that makes you happy, but my priority in this smoothie is keeping it lower sugar/higher protein. And it does not sacrifice flavor, at all, I promise.
For a drinkable smoothie, I like my consistency a bit thinner so it's more easily sipped through a straw. On the other hand, you want your base for a smoothie bowl to be thicker and sturdy enough to support toppings. Mine started to melt a little in these photos here (it was HOT in my apartment that day!), but there are a few things you can do to get a great base.
My tips for a thicker smoothie base for smoothie BOWLS:
- Frozen banana- Use frozen, not fresh. The texture of frozen bananas are like magic to smoothies, and it's what makes it possible to make "nice" cream out of them. I like to slice fresh bananas into coins, then throw them in a ziploc bag in the freezer to have on hand.
- Less liquid- This one can be tricky for beginners. You need enough liquid so that your blender won't get stuck (especially if you don't have as high-powered of one), but not too much to make things runny. Experiment with this, but I like to start with 1/2 cup for a 1-person serving.
- Ice- Ice, ice, baby. I personally love ice in my smoothies to make things even colder and refreshing. Throw a couple cubes in there!
- Protein Powder- I mean, we all could use more protein so on the nutritional side of things, this is a green light for me. But it also does help thicken things noticeably.
- Chia/Flax Seeds- These don't help the melt factor, BUT blended, they act as an incredible thickening agent to make things heartier.
As for toppings, I love to focus on nutrient-dense seeds and a couple bits of fruit for a treat. I also love throwing homemade granola (my gingerbread granola pictured here) for extra crunch.
Anyway, now onto my recipe for this delicious green smoothie! This recipe is for a lighter smoothie consistency, so if you want to make this into a bowl, use my tips above to bump up the thickness.
Power Green Smoothie
*makes enough for 2 large smoothies (or bowls)
Gluten-free, can be made dairy and nut free using alternative ingredients
3/4 or 1 cup Nut milk, unsweetened (or regular, coconut milk, or even water if desired)
1 cup Greek Yogurt (or coconut, almond, etc. yogurt)
Juice from 1 lime
2 tbsp Chia seeds
1 frozen banana
2 big handfuls (approx 3-4 heaping cups) Baby Spinach
5-6 larger ice cubes
*optional: 2 scoop protein powder
*optional: 2 tbsp maple syrup for added sweetness- omit if avoiding extra sugar
1. Depending on your blender, add ingredients in order as per manufacturer's instructions. For Vitamix, add ingredients in order as listed above.
2. Blend until desired consistency. Pour, and enjoy! If making bowl, pour into bowl and add desired toppings.