For a healthy energy boost, and a hearty dose of vitamins and minerals, try a freshly blended smoothie. We've put together a magic formula, as well as three creative recipes to take the guesswork out of whipping up the perfect beverage. All you need to do is choose your smoothie adventure, and pack your blender with antioxidant-rich berries, chia seeds, and fresh herbs such as basil and rosemary leaves. Then, give it a whirl and enjoy.
Produce: 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups Fruit: Berries, banana (half a medium one equals 1/2 cup), melon, pitted cherries, avocado or pineapple Vegetables: Cucumber, mashed pumpkin, mashed squash, spinach or kale + Ice and/or frozen fruit: 1/2 to 1 cup + Liquid: 1/2 to 1 cup juice, iced tea, coconut water, H2O or unsweetened nut milk (such as almond) + Protein: 2 Tbsp. nut butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds or protein powder
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Want to add protein powder?
A few pointers on powering up your beverage:
Think whey Whey protein powder dissolves well and lends a creamy texture. Plus, it's a complete proteinthat is, it contains all nine essential amino acids. Choose organic to avoid the growth hormone rBGH.
Watch out for sugar Look for the lowest-sugar options you can find (there are several with as little as 1 to 2 grams per serving). Add your own sweetener as needed. Also, be sure there are no artificial sweeteners in the ingredients list.
Beware of the jitters If a product promises to up your energy, check the label for mate or coffee extract; the powder may contain caffeine.
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Master your blender
Know your power If your blender is an older model, with dull blades or a weak motor, stick to fresh fruit instead of frozen, and blend in ice cubes gradually at the end.
Dry goes last Add protein powder, chia seeds or hulled hemp seeds after all other ingredients to keep them from sticking to the bottom. (Ice may go last if your blender is older.)
Take a break If you have trouble blending, stop the machine and let the ingredients sit for a few minutes to soften. Or add a little more liquid, a tablespoon at a time.