Make a Great Shake | 3 Ways to Blend Better

Not to brag but I’ve been sipping on smoothies long before they were cool. Mhm, that’s right—#trendsetter over here, thanks to my all-star mom who would send me off to high school with a paper bagged lunch in one hand and a protein-packed travel cup of vanilla goodness in the other. Instagram-worthy shakes have been a staple in my diet ever since. I mean, not only are they a quick and easy way to load up on key nutrients without dirtying a single dish, if you make them right, it’s like dessert sans guilt.

Let me guess, you’re not feeling the warm and fuzzies from the coolest bev on the block. Yours always seem to come out too watery, too chalky, too green, too ___. Blame your blender all you want but trust me, something is off—I’m here to help, though! Here are my three secrets to creamy, “I want this for every meal!” smoothies that satisfy.

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  1. Balance is power. It may seem à la Food Network to throw half of your recent Whole Foods trip into your Vitamix, but (spoiler alert!) you will most likely end up with a chunky, ugly mess. Start with 8 fluid ounces of water/unsweetened nut milk, a scoop of protein powder and one cup of frozen fruit (more to come on that ASAP). Then, depending on your desired texture, add in a tablespoon or two of nuts/seeds (chia seeds are my go-to because of their thickening properties!) for a satiating healthy fat component and a few ice cubes—preferably crushed. Blend until smooth!

  2. Choose frozen over fresh. Okay, hear me out. Besides being better on your wallet (win!), frozen fruit yields a rich, dense and chilled smoothie consistency without needing a ton of ice. Plus, produce is frozen at their peak ripeness so they retain both optimal flavor and nutrition. Now, here’s the most important thing you’ll read in this whole post: Frozen bananas are the secret to that sweet and smooth sip from your local juice bar. With that being said, so many people pop ’em into the freezer whole—peel and all. Save yourself a mess and major time-suck! Shed it first before slicing the fruit up into a few chunks and storing it in a zip-lock bag. Other MVPs in my freezer include blueberries, cherries, pineapple and mango.

  3. Add a superfood flair. Here’s where things can get exciting! Without compromising flavor, you—yes, you—can add in green tea, greens, oats or even a chunk of avocado. Heck, let’s get wild and sneak in some sweet potato, cauliflower rice or quinoa! Should your smoothie be froyo-like, add a little crunch with goji berries, hemp hearts, coconut flakes and cacao nibs on top. Dig in!

lauren cardarelli