Summer Smoothies

There is nothing better than a good cold smoothie! I make this daily. All my kids now like them for breakfast or after school snacks. I start with a banana - fresh or frozen. Freeze bananas that are getting REALLY ripe in freezer bags. Cut them into chunks to make it easier on the blender! After bananas I add frozen mangos - Trader Joe's has the best ones. Then either frozen blueberries or raspberries. Add milk and yogurt for protein, and if your kids will eat a green smoothie add baby spinach - you don't even taste it! Of course this is not just for kids - add spinach in your own smoothie! My kids love when I add coconut oil and vanilla. Also fun is chia seeds and hemp hearts. More great protein as well as omega 3 fatty acids.

Here are a few more ideas to get your started ::

Kale spinach and pear smoothie 

1 heaping cup spinach leaves
1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves
1/2 pear
1 frozen banana
1 1/2 cups cold almond milk (or soy milk or orange juice)
1 tablespoon honey
Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop.  In a blender, combine kale spinach and almond milk.  Blend until no big kale bits remain.  Stop blender and add banana honey and pear.  Blend until smooth.  Enjoy immediately.  Heck yea!

Banana-Date Smoothie

Serves 2

2 medium bananas, ripe
1/4 cup pitted dates, such as Medjool
2 cups almond milk
2 teaspoons chia seeds, soaked if time allows (see Recipe Note)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 lime, juiced
4 ice cubes
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of sea saltIf time allows, soak the chia seeds in 4 teaspoons of water for an hour. The chia seeds will turn into gel, making them easier to blend. Larger batches of chia seeds can also be soaked (2:1 ratio water to chia seeds) and kept refrigerated for up to a week.

Blueberry avocado smoothie

1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 avocado, pitted
2 tbsp Greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups low fat milk
Dash of vanilla
Dash of maple syrup

Chocolate Banana smoothie 

2 frozen bananas, sliced
4 shots espresso, cooled
1 1/2 cups milk (see note above)
2 teaspoons raw cacao powder or regular cocoa powder
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

Combine all ingredients in a blender and purée on high until smooth, about one minute. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt. Best if served immediately. (Makes about 4 cups total.)