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Upping Your Smoothie Game
by Patrick McHale, EEFC Promotions & Merchandising Coordinator

Smoothies are a great choice for an on-the-go snack if you don't have time to sit down and eat a full meal. Often, however, smoothies made at home fail to live up to those you can get out and about. So what can you do to up your smoothie game? Below are some tips from the Co-op's smoothie experts! Wash up first.

If you're using fresh fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash your produce before blending or freezing. If you're not using organic or unsprayed produce, consider removing the peels and skins as they contain the largest amount of pesticides.

Freeze your own fruit.
Frozen fruit gives smoothies a great texture. Buy fruit when it is in season and then wash, peel, and freeze it for later use.

Add ingredients in order.
When making your smoothie, add ingredients in this order for best results: liquid, frozen fruit, powders/add-ins, ice, and then fresh fruit last. Make sure not to fill your jar too full. And remember, starting out, that it's better to begin with not enough liquid than too much. You can always put more in later if you need it.

Blend fully.
Blend the ingredients until they are fully circulating for at least 5-10 seconds until the contents are liquefied. The contents at the top should be swirling and moving back down to the bottom. The time it takes varies depending on the power of your motor and how full your jar is. Most blenders will achieve proper circulation in about 30-45 seconds. (Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it with experience!)

Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables.
Now that you've got the steps down to make your awesome smoothie, what should you put in it? Some all-time favorites are, of course, bananas, berries, mangoes, pineapples, apples, and pears. That's not all you can use, though. Mix it up by adding papaya, kiwi, or watermelon. Don't forget to include some greens as well. Try using spinach or kale and, thinking green, try some fresh herbs like mint or basil.

Add more stuff.
Besides the fruit and veggies, other ingredients can make your smoothie healthier and more filling. Throwing in nuts, whether straight out of the shell or crushed into butter, will contribute healthy fats and proteins. Yogurt gives a probiotic boost as well as a tangy twist. You can also include supplements to round out the nutritional value. Some common add-ins are protein and vitamin powders, spirulina, wheat or barley grass powder, and wheat germ.

Bottoms up!

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