Blend up these winter smoothies
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
These yummy winter smoothies find the perfect balance between healthy and comforting.
In recent years, the whiz of blenders can be heard radiating from an increasing number of households. That’s because more people are realizing that when the right ingredients are blended together, a smoothie can flood the body with a cornucopia of vital nutrients for good health in a tasty package.
But who says frosty smoothies are just for summer? In fact, some of the foods more associated with sweater weather than with flip-flop season make for truly delicious blender creations. Everything from butternut squash to pears and cabbage (yes, seriously!) can be used to up the nutritional ante of your smoothies.
So don’t give your blender the winter off. Here’s how to infuse your smoothies with some sensational seasonal flair.
Blend it like Beckham
Whether you’re a soccer star or a gym regular, finish your workout on a delicious note with a recovery smoothie. Studies have shown that drinking a beverage rich in dairy protein right after exercise can help maximize muscle growth. This Chai Squash Smoothie ups the protein ante by combining ground flaxseed with kefir—yogurt’s cooler cousin and an excellent source of dairy protein. Drink up!
There is more to making a great winter smoothie than just tossing everything into your blender and pushing the button. Take heed of these tips for smoothie-making perfection.
Strike a balance
A healthy smoothie should contain a good mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to give your drink some staying power. Whole fruits and vegetables supply energizing carbohydrates, while yogurt, creamy cheeses such as ricotta, or even silky tofu can bolster protein numbers. Protein powders work, too. Nuts, nut butters, and seeds are an easy way to whiz in body-friendly fats.
Follow the leader
For better blending, add liquids first to your container, then soft items such as fruits or yogurt, and finally frozen items such as banana or ice cubes. This helps lubricate the blender’s blades so they’ll easily cut through the harder stuff and also extend the lifespan of less powerful machines. If your blender has a speed adjustment knob, begin at the lowest blender speed, then work your way up to high.
Go easy on liquid
If you’re experimenting with a smoothie combination, be conservative with liquids such as milk or fruit juice. It’s better to add more liquid after the fact if the mixture is too thick than to have to add in additional ingredients such as frozen banana if your smoothie comes out too watery.
Let ’er rip
When working with raw vegetables and frozen items, it’s best to let your machine run for at least one minute for the smoothest texture. Of course, more powerful machines will get the job done more quickly.
Winter squash and even sweet potato can infuse smoothies with seasonal sweet flavour. To expedite the process, peel and steam squash or potato until tender and then mash. Freeze the purée in muffin cups and then store in an airtight container in your freezer for ready-to-go smoothie servings. You can even do the same with chopped steamed winter greens such as kale.
Fire and ice
Want your smoothies to go? A high quality insulated flask can keep your blender creations cold or hot for a number of hours.
Make post-smoothie cleanup a breeze by simply blending dish soap with some hot water. Be sure to rinse thoroughly afterwards to remove any soap before letting the pitcher dry.
Why settle for plain-Jane water ice cubes when you can add subtle tropical sweetness by using coconut ice cubes? Simply freeze potassium-rich coconut water in ice-cube trays and add them to any smoothie recipe calling for ice cubes. You can do the same with items such as brewed coffee, green tea, and fruit juice.