Ah, smoothies. What’s not to love? They’re fast, easy, healthy, and can be crazy delicious. And yet, it's so easy to get into a smoothie routine rut ... or worse, feeling obligated to gulp down an occasional grey-colored uber-wonky blend. And if there's one rule to drinking a smoothie, it's that it should never, ever feel like a chore!
That's why we’re sharing 6 little tips to get you back on track to making some of your best-ever beverages. So if you’re finding that the smoothies you're making at home are only so-so these days, try a few of our special secrets to make your blends instantly so much better.
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SMOOTHIE SECRET #1: ADD (BALANCED) FRUIT
Although it’s unlikely to come as much of a surprise, the easiest thing you can do to make a tantalizing smoothie is to use fruit as your base ingredient. But the real trick is using a balanced amount of fruit: not so little that you can’t taste it, but definitely not so much that you overwhelm your digestive tract with sugar, either. Most smoothies are perfect when equipped with around one or two servings of fruit—as in, either one or two cups of chopped fruit, or one to two medium pieces of fruit, such as bananas and apples. Everyone’s a little different, so you can always adjust this amount based on your own needs, but as a general rule, a bit of fruit is going to be key to making your smoothies taste irresistibly good.
SMOOTHIE SECRET #2: ADD FAT
Most people don’t think of dietary fat as being a part of a smoothie, but the truth is a little bit of fat can go a long way to making your smoothie exponentially more enjoyable. Fat makes smoothies extra creamy, helps to improve the flavor, and makes a smoothie more nutritionally balanced, thereby providing long-lasting energy as a result. In particular, look to incorporate “good fats,” like heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and brain-boosting omega 3s. You can find these healthy fats in smoothie-friendly ingredients like nuts (such as almonds, cashews, and brazil nuts), as well as seeds (such as chia and hemp). You can also use nut butters of all varieties, and even avocado and coconut can sometimes work well. Aim for a few spoonfuls of nuts or seeds, or a tablespoon or two of nut butter, and experience the delicious difference.
SMOOTHIE SECRET #3: ADD SALT
Yes, believe it or not, adding a little bit of salt goes a long way to enhance the flavors of your smoothie. That’s because if you think about it, almost every recipe on the planet leans on salt to balance all the flavor notes … even desserts! Smoothies are no different. You don’t need much salt—literally just a pinch will do the trick—or you can incorporate ingredients that have a bit of naturally-occurring sodium, like coconut water, watermelon, or celery.
SMOOTHIE SECRET #4: ADD SUPERFOODS
Clearly superfoods add tons of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and more, but in some cases they can also offer unique and unexpected flavors. Adding cacao to a smoothie turns it into a chocolate shake. Adding frozen berries to a smoothie makes it taste like a freezerbox treat. Or, adding maca powder to a smoothie can offer a malty, caramel-like undertone. While superfoods are always a beneficial add-in to your blends, keep in mind they can sometimes elevate the entire taste experience, too.
SMOOTHIE SECRET #5: USE ICE
Want to know the secret of almost every great frosty smoothie you’ve ever had at a smoothie shop? It’s ice (or at the very least, using frozen ingredients). That’s because smoothies taste best very cold, and the distinctive difference between a smoothie made with something frozen versus one without may surprise you. So if you’re not already using lots of frozen ingredients (like frozen mangos or berries) in your blend, be sure to add in ½ cup or more of ice cubes at the end of blending, and process everything once more into a frosty bliss.
SMOOTHIE SECRET #6: BOOST THE SWEETNESS
If you sometimes find your smoothies lacking a little in flavor, try boosting the sweetness a touch—it’s often all a blend needs. Our favorite way to boost sweetness in smoothies is using stevia (especially easy-to-measure organic liquid stevia). Stevia is a natural herb that tastes extremely sweet, just like mint tastes minty, yet it has no sugar, no calories, and no effect on your glycemic index. The trick is to use very small quantities...just a few drops! So the next time your smoothie tastes a little flat, try adding a a little stevia and blending once more, and you may find your flavors suddenly come to life.
Looking for more smoothie tips and recipes? Enroll in our popular on-demand cooking course: Low-Sugar Superfood Smoothies. Or for 100 nutrient-dense recipes, grab a copy of Julie’s bestselling book, Superfood Smoothies.