A Few Delicious Variations on a Classic
Smoothies are a busy mom's best friend. Not only do they take all of two minutes to make, but they're perfect for such a wide variety of situations. Kids hungry after school? Smoothies are the perfect snack. Need a breakfast on the go? Pour your smoothie into a portable mug and hit the road. Dying of hunger but can't bear the thought of making another actual dinner? Smoothies for everyone! Strawberries and bananas are a can't-fail flavor combination, and the classic plus several variations should give you enough great recipes to put into rotation for a while.
You really don't need much more than strawberries and bananas to make a classic version of this smoothie, but a little ice (especially if your fruits aren't frozen) and milk helps thin out the texture. In the blender, toss 1 banana (sliced into pieces) with 1 cup of strawberries, 1 cup of milk and 1/2 cup of ice cubes. Process until the mixture is completely pureed, and serve immediately. You'll get about two medium servings from this recipe, which can easily be doubled or tripled. If the smoothie is too thin for your liking, add more banana slices. If it's too thick, add a little more ice or milk.
Green smoothies are simple and convenient for packing some more veggies into your day. Taking the time to steam and prepare some kale isn't always realistic (or appealing), but tossing a handful of kale into a smoothie takes 10 seconds and delivers the same nutrients in a better-tasting package. The key with green smoothies is to start small so that the bitter note of the greens doesn't overwhelm the rest of your ingredients. To your base recipe of 1 cup strawberries, 1 banana, 1/2 cup of ice cubes, and 1 cup of milk, add 1/2 cup of greens, such as spinach or kale. It will change the color of your smoothie, but shouldn't alter the taste much. Once you get used to that, gradually add more leafy greens each time you make the smoothie until you're putting in as much as 2 cups per batch.
Protein Power Smoothie
Smoothies are a staple of many plant-based diets, but often vegetarians and vegans don't get quite as much protein as omnivores. This protein-packed smoothie can help change that. In your blender, toss 1 cup of strawberries with 1 sliced banana and 1 cup of ice cubes. Add 1 cup of Greek yogurt, which can contain up to 20 grams of protein, and 1 scoop of whey protein powder, which contains about 25 grams of protein. Vegan? Use soy or coconut yogurt instead of Greek yogurt and pea or soy protein powder instead of whey powder.
Yearning to escape to a tropical island? It may not happen in reality, but at least the taste of your smoothie can hearken you there. This island-inspired variation is a great recipe to make when you have fresh sliced pineapple on hand; although you can use canned pineapple instead, the final product doesn't taste quite as bright or sweet. In a blender, combine 1/2 cup fresh pineapple slices with 1 sliced banana, 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 1/2 cup orange juice, 3/4 cup coconut milk and 3/4 cup ice cubes. Blend until pureed and serve with a small umbrella in your glass!
If you like your smoothies very thick, serving with a bowl and a spoon can be a fun alternative to a traditional bowl of oatmeal or cereal. To get that thick texture, use less liquid in your smoothie and freeze your fruit ahead of time. In the blender, combine 2 sliced frozen bananas with 2 cups of frozen strawberries and 1/2 cup of ice cubes. Drizzle in 1 tablespoon of honey if you need a little extra sweetness. Blend until the mixture is pureed but still very thick. Pour into a large, shallow bowl, eat with a spoon and serve with toast, eggs or yogurt.
A breakfast dream come true, overnight oats are immediately ready to eat when you wake up in the morning. They have a thick, smoothie-like texture even without blending, but you can blend the entire mixture in the morning to make your breakfast drinkable if you like. Before going to bed, set out a clean jar and fill it with 1/4 cup sliced strawberries, 1 sliced banana, 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 1/4 cup milk and a drizzle of honey. Stir the ingredients briefly, seal the jar closed, and store in the fridge overnight. In the morning, stir again and eat as is or blend the entire mixture to a thick puree before serving.
Carly Schuna has been freelance writing and editing for more than a decade. She enjoys putting a creative spin on pieces from her specialty areas of wellness, food and fitness, working to help people save money while maximizing their health. In recipe developing, she loves finding ways to put a healthy spin on the classics to boost nutrition for the whole family without sacrificing taste.