Sure, spring means cleaning out our homes, cars and junk drawers.
But brighter days and chirping birds also inspire thoughts of becoming lighter on our feet.
That’s one motivation helping make smoothies all the rage among health, fitness and green-living gurus. Easy and convenient, a simple smoothie can provide a quick, healthful boost.
So now we see them almost everywhere from McDonald’s to the local coffee shop.
“Smoothies are great because they’re easy on digestion and charge your body with vitamins and nutrients,” says Whole Living magazine editor in chief Alanna Stang.
She adds that consumer interest in “detox diets” and cleanses is driving more people to put their blenders to the test.
These are people who know better than to be wooed by just any frothy, fruity concoction. They want to control the purity of their ingredients. And with over-the-counter smoothies costing upwards of $5, homemade smoothies offer an economical alternative.
The most healthful smoothies, Stang says, limit artificial ingredients and benefit from fresh, natural mixes rich in antioxidants and vitamins. Using organic ingredients also means your smoothie will be of the highest quality, pesticide- and hormone-free.
“Spring is a great time to recommit to a healthier eating regimen,” Stang says. “And with all the delicious produce finally making its way to farmers’ market(s), it’s easy to eat clean, fresh food.”
Just giving your body a rest from processed foods for a few days and loading up on fruits and vegetables can kick-start a natural detoxification process.
And today’s smoothie recipes are far from boring. Now more than just fruit and ice blended with yogurt or milk, these days smoothies take an array of exotic fruits and vegetables, along with the unexpected like ginger, prune and avocado.
From sweet to savory, there’s a smoothie recipe that can meet any dietary restriction — gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, you name it.
For those who “eat” smoothies as a meal replacement, Stang recommends that each glass have at least 250 calories and 10 grams of protein.
“Experiment with fibrous spring produce like beets, leafy greens, and rhubarb to make them filling,” she says.
For those looking to lose weight, she suggests simple recipes with fewer than three ingredients and less than 200 calories per glass.
Mango-Coconut Water Smoothie
This recipe from Whole Living magazine is part of “25 Quick and Easy Smoothie Recipes” listed on its website. Serves 2.
2 cups ripe mango chunks (from 1-2 mangos)
2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cups unsweetened coconut water
Pinch of cayenne powder
Combine all ingredients in a blender, and blend until smooth.
Effortless at-home smoothies
Creativity is key when it comes to smoothies, but you don’t have to go it alone. There are scads of unique recipes to suit any taste. Try one of these resources to track down your dream smoothie recipe.