The Secret to a Satisfying Smoothie

When the hot weather hits, our thoughts turn to fruity frozen beverages. Plug in the blender and get mixing!
Blender
Summer's here — and on decks everywhere, blenders are whirring away, full of juice and fresh fruit at the peak of ripeness. Possibly the perfect solution for dessert, these smoothies could also stand in as creamy breakfasts for those of you who just can't tolerate solid food first thing in the morning.

Before you stick a straw in that blender, bear in mind that sucking down a smoothie that's filled with two bananas, a cup of berries, or any high-quantity fruit isn't exactly the same as eating these 0 PointsPlus values foods in their natural state. To keep your weight-loss efforts on track, be sure to put any smoothie recipe through our Recipe Builder and track your servings.

Want to be the best smoothie master on the block? To make your own, you'll need a sturdy blender and your favorite ingredients. Keep these seven tips in mind for the perfect summer smoothie:


1. Buy a blender with multiple speeds, preferably one with a glass canister that allows you to see what's going on inside. The best blenders let you blend smoothly and also pulse in quick shots.

2. Always smell fruit before you buy it. If it doesn't smell like anything, chances are it won't taste like anything either.

3. To make a cool, smooth drink that's not watered down by ice, partially freeze fruit before you blend it. Arrange berries, peach slices or peeled bananas on a cookie sheet and freeze 1½ hours, until they're partially frozen (not rock hard).

4. Put the fresh fruit in the blender before you add any ice or partially frozen fruit. This may sound odd, but you want the fruit to puree first, so the ice has something to blend into. Ice on the bottom results in needlessly spinning blades.

5. Partially melted ice makes a creamier smoothie. Take slightly more ice than the recipe calls for out of the freezer, let it stand at room temperature for 10 minutes, then drain the water and use whatever ice you need.

6. Frozen nonfat yogurt, sherbet and sorbet make terrific additions to dessert smoothies, but they need to be softened slightly for the creamiest drink. Let stand for 10 minutes at room temperature before using.

7. Decorate your drinks with non-food toppers such as paper umbrellas, plastic monkeys and tall straws, rather than potentially fattening garnishes.

Here are two classic smoothies, perfect for summer. Once you get comfortable with the formula, experiment with your own combinations.

Banana-Berry Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup partially frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup partially frozen banana slices

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to blender in order listed; pulse twice, then blend until smooth.

Mango-Peach Smoothie

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 cup peeled, chopped mango
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped peach
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup softened ice (see tip #5 above on softening ice)

Instructions

  1. Add ingredients to blender in order listed; pulse twice, then blend until smooth.

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