Everything you should know (and buy) to kickstart a delicious, smoothie-filled 2018.
For Christmas, I received a new blender. It was my only request—the appliance that I knew would help me eat healthier in the New Year and completely upgrade the look of my kitchen. I am sure I am not alone in this. Plenty of you have probably unboxed a shiny new blender, which is now sitting—unused—on your kitchen counter, just waiting to be filled with fruit or vegetables or whatever else so-called healthy people blend together to make supposedly nutritious smoothies. It may even be one of your New Years Resolutions: Drink at least one nutrient-rich smoothie every day, to meet your health goals for 2018. Stating the resolution is one thing, but how do you put it into action? I get it, the process can be intimidating: There are seemingly endless combinations of fruits, vegetables, powders, and mixes that can be added to your smoothie. Take a deep breath, and remember that the key is to keep it simple. Putting your new blender to use doesn’t have to be stressful if you pick the products that make creating smoothies a cinch. Here are my picks for the ten items you need to keep smoothie making as simple as possible in 2018.
The first thing you need is frozen fruit. This will be base of most smoothies. My favorites are blueberries and bananas. Grab a couple bags at a time and simply dump as much as you want into the blender for your smoothie (I usually add about a cup). Another trick is to buy a bunch of bananas, peel them and then freeze them in Ziploc bag so you can use them over an extended period of time. You could use the same process with fresh fruit, but frozen fruit lasts longer, and some research suggests its actually more nutritious the fresh stuff.
365 Everyday Value, Frozen Organic Wild Blueberries, $4 on amazon.com
If I want to create a super-simple smoothie that doesn’t take a lot of assembly, I usually throw in a frozen pack of Acai berry puree along with the frozen fruit. I like Acai because it contains fiber and antioxidants, and gives the smoothie a pleasing deep purple color.
Amafruits Acai Berry Puree, 24-pack, $60 on amazon.com
You’ll need some liquid in your smoothie, and while water is always a reliable option, I usually add a cup of non-dairy milk (2018 could be the year you finally try all those nut milks you’ve been hearing about!). My favorite is coconut milk, but there are plenty of options out there, including almond, cashew, and even macadamia nut milk. If your blender is powerful enough, you may even try preparing your own nut milk. You can find our recipe for almond milk here.
So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk, 12-pack, $26 on amazon.com
There are so many powders and other add-ons that you can put in your smoothie to give it an extra boost of nutrition. Some people like chia seeds, which are packed with omega fatty acids and supposedly benefit brain health. Other people swear by collagen powder, which supports healthy skin. The choices can be overwhelming, but Amazing Grass makes a Wheatgrass powder that comes in individual serving packets, making it convenient to simply tear one open and pour it into your blender along with the rest of the ingredients. Alongside the frozen fruit, the bitter taste of the Wheatgrass is almost completely masked.
Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass Powder, Box of 15 Individual Servings, $16 on amazon.com
Protein powder is often considered another smoothie essential. This berry-flavored version by Vega contains 15 grams of protein and is multi-use: You can dump a tablespoon in your smoothie for a nutrient boost, or if you’re in a rush you can simply add it to water for easy drinking on the go.
Vega Protein Smoothie, Bodacious Berry, $15 on amazon.com
Need a shortcut to smoothie making? You have a couple options. Sunfood makes a smoothie mix that contains rice protein and chia powder. You can blend it with milk (either of the dairy or non-dairy variety) or water if you’re in a hurry. Otherwise, you can add a scoop to a traditional smoothie.
Sunfood Raw Organic Superfood Smoothie Mix, $20 on amazon.com
For convenience, Jamba Juice also makes so-called smoothie kits, which contain frozen fruit and yogurt. All you have to do is add your favorite juice.
Jamba Juice Smoothie, Caribbean Passion, 8-Pack, $40 on amazon.com
A to-go cup that attaches directly to your blender is a blessing. You can make single serving beverages inside of it, pop it off the body of the blender and take it with you to work or to the gym, without the (often) messy hassle of pouring the drink into an additional vessel, saving you both time and effort.
Nutri Ninja 24 oz Tritan Cups with Sip & Seal Lids, $22 on amazon.com
Vitamix also makes its own version, if that’s more your style.
Vitamix Personal Cup and Adapter, $129 on amazon.com
If you find that you prefer making quick, one serving smoothies instead of whole batches of your favorite beverage, you might try picking up a blender made exactly for that purpose, which makes it even easier to drink your smoothies for breakfast or as a quick snack between workouts.
Hamilton Beach Personal Single Serve Blender, $15 on amazon.com
Finally, you’ll need a book of recipes. Yes, you could probably come up with your own combination of fruits and vegetables to blend into your smoothies, but once your own imagination has run dry, why not turn to the experts? The author of the beautiful Big Book of Juices wrote a companion to that book all about smoothies.
The Big Book of Juices and Smoothies, $18 on amazon.com