Think Smoothies Are Just a Warm-Weather Treat? Think Again!
If you thought smoothies are out of season in winter, think again! Fruit and vegetable smoothies are a great, delicious way to get your daily dose of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
Fruits and vegetables used for smoothies are best when they're fresh from the farm, but until the Muzzarelli Farm market opens in the spring, you can still make smoothies with store-bought ingredients.
Not only are smoothies packed with nutritional value, but they also make for great, quick meals on the go. The top reason for drinking smoothies, however, is the taste. Because you make them with your favorite ingredients, they're always delicious!
Whether you’re looking for an energy boost or just want to enjoy the taste of fresh fruits and veggies in one convenient drink, a smoothie is the perfect solution. Some of the many benefits of drinking fruit and veggie smoothies on a regular basis include:
- Increased Nutrient Intake: Fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of important vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc., all necessary for proper functioning of our bodies. By blending them together into delicious drinks we can maximize our nutrient intake while still enjoying something tasty! This is especially beneficial if you don't have time to sit down for meals throughout the day, as smoothies provide easy access to vital nutrition right away without having to take multiple supplements or pills each day.
- Improved Digestion: The high water content found in most fruits helps flush out toxins from your digestive system which can lead to improved digestion over time as well as better absorption rates when consuming other foods later on during mealtimes. Additionally, adding fiber-rich ingredients like oats or chia seeds will further aid digestion by providing bulk which helps move waste through your body.
- Weight Loss Benefits: Smoothies are incredibly filling due to their combination of protein and fiber-rich ingredients along with healthy fats like nut butters or avocado, making them ideal snacks (or even meal replacements) when trying to lose weight, since their calorie density per serving tends be lower than other processed foods.
- Boosted Energy Levels: Fruit tends to be packed with natural sugars such glucose, fructose, etc. These sugars make their way directly into the bloodstream where they're then used up by cells immediately, giving us a quick burst of energy. Perfect for those days when you need an extra push but without crashing shortly after, thanks to the low glycemic index associated with many fruits and vegetables. Much healthier than coffee, soda or energy drinks!
So, which is more beneficial from a health and nutrition standpoint, juicing or smoothies? Smoothies of course, because you're including the entire fruit or vegetable, whereas juicing removes all or most of the pulp. Pulp is where the fiber is, and fiber is important for digestive health (here's a list of fruits and vegetables with a high fiber content).
The only tool you need to make a perfect smoothie is a blender. If you don't have one, you can get a basic model for around $20, or top-of-the-line machine, with all the bells and whistles, for several hundred dollars.
There are many ways to make a great smoothie, and you can find a myriad of recipes online (Sweet Potato Smoothies and Chocolate Peanut Butter Vegetable Smoothies are to die for!)
Here are the basics in making a fruit and/or vegetable smoothie:
- Start by adding liquid to the blender (water, milk or unsweetened almond milk are good choices).
- Add in fibrous leafy greens, like spinach, kale (with stems removed), collards or Swiss chard.
- Toss in frozen fruits and/or veggies. Any kind works, but frozen bananas and strawberries tend to be favorites.
- Then add in other fresh produce, such as bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, cauliflower, cooked sweet potato, butternut squash puree, pumpkin puree, avocado, or zucchini.
- The last step before blending is optional, but this is where you can add chia seeds, turmeric, protein powder, collagen, spices, ground flax or other nutrition boosters, as well as nut butter and yogurt.
- Start the blender on slow speed and gradually increase to the highest speed.
- You can use ice instead of frozen fruit to make your smoothie nice and frosty.
Experiment with different ingredients and varying quantities of each until you find the perfect blend for you. Once you get hooked, you can enjoy the great taste and health benefits of your new favorite treat and look forward to improving upon it with farm-fresh ingredients once Muzzarelli Farms opens in the spring. We look forward to hearing about your favorite smoothies!