Fall is here! Some of my favorite things about this season area cozy scarves, changing leaves and of course pumpkin spice lattes. But don’t pack away that blender quite yet! Just because the leaves are changing, doesn’t mean that we must put our summer favorites into storage.
Many people associate smoothies with summer, but why? What’s better to soothe those sore throats that are so common in the fall and winter months? In fact, the winter months are when our nutrient stores are often the lowest and probably when our bodies crave the nutrients smoothies provide the most. I often recommend smoothies to my clients, especially because so many of them experience digestive problems. Smoothies are high in fiber, but so easily digested and absorbed.
Here’s why smoothies are so good.
So, keep those blenders out and your freezers full of your smoothie favorites!
The Perfect Smoothie Formula
Finding the perfect smoothie formula can be challenging. I have noticed two BIG roadblocks to making smoothies:
People are overwhelmed by the possibilities of ingredients
They have one recipe that they use every time, and then eventually get tired of it.
Luckily, there is a simple solution that I’d like to share with you! Here is a formula I follow for delicious smoothies every time:
2 small handfuls frozen or fresh fruit
2-4 tablespoons protein powder
2 tablespoons binder
1.5 tablespoons oil
1.5 cups liquid
1 tablespoon sweetener (optional, less or more as needed)
optional superfoods, greens, and other ingredients
6 ice cubes (omit if soft fruit is frozen)
Fresh or Frozen Fruit Ideas
½ banana, or 1 small
Strawberries (you can leave the greens on if you have a power blender)
Other berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
Almond butter or nut butter
Soaked raw almonds (soak for several hours and rinse before using)
Rolled oats, whole or ground
Avocado, flaxseed, hemp, coconut, olive oil
Almond or macadamia oil
Udo’s 1-in-3 oil
Optional Superfoods, Greens and other ingredients
Delicious Greens or Dynamic Fruits & Greens
Cacao nibs (1-2 tablespoons)
Carob chips (1-2 tablespoons)
Ground organic cinnamon (1-2 teaspoons)
Chia seeds, whole or ground (1-2 tablespoons)
Whole spinach leaves (1-2 handfuls)
Jalapeno pepper, seeds and stem removed (one small pepper)
Ground cayenne pepper (small pinch)
Lemon or lime juice (1 tablespoon)
It’s always a good idea to eat seasonal food because they are often fresher, more nutrient dense and usually tastier! It also helps to support local farmers, but sometimes it’s hard to know which fruits and veggies are seasonal because so many are imported from other states! Below you will see some smoothies with Midwest ingredients, in case you want some more ideas.
In the Midwest, Fall is one of our most fruitful seasons (other than summer). I love to experiment with different smoothie tastes during the fall. Pumpkin, cinnamon and apple add great flavors to these delicious drinks.
Winter is the most difficult time of year to maintain a healthy diet, which is why smoothies are so important! With our entire region blanketed in snow, nothing edible really grows. My best advice for this season is to freeze your produce from summer and fall so that you can preserve its freshness for the winter when you want it. When winter comes around our bodies need foods that boost our immunity and mood. Not to mention, we always need helpful nutrients that will balance out some of those holiday cookies.
This season, you need foods high in vitamin C and beta-carotene, and citrus, cabbage, broccoli, berries, pumpkin, and spinach are all items that you could freeze. Freezing an orange sounds weird, right? Citrus fruits will maintain their quality in the freezer for up to 6 months. I recommend freezing them peeled and sectioned to make blending easier. You think you won’t be in the mood for a frozen treat this time of year? Try it hot!
In many areas in our country, spring is the season of plentiful produce. Unfortunately, the ice usually hasn’t thawed enough for us here in the Midwest to begin growing. However, there are some veggies that can withstand the cold wet spring!
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, summer is the stereotypical season of smoothies. So, you shouldn’t need much help coming up with ideas. Summer is also a great time for us to eat locally! Here are a few of my favorite Minnesota summer fruits and veggies:
Now you’re ready for smoothies any time of the year! See if you can make a fall smoothie following my formula above!
Fall: Orange cranberry smoothie or apple pie smoothie
Winter: Winter Berry Smoothie or a warm ginger pear smoothie
Spring: Strawberry beet smoothie, or carrot ginger smoothie
Summer: Blueberry mint or a “rainbow” smoothie (use every color of the rainbow)
For more smoothie ideas:
Dr Mark Hyman's Blog
Rebecca Katz's Blog
For more information on seasonal produce in your region:
Check out this great tool.