This summer, in the UK, we’ve been blessed with some beautiful warm and sunny weather, perfect for barbecues and al fresco dining. When we feel too hot and sticky we often don’t want to eat much yet feel the need for something other than water to rehydrate. Instead of reaching for diet or regular fizzy drinks, ice creams and lollies, try making one of these tasty fruit smoothies.
Using fresh ingredients such as fruit, plain live yogurt, vegetable or fruit juices (not from concentrate), cold-pressed oils, herbs and ice, you can make the most delicious combinations. It’s easy to find a flavour for everyone 🙂
Here are some of my family’s favourites:
Strawberry and banana yogurt smoothie
Blend 1 small ripe banana, 4-5 strawberries, 2 dessertspoons of yogurt with ice cubes and a little water to achieve desired consistency (per adult; two young children will probably share this amount).
If you prefer a sweeter taste (or you’re trying to wean your family off of sugar and processed foods) then simple add a cup of pineapple or apple juice. (See picture at top of post)
Blend a ripe banana, 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa powder, 1-2 teaspoons of peanut butter (I use a sugar free, crunchy version by Whole Earth), a shot of cooled espresso coffee, a cup of soya milk and ice cube s. The more milk you add, the runnier the result. Much healthier than a large latte as it contains extra protein to keep you full for longer!
Slice a mango (if you’re not sure which way to slice a ripe mango – which does have a tendency to get rather messy! – simply check out one of the many online tutorials.) and turn into two ‘hedgehogs’ before slicing off the squares into your blender. Add freshly squeezed orange juice (or use supermarket juice NOT from concentrate.) and ice cubes. Blend into a brightly coloured juice full of vitamins.
Apple, carrot, celery with avocado, pineapple and basil
If you have a juicer, this is the perfect start to a healthy and unique juice. To make this juice, begin with a blend of apple, carrot and celery before pouring into a blender with a ripe avocado and some chopped fresh pineapple.
On this occasion I added some fresh basil leaves to add a twist. Ideally, I would add a handful of baby spinach leaves to give a richer, greener colour.
We always keep a good supply of frozen berries to blend into nutritious breakfast drinks or, in winter, to add to cooking apples for a twist on traditional apple crumble (cobbler).
If you use predominantly red berries – strawberries and raspberries – you’ll get a pink coloured drink; mainly blueberries, blackcurrants or blackberries will give a blue/purple drink. Personally, I prefer to use a fairly even mix of raspberries, blueberries and blackcurrants.
Simply add a handful of each to live yogurt, a ripe banana (if desired), hemp or flaxseed oil and some ice or a little water. Your family may prefer a little extra sweetness (berries can be fairly tart) then add either half a cup of pineapple juice or a drizzle of runny honey. It is suggested that using locally produced honey may have enhanced health benefits. I think it’s also good to support local economy and small businesses/farms.
Watermelon Rum Cocktail
If you’re entertaining health-conscious friends this summer at a home bbq, try offering this delicious vitamin rich cocktail as a pre-dinner appetiser.
Cut a watermelon into segments and scoop the flesh into your blender with some rum and mint leaves. Whizz together then pour over crushed ice and serve with striped paper straws for a vintage British summer feel.
Granita for kids
If your children are anything like mine they’ll love to drink ‘slush’ whenever they find it in a cafe or amusement park! Thankfully, we see less of the bright red and blue artificially coloured versions and more of the pale tropical/lemon and lime flavours. When I was a child we were able to buy this from our local corner shop when we had enough money! If not, then we stuck with a Mr Freeze – the frozen juice in a long ruler shaped plastic wrapper – that melted in the sun and enabled us to drink the last section… A sign that summer was upon us; endless days playing and visiting the beach or countryside. I digress, but I think you get the idea that food and emotions are intrinsically linked. Make your kids their own ‘slush’ and they’ll talk about it for months!
You’ll need a blender with an ‘ice crush’ setting – trust me when I say it’s worth every extra penny you spend!
In the past I’ve made my own ice cubes but this is a tiresome process that rarely provides adequate for a decent slush, so instead, buy a bag of ice from your supermarket (it should be in the aisle of frozen food, either by ice cream or frozen fish).
In this photo I made a jug of fruit cocktail (for my daughter’s party) using a blend of orange, pineapple and passionfruit juice. I poured this over the crushed ice, added a small amount of grenadine to give a sunrise effect, then added a straw and a mint leaf for decoration. (I believe that we should always try to present food in a positive, creative way to our children as it enables them to grow up with a healthier attitude towards their diet.)
This granita turned out more like a dessert, eaten with a spoon. I blended the ice cubes with a mixture of frozen berries and watched as the large cubes were transformed into a cute, almost powdery, coloured blend. I found that one daughter loved the slightly bitter berry taste while the other said it needed to be sweeter. If you use regular sugar then a simple half a teaspoon sprinkled on top may do the trick. If not, then a sugar substitute – especially in syrup form, like Agave – will be delicious 🙂
Finally, the perfect start to your day will include some beetroot for enhanced oxygen usage (i.e. that Zumba class may feel slightly easier over time!):
Breakfast Beetroot Juice
In a juicer, pop through apple, carrot, celery and beetroot for a pure, healthy start to the day. Vary the types of apples for different flavours and colours. Wash and peel beetroot first otherwise you get a very earthy flavour. Carrots can be left with skin on to,provide extra goodness, but ensure they’re washed well if non-organic.
Enjoy your juice first thing, before solid food, for maximum benefit to your system. Allow another 20 minutes before eating.
Smoothies can be enjoyed at any time of day…mid morning snacks, a low-calorie lunch, an afternoon booster or an after dinner dessert. If you’re underweight or have recently lost weight following surgery or illness, try a yogurt and protein rich smoothie an hour or two before bed. E.g. Yogurt, banana, almonds, hemp seed oil.
I look forward to reading your comments and smoothie success stories.
Until next week,