Continuing the healthy living discussion, it probably is no surprise that smoothies are a big part of our family’s daily lives. Over the last several years, smoothies have really grown in popularity, with franchises popping up everywhere. But buying smoothies can be expensive to your wallet and your waistline. They are often loaded with sugar and who knows what else. So the Miller family makes our own smoothies, most every day. The kids love them as much as Mark and I do and everyone drinks them a little differently.
I used to put greens in our smoothies but I have one child with a picky palate who can taste it and balked immediately, and honestly, I really do get plenty of veggies in most days so I don’t put them in my smoothies anymore either.
My husband drinks his smoothies with greek yogurt, milk, bananas, whey protein powder and ice. I am careful with dairy consumption so my go to is unsweetened almond milk, soy/dairy free protein powder and some type of fruit (usually frozen berries or 1/2 banana.) For the kids, I use homemade yogurt,* whatever fruit we have handy, a splash of milk or juice and ice.
We received a really nice blender for a wedding gift but it died about four years ago. After attempting various cheaper versions for about a year, we decided to invest in a Vitamix. While it was a big purchase, we have felt it was most definitely worth the money. It is used daily for smoothie making, but I also use it to puree soups, make nut butters, sorbets, nut milks, etc… The list goes on but having a work horse of a blender has been great for our family. We bought this one from Williams Sonoma and when we purchased ours, they had an offer where you could take their one-hour course (which I found to be both fun and helpful) and in return save a % of money and receive an extra container. Well worth the time!
And as for yogurt, a few years ago I was growing frustrated at the ridiculous amounts of sugar laden yogurt in small plastic containers my kids plowed through. A friend suggested that I just make the yogurt myself. At first, I thought that was a crazy idea, don’t I already have my hands full with everything else I’m doing for my family in the kitchen? But after researching it a bit, I realized that it really didn’t take much extra effort on my part, it was an inexpensive investment and I could control the kind and amount of sugar the kids get when they eat it. In the long run, it has proven to be a huge cost saver as well.
I use this yogurt maker and I buy my cultures from CulturesforHealth.com. Don’t be impressed, the machine does almost all of the work, I promise! I just boil the milk, let it cool, add the cultures and then pour it into the individual glass containers to cook. 10-12 hours later, voila, it’s done! And over time, I have been able to minimally sweeten it for my kids (just a splash of maple syrup or a dollop of jam.) We have fresh yogurt for parfaits and smoothies for everyone.
And yes, even though it’s crazy cold here in the winter, we still drink smoothies year round. I usually drink my smoothie at the gym, so I’m already plenty warm, and my husband and the kids are not fair weather consumers!
Are you a fan of smoothies? Share your favorite recipe in the comments section – I’d love to hear about it!