Smooth Operators

The Best Blenders and Smoothie Recipes

Smooth Operators - The Best Blenders and Smoothie Recipes
After breaking two blenders in less than a year’s time, I learned my lesson: a good blender is a great investment if you plan on making smoothies any time in the foreseeable future. And, today’s high-powered blenders do more than just whip up light and airy protein-based concoctions, frozen drinks and freshly pressed vegetable juices. They are mutli-functional kitchen appliances that can also make everything from salsa and almond butter to hot soup.

Choosing the Right Blender

When picking out a blender, the first thing you have to determine is what you may use it for. If the normal tasks— making smoothies, frozen drinks and crushing ice cubes— are at the top of your list, but you are absolutely certain that you’ll never toss in ginger root or try to blend peeled whole carrots and grind them into oblivion making a fresh juice, then a basic blender with a decent motor is all you need. For approximately $60 you can get the Ninja® Master Prep® , which comes with a 400-watt motor, 48 oz. pitcher and two-cup processor that dices, minces, purees, chops and blends so you won’t have any more teary onion eyes from using an old chopping board and knife. Unlike most typical blenders, you have to push down on the Master Prep® for it to operate.

If you want a little more power in a typical blender style, the Ninja® Professional Blender motor is powered by 1,000 Watts and comes with a 72 oz. pitcher (that does not have separate parts such as a gasket, blade etc.). In addition to blending shakes and smoothies, crushing ice, making ice cream and sorbet, this blender can also grind nuts into nut butter and pulverize fruits and vegetables into juice. Though you’ll need to take the skin and any rough parts off first since, unlike a juicer, blenders don’t come with a shoot that spits out the tough parts, skin and leaves of produce.

An immersion blender— which looks something like a wand or stick that you place in whatever container you are preparing your food in, is best for preparing sauces and pureeing soups. Though these appliances do an amazing job on sauces and soups, they can’t be used for blending smoothies or for any other purpose. However, they are easy to store since they can lie down flat in drawers or cabinets and therefore are a nice addition to any cook’s kitchen.

If you are looking for an ultra high-powered blender that can do everything the Ninja® can do and more, look into the Vitamix and Blendtec. Both cost a few hundred and have a range of models including a top-of-the-line one that sports a quiet, yet high-powered, motor. Vitamix and Blendtec can make smoothies, nut butters, juices, dips, ice cream, sorbet and various other recipes, but they also spin so fast that the sheer motion heats up whatever you are making if you leave it in there for a few minutes. And therefore, you can make a nice warm soup in your blender without having to dirty another pot and turn the stovetop on.

Blender Care

Taking good care of your blender is essential if you don’t want to get sick. NSF International took a look at the most common places in the kitchen where pathogens that can cause foodborne illness lurk. They examined 14 everyday kitchen items for E. coli, salmonella, listeria, mold and yeast, and found the gasket on a blender was one of the top five germ hot spots.

So how can you keep your blender clean and germ free? Though some blenders such as Blendtec and Vitamix don’t have a blender bowl or pitcher that can be dissembled, you can clean these appliances by adding water and dish soap and turning the blender on for several seconds until the blades and sides are clean (as indicated in the owner’s manual). After doing this, unplug it and simply rinse (don’t soak) your blender under the kitchen faucet. Blender jars that come apart can be cleaned in a similar manner but then must be disassembled completely by removing the blade and rubber gasket at the bottom and washing them in hot soapy water after every single use. Many blenders make parts that are dishwasher safe and therefore each piece can be put on the top rack.

Blending Benefits

Why blend your meals versus eating them? For one thing, a liquid meal versus solid food may be better in the time period immediately post-workout. A smoothie means you can mix more powdered supplements all in one, rehydrate, rapidly deliver amino acids to muscle tissue (if you use whey protein) and incorporate a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in one post-workout drink. If you choose to drink a smoothie versus replacing a meal, the sheer volume of a shake, which has air incorporated in it, will be larger and more filling than a non-blended drink. And, according to research out of Penn State University, higher volume blended shakes can improve satiety, thereby keeping you full for a longer period of time, which may help prevent overeating later in the day.

There’s one final reason you may want to take the time to blend your own smoothies or juices. When you buy pre-made juices, the fruits and vegetables used were picked, cut and processed from days to months before the first sip hits your lips. In addition, the finished beverage may have been exposed to light and heat during transit and storage. And, who knows how long the bottle has been sitting on your grocery store shelf (check the “sell by” date before buying any food). All of the steps, from picking the berries off the vine to sitting on the shelf waiting for consumers to pick up the final product, can affect the antioxidant content of the beverage. Processing techniques such as pressing and pasteurization decrease the antioxidants in some types of produce such as berries (as well as the vitamin C content of foods, which is notoriously destroyed during processing) while they can increase the bioavailability of certain other antioxidants, notably the lycopene on tomatoes. And therefore, consuming a variety of foods, including some of your own minimally processed juice, may help ensure that you are getting a wide range of antioxidants and other healthy compounds found in produce.

Smoothie Recipes

Post-Workout Pina Colada

Ingredients

8 oz. unsweetened coconut milk
1 scoop unflavored or vanilla-flavored whey protein
½ cup frozen or fresh pineapple (add ice if using fresh pineapple)

Directions

Add all ingredients in order, blend and enjoy!

Nutrition benefit: Pineapple contains the enzyme bromelain, which may promote healing after muscle injury.

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 202
Fat: 5 grams
Carbohydrates: 21 grams
Protein: 21 grams

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup

Ingredients

10 oz. skim milk
1 scoop chocolate whey protein
4 tbsp. PB2 powdered peanut butter
Ice as desired

Directions

Add all ingredients in blender and enjoy!

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 227
Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 19 grams
Protein: 36 grams

Cherry Ginger Smoothie

Ingredients

8 oz. vanilla soy milk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
½ cup frozen cherries
2 tsp. (or more if desired) fresh cut ginger
Ice as desired

Directions

Mix all ingredients and enjoy!

Nutritional benefit: Ginger helps decrease inflammation and soreness after a damaging bout of resistance exercise.

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 238
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 28 grams
Protein: 27 grams

Blueberry Blast

Smooth Operators - The Best Blenders and Smoothie RecipesIngredients

8 oz. skim milk or vanilla soy milk
1 scoop vanilla whey protein
¾ cup frozen blueberries

Variation

Add fresh squeezed juice from a lemon for a delightful lemon blueberry smoothie.

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 259
Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrates: 28 grams
Protein: 33 grams

Taste of the Islands

Ingredients

8 oz. skim milk or soy milk
Vanilla flavored whey protein powder
½ cup frozen mango
½ cup frozen pineapple

Directions

Blend and enjoy!

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 305
Fat: 1 gram
Carbohydrates: 42 grams
Protein: 31 grams

Recovery Blend

Ingredients

8 oz tart cherry juice
About 2 tbsp ginger
1/2 cup frozen mango
1 heaping scoop whey protein concentrate

Directions

Blend and enjoy!

Nutrition benefit: Research has found that cherry juice and ginger may decrease inflammation due to eccentric exercise.

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 318
Fat: 3 grams
Carbohydrates: 46 grams
Protein: 30 grams

Gina Aliotti’s Green Goddess Smoothie

Smooth Operators - The Best Blenders and Smoothie RecipesIngredients

1 scoop vanilla protein powder
2 cups kale or spinach
1/2 apple
1/2 avocado
1 lime
1 kiwi
1/4 cup fresh parsley
1 cup coconut water (for added creaminess, use unsweetened coconut milk)
1 cup water
stevia to taste (optional)

Directions

Blend until smooth.

Nutrition Benefits: Kale, avocados kiwi and parsley are loaded with many antioxidants, minerals and vitamins like A, C and K.

Nutritional Info (Serves one)

Calories: 491
Fat: 17 grams
Carbohydrates: 68 grams
Protein: 28 grams

References

Aiyegbusi AI, Duru FI, Anunobi CC, Noronha CC, Okanlawon AO. Bromelain in the early phase of healing in acute crush Achilles tendon injury. Phytother Res 2011;25(1):49-52.

Black CD, Herring MP, Hurley DJ, O’Connor PJ. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) reduces muscle pain caused by eccentric exercise. J Pain 2010;11(9):894-903.

Rolls BJ, Bell EA, Waugh BA. Increasing the volume of food by incorporating air affects satiety in men. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;72:361-8.
Carlsen MH, Halvorsen BL, Holte K et al. The total antioxidant content of more than 3100 foods, beverages, spices, herbs and supplements used worldwide. Nutrition J 2010;9:3.

©2017 Advanced Research Media. Long Island Web Design