Versatile and vitamin-rich, the modern smoothie evolved from simple frozen yoghurt blends as a result of the move towards health-conscious living. The widespread trend of vegetarianism in the 1960s called for a fruit-based treat that packed a nutritious punch. Since then, the smoothie has become a budget-friendly take-away lunch or breakfast.
The start of the new year is the ideal time for perfecting smoothie science. Fruit and vegetables, the primary ingredients of any smoothie, contain vitamins, minerals, fibre and disease-busting antioxidants. They are low in calories, but high in water content, which make them ideal for weight-watchers – just take care not to include fruit that’s very high in sugar.
Keep ingredients natural, wholesome and unprocessed. Summer berries, seasonal fruit, low-fat or fat-free yoghurt, fat-free milk, freshly squeezed juice and crushed ice are all you’ll need to add substance to your smoothie. Knowing exactly what goes in is the key to healthy food preparation. Smoothies are also a a great way to get the kids to eat their fruit and vegetables – they’re colourful, fun to make and easy to drink with straw.
Perhaps the best thing about this super snack is that it’s practically foolproof. Nothing is impossible when it comes to the versatile smoothie – whether you prefer savoury, tangy or sweet, served chilled or warm – the combinations are limitless.
You don’t even need to be dexterous with the blender – simply shred, peel or chop your fresh ingredients and watch as the colours mix into in a healthy medley. A no-fuss, easy-pour blender works best for this kind of art. It’s also a good idea to check that it can crush ice with ease.
For the reluctant breakfaster, the smoothie is a convenient source of vitamins, without the early morning hassle. Whipped up in minutes, smoothies are portable enough to be enjoyed on the run, or frozen for later. Plus, there’s always room to improvise. Pepped up with a dash of alcohol and garnished with an umbrella, smoothie blends make delicious party drinks, too.
For the dairy intolerant, soya yoghurt or rice milk are ideal non-dairy substitutes. While smoothies are traditionally light on both the calories and pocket, they can be tailored for a little indulgence using peanut butter, syrup, honey, coconut, chocolate or premium ice cream. An organic peanut butter and banana smoothie is a calcium-rich treat without the guilt.
Here’s to a healthy start to the New Year – or just a guilt-free summer treat!