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Eating veggies in the winter: Blend up a smoothie for fast nutrition

January 08, 2013|By CHRIS COPLEY | chrisc@herald-mail.com
  • Winter is a great time to get your kids to eat fruits and vegetables in smoothies. Vegetables in smoothies? Absolutely. Many vegetables are mild flavored and can be added to a fruit smoothie with little change in flavor.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

It's winter. Time to try new ideas for getting vegetables in your children.

I know what parents go through to get kids to eat vegetables. I was a kid once, and I hated finding vegetables I didn't like hidden in my food. I love pizza, but if a pizza had onions visible on it, I didn't eat it. If beef stew had green beans or peas in it, I plucked them out. Mushrooms in my soup? No way.

Now I'm older and my tastes have matured, and I find many vegetables delicious. Still, there are times when I don't have time to chop veggies for a big salad or cook up a soup or stew.

But I want to eat fresh veggies and fruits. So last summer I began making smoothies for lunch. Quick to make and quick to eat, and I can get six or seven fruits and vegetables down my gullet. It's a great way to get my fiber and a variety of nutrients.

My recipe for a smoothie is simple and flexible: Look on my counter for apples or bananas; look in my fridge for carrots, celery, lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower; and look in the freezer for frozen blueberries or peaches. Also, pull out apple juice or orange juice or a milk substitute such as almond milk or coconut milk.

I pour a good cup and a half of liquid into the blender and chop the produce into smaller shapes, so my blender can puree everything more easily. The smoothie is usually thick, so I add more liquid. My wife likes her smoothies thinner, so she adds even more liquid.

 And that's it. My smoothies are slightly sweet, but not too sweet, and they are rarely the same two days in a row. Sometimes they're white, sometimes orange, sometimes green, and always speckled with bits of apple skin, carrot, blueberry skin or lettuce.

My Big Bad Smoothie has a lot of flavors in it, but I've experimented with smoothies with fewer veggies and fruits. I've included two recipes here.



Ideas for smoothies:


Basic recipe for smoothies: 1 cup liquid, 2 medium fruits, 1/2 cup veggies and 1/2 cup greens. Yields about 16 ounces of smoothie.

  • Add 1 teaspoon of protein powder for extra nutrition.
  • Add a date for earthy sweetness.
  • Add half an avocado for rich creaminess.
  • Yogurt adds a creamy taste and protein.
  • On hot summer days, I add a handful of ice cubes or frozen fruit.
  • Too sweet? Add 1 tablespoon or 2 of plain yogurt, especially Greek-style yogurt.
  • Not sweet enough? Add 1 spoonful of berry jam or flavored yogurt.





Chris' Big Bad Smoothie


1/2 to 2 cups fruit juice or milk (see cook's note)

1 medium apple

1 banana

1 mango, kiwi or peach or 1/4 cup frozen berries

1 medium carrot

1 medium stalk celery

1 packed cup fresh lettuce, kale or spinach (see cook's note)

1/4 cup chopped cauliflower or broccoli


Pour liquid into blender or food processor. Core and chop apple. Peel banana and break in half. If using, peel and chop mango, kiwi or peach; discard pits. Add fruit to blender and puree. Add liquid as needed.

Chop carrot and celery and, if using, kale, broccoli and cauliflower. Add greens and veggies to blender and puree. Add liquid as needed.

Serve immediately or store for no more than two days in the refrigerator.

Serves 2.

Cook's note: I like to use 100 percent fruit juice or a milk substitute, such as almond milk or coconut milk. You could use water in place of juice or milk, or use ice in place of some liquid for a chilled smoothie. I use 1 big handful of washed, torn salad lettuce or spinach, 2 or 3 leaves romaine or 1 big leaf of kale.
— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor





Peanut butter fruit smoothie

1 1/2 cups apple juice or milk

1 medium apple

1 banana

1 medium stalk celery

2 tablespoons peanut butter, to taste



Pour liquid into blender. Core apple, chop, and add to blender. Peel banana and add to blender. Chop celery and add to blender.

Puree ingredients. Add peanut butter and puree. Add additional liquid as needed.

Serves 1.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor



Chocolate smoothie

1 1/4 cups milk or milk substitute

1 packed cup fresh spinach or lettuce

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (see cook's note)

1 dash nutmeg

2 dashes allspice

3 dashes coriander

2 bananas

6 ice cubes

1 tablespoon nut butter, to taste



Pour liquid into blender or food processor. Add spinach or greens and puree.

Add other ingredients to blender and puree. Scrape down sides and add additional liquid as needed.

Serves 1.

Cook's note: Use your favorite spice combination.

— Chris Copley, Lifestyle assistant editor





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