For every amazing smoothie recipe I've created, I've had a least two flops. Meaning, I tried a little of this and a little of that, only to choke it back because I went overboard on something. All my experiments will help you, because I'm going to share my top five smoothie fixes.
A smoothie fix is an ingredient that makes your smoothie taste good even if you've added too much blue-green algae.
A super food in its own right, avocados also make your smoothie right. They are a wonderful alternative to the loyal banana because they provide a smooth buttery texture. Not only do they make your smoothie taste creamy, but they add a mega-dose of nutrients including good monounsaturated fat, which can help lower total and LDL cholesterol in studies. They are an excellent source of potassium (in fact, two to three times more potassium than a banana), vitamin E, B complex and fibre. Remove the hard skin and the pit and toss the entire avocado in your smoothie!
For those watching their sugar intake or those who just want a sweet taste minus the calories, stevia is an excellent choice. Stevia is a natural sweetener extracted from the Stevia rebaudiana plant and it's 300 times sweeter than table sugar. There are a variety of brands available, but don't give up on your first try if you find it has an unappetizing aftertaste, because not all brands do.
Cinnamon is yet another super food that adds a wonderfully aromatic smell and sweet taste without the added calories or sugar. Interestingly, during the Middle Ages, most meals were prepared in a single cauldron: casseroles containing both meat and fruit were common and cinnamon helped bridge the flavours. So it's no surprise that cinnamon is still popular today, as it combines well with any ingredients. Not only is it delicious, but it is highly nutritious. It has been studied extensively for its ability to lower blood sugar and positive effect on lowering cholesterol. Add one teaspoon to your smoothie and it will mask any taste you don't like.
Want a fresh and uplifting flavour in your smoothie that also increases the antioxidant content? Then toss in a handful of fresh mint. Don't go overboard because you don't want your smoothie to taste like toothpaste. Not only does mint mask any bad taste if you go overboard with fish oil or algae ingredients, but it does a wonderful job relieving gas and spasms of the gastrointestinal tract. Peppermint has also been shown to contain a compound known as perillyl alcohol that inhibits the growth and formation of cancer. Make sure you purchase organic peppermint to avoid pesticide exposure, wash it well and toss a generous handful into your smoothie.
Lastly, we've all made the mistake of adding too much of any one ingredient. How to avoid a chalky smoothie? Don't go overboard on the protein powder. More doesn't necessarily mean better. Stick to the recommended scoop size, otherwise you risk your smoothie tasting like wallpaper paste. If you do end up adding too much, simple split the ingredients you've combined together and leave half of it in the fridge for your smoothie the next day.
Joy McCarthy, registered holistic nutritionist and health coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. She also teaches an array of wellness workshops and co-creator of Eat Well Feel Well, a six-week nutrition and yoga course in Toronto. Joy welcomes your questions or comments.