RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today.
In the summer, my stash of frozen banana chunks safely nestled in the freezer becomes more precious than gold. The reason for this -- and the constant march of ripening bananas across my countertop -- is that in the heat of these months, smoothies save my life. I live in Houston where, between June and September, temperatures creep up into the sweaty-is-a-natural-state-of-being range. Turning on the oven requires herculean effort. All I want to do is lie around and eat popsicles.
Still, staying fueled with healthy foods is always a top priority for me, and smoothies are so cooling, delicious and convenient -- often my nutrient vehicle of choice.
When I first started making smoothies, no one told me how much fun they are to eat from a bowl. There’s so much more texture potential thanks to a variety of toppings: crunchiness from a handful of nuts or granola, creaminess from a dollop of yogurt, juiciness from fresh fruit or a luxurious stickiness from a smear of nut butter. It’s kind of like cereal that you can dream into far greater, healthier heights.
Below you can find a recipe for my go-to green smoothie, but feel free to use any base you prefer. Change it up by swapping protein powder for a spoonful of almond butter, frozen berries instead of mango, or coconut water instead of almond milk. Try adding some avocado, cacao powder and peanut butter to a base of frozen banana, spinach and almond milk for a truly rich treat.
Just make sure to add plenty of toppings -- and to always have some ripe bananas stockpiled in the freezer!
The Big Green Smoothie Bowl 2 big handfuls spinach, kale or other greens ½ large frozen banana, sliced ½ cup frozen mango chunks 1 cup almond milk 1 tablespoon chia seeds 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
Put all ingredients into a blender, layering any greens on the bottom and frozen fruit on top (this helps press the loose greens down toward the blending action). Blend and pour into a bowl. Add toppings and eat with a spoon!
RED Hearts guest poster Erika Kwee is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.