I hate the word “smoothie.” Always have. It just sounds so . . . weird. I have a hard time saying it without cringing. And whenever I do have to say it, I feel like someone’s going to look at me and say, “What are you talking about? That’s not even a real word, ya freak!” At my house, we call them fruit shakes. Not sure when or how that started, but somehow we’ve all independently decided, and silently agreed, we will not use the word “smoothie.” So fruit shake it is.
Fruit shakes ebb and flow here. Sometimes we’re on a high, and sometimes we forget about them for months at a time, always vaguely feeling as though something is missing, yet not quite sure what. Until it hits us! Frozen fruit! Yogurt! Juice! We have fruit shake fixings! Hurray!
I am the fruit shake maker of the family, partly because I am very particular about fruit in general, and also because I worked at a
smoothie fruit shake place in college. You could say I’m an expert.
A few months ago, our fruit shakes bumped it up a notch when my mother-in-law sent us a Magic Bullet for Valentine’s day. Love in the form of fruit (which now that I think about it, isn’t really that uncommon. There’s lots of ways to show your love with fruit: fruit baskets, edible fruit arrangements, chocolate dipped strawberries–what’s up with that?). Anyway, we’ve been exploring the wonders of the Magic Bullet, and I thought it would be fun to share a few fruit shake ideas with you guys.
Here’s my famous recipe. Ready?
Throw a bunch of fruit, yogurt and juice in a blender and whir. That’s it.
It sounds simple, but it’s really very complicated. You either get it just right, or it’s totally disgusting. Fruit shakes are also very personal, which is why the Magic Bullet is cool. Each person gets an individual shake. Most recipes include a banana, which I find revolting, but all my boys like. Garrett, Graham, and I like to include spinach, but Mike doesn’t (even though he never knows when I sneak it in, ha). Some people use ice, but I like to stick with frozen fruit alone. Are you overwhelmed yet? Ok, let me break it down for you.
- Start with a liquid: usually I use 100 percent fruit juice (cran-grape is my favorite), but lately I’ve been experimenting with other liquids in order to cut down on sugar. I like the combo of almond milk with just a splash of juice. Other non-dairy alternatives include, hemp milk, rice milk, or soy milk. You could also try coconut water, (you know how I feel about that one), chocolate milk (really good with strawberries and not a bad choice), or plain milk.
- Add some greens: this is so much better than it sounds, I promise. My kids actually remind me to include spinach, so you know it can’t be a taste-breaker. I’ve found that fresh, baby spinach tastes better (meaning, less) than frozen spinach. Other options include, kale, parsley, romaine or any other green you might like to try.
- Throw in some healthy fat/protein: lately I’ve been using non-fat Greek yogurt. It’s high-protein and lower in sugar than traditional yogurt (though sometimes I use vanilla, which obviously has more sugar than plain–I’m working on it). Nut butters are also a good option. Another idea is flax or chia seeds, which boost fiber as well as fat and protein. At the Weight of the Nation event I tried a green fruit shake that included chia seeds and it was pretty tasty. I don’t think the average person needs to use protein powder; it usually contains more protein than you need.
- Choose your fruit: the sky is the limit here. Strawberries, blueberries, bananas, grapes, raspberries, mango, pineapple, kiwi, cranberries, peaches; the list goes on and on. If you buy frozen fruit, remember to check the ingredients list. Some fruit is sweetened with added sugar.
So there you have it, the wishfit guide to fruit shakes. Play around with it and find a recipe that works for you. Just remember, when you add alcohol, it’s called a daiquiri, and that’s something different entirely!
Btw, the reason I like fruit shakes so much? I not a big fruit fan, and fruit shakes are a good way to sneak in a couple of servings, pretty painlessly.