Anyone else feeling the need for a post-holiday reboot? Party food and cookies notwithstanding, the bigger assault to my system just so happened to come by way of a nasty virus that hit me just days before Christmas.
Instead of attending a long-planned dinner out with my cousins, a fancy holiday party, and my family’s annual Christmas Eve celebrations, I spent the three nights before Christmas barely holding my head up after doing my best to scrape through the always busy days before Christmas. Happily, I rallied on the 25th and truly enjoyed the day.
Whether in need of a mild dietary detox or an antidote to a cold or the flu, smoothies offer a perfect solution. With the right ingredients, smoothies can be nutrient-rich, hydrating, and delicious. The addition of protein makes them a satisfying meal replacer, and the built-in frostiness will soothe–at least temporarily–even the most severe sore throat. Plus they’re quick to make with items easily stored in the freezer and pantry–no jumping through hoops required!
For added ease, the following thick and creamy smoothie–which my kids happen to adore–requires just five ingredients. A combination of pineapple and strawberries creates a pretty pink drink, and the addition of vanilla protein powder provides staying power and added flavor.
Because this smoothie is a favorite in our house, I’ve made it many different ways over the years based on what I have on hand or to simply experiment. Although the recipe calls for frozen fruit, which creates a thick, spoonable smoothie, you may use fresh seasonal fruit if you like a thinner consistency that can be sipped through a straw. Or to maintain some of that satisfying thickness, start with a little less liquid or add a half cup or so of ice.
Because not all protein powders are created equal, I recommend choosing a brand you trust and looking at the list of ingredients. For both taste and quality of ingredients, two of my favorite options are powders made by Bob’s Red Mill and Healthy Skoop. Lately, I’ve been using the Bob’s option, and I recently starting sprinkling a little extra on top. Seriously, I have never been tempted to do that with a protein powder before, but this one’s really good!
Yield: one 16-ounce or two 8-ounce smoothies
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks*
- ½ cup frozen strawberries** (slightly rounded to account for space between the whole berries)
- 1 small frozen banana or half a large, cut into chunks*** (about 3 ounces or 80 grams without peel)
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk, unsweetened (from carton; may sub milk of choice)
- 1 scoop (20 grams) vanilla protein powder (I really like Bob’s Red Mill’s vanilla powder)
Add all of the ingredients to a blender and process until smooth, scraping down the sides and giving a stir as needed. I find it helpful to stir in the protein powder first so it doesn’t poof up and stick to the sides of the blender. Use the blender’s tamper to keep the mixture churning, if necessary. If you don’t have a high-powered blender or prefer a thinner smoothie, you may add more milk.
- *I prefer to use frozen fruit. If using fresh, especially in the case of the pineapple, the smoothie won’t be as thick. In this case, you may want to experiment with a little less milk and perhaps a handful or two of ice.
- **For a slightly tangier smoothie, you may use a half cup of red raspberries instead of strawberries. I’ve also made this with half red and half blackberries. When using tarter raspberries, you may wish to add a teaspoon or two of honey.
- ***For those who don’t care for bananas or have any on hand, I have made this smoothie several times without. The banana does add thickness, creaminess, and natural sweetness without tasting strongly of banana, but it’s still tasty without.
- I sometimes top with a spoonful or two of vanilla yogurt when I’m splitting the smoothie into two smaller portions and want the servings to be a bit more filling. You may choose your favorite variety of yogurt, although this is purely optional.