Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Smoothies- the 1st step

As I contemplated what recipe or tip I would like to share first, I decided that if you were only going to change one thing to make your family healthier, this would be it.  Most everyone enjoys a good smoothie, whether it's for breakfast, after school snack, or after a good workout.  They are the perfect way to power pack nutrition into a drink without them even knowing it.

My kids use to freak out when they saw the spinach on the counter next to the blender, but now it's just part of the routine.  So, my advice to you is to not let the kids see you put it into the blender and then they'll never know it's there!  After a while if they see you putting spinach in, just tell them that you put it in everyday and it's going to make their muscles big like Popeye!  

Why Spinach?
Spinach contains a synergy of multiple phytonutrients, lutein, beta-carotene, omega-3 fatty acids, glutathione, ALA, Vitamins C, E, B, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, polyphenols, and betaine)  Along with blueberries, spinach is right up at the pinnacle of the Super Foods powerhouse choices.  Spinach has more demonstrated health benefits than almost any other food.  Spinach is also an important source of the critical antioxidant, CoQ10.  It helps prevent cardiovascular disease, a host of cancers, AMD, and cataracts. 

There are so many ways to make a smoothie, but here is the way I like to do it: (serves 4)
This portion is for a big Vita-Mix container, so if you have a smaller blender, make 1/2 at a time.

1 c. water
1 c. juice (any kind is fine, we usually use OJ- with pulp) The pulp is very good for you.
1-2 big handful of spinach leaves (I buy the big package at Sam's or Costco. Once it starts to look wilted, just put it in the freezer and use it up until it's gone)
1-2 c. of any combination of frozen fruit (usually always strawberries and other fruits but I make sure it has blueberries because they are a wonderful Super Food) 
1 banana
1/2 c. yogurt (I prefer Greek yogurt-the honey vanilla flavor is so creamy & delicious)
2 T. ground flax seed or flax oil (good supply of plant Omega-3's, which the American diet is greatly lacking)

Optional:  Add 1 scoop of protein powder (I prefer plant protein powders-especially hemp & rice)

Put the water, juice, & spinach in the blender first and blend until you don't see any more green leaves.  Then add the rest of the ingredients into the blender in the order I've listed and blend until very smooth.  If you want it thinner, add water.  If you want it thicker, add ice or more frozen berries.  If it's too sour, add a little agave, sugar, or sweet pineapple.  You can also add cream of coconut to really sweeten it up.  I would suggest making them a little sweeter at first so your kids get hooked on them, and then as their taste buds change, I would start to decrease the sugar.  They'll never know :) 

After I pour my kids smoothies, I leave the rest of the smoothie in the blender, add another handful of spinach, and blend it up to get in the extra nutrition for me!  You can really add anything to your smoothies that you need to be eating more of.  Experiment and have fun!  Find your families' favorite!   Almost 100% of any friends, kids, or family I have tried them on, love them!!  I love hearing my friends tell me about how their kids love their smoothies every morning.  It's music to my ears!!  Enjoy!


  1. Never thought of the spinach! We peal and freeze our bananas as soon as they ripen, to add to our smoothies. Thanks Suzy!

  2. I have heard from Hillary about your amazing transformation in the kitchen so I am excited to learn from you! I also am happy that your smoothie recipe is nearly identical to what we do - I will have to try the flax seed. A few other ideas - rather than the agave or sugar, I always add pineapple pieces. We buy a fresh pineapple at Costco almost every week and I do not like the hard core....I chop it up and freeze it and just put a handful in the smoothie each sugar or agave is needed.

    Also, my kids will still eat the smoothie if I put dry oatmeal in it...the texture changes a bit, but I still do it once in a while.

  3. Ashlee, thanks so much for your great idea! Pineapple is always a wonderful addition to a smoothie and they are usually very sweet! The oatmeal idea is really fun as well. That's the beauty of a smoothie is that you can add almost anything and hardly notice it! Thanks for your comments!

  4. Suzy,
    Thanks for the invite! I have found a lot of healthy recipes on the South Beach Diet, as well. One thing I have incorporated into my diet is fish a couple of times a week. I love to put a piece of salmon on tin foil, sprinkle with a little olive oil, lemon juice, lemon pepper and fresh basil. Then I make a tent out of the tin foil, leaving a little opening and grill for about 15 minutes. It is so good!
    Keep me posted with your blog! Good Luck!

  5. I'm a friend of Hillary's. I am enjoying your blog! I've been feeling like I need to eat better lately, especially since I'm pregnant. So I tried the spinach smoothie yesterday. At first I was scared of putting spinach, scared of the taste and that it would turn green. But it tasted great and my 4 year old loved it. Today he requested that I make my smoothie again (he doesn't know it has green leaves in it!).

  6. Absolutely DELICIOUS!!! My kids even love this. Great way to start the day!