Fancy a change from your morning coffee? Craving something deliciously sweet, but without the extra minutes on the treadmill? A smoothie is an excellent way to enjoy some colour and flavour while working towards your 5 fruit and veg a day. But you don’t need to shell out for something bottled or in a take-away cup. By using produce which is perfectly in season, you can save some pennies while ensuring you get your fruit at its freshest, tastiest and most nutritious. These 3 recipes use seasonal fruits and make the ideal substitute for sugary snacks.
July – August: Peach Melba Smoothie (guilt-free dessert in a glass)
Ingredients: 2 Peaches, stones removed and chopped into quarters
150g punnet Raspberries
1 glass ice cubes
2 tbsp fat-free vanilla-flavoured yoghurt
Method: Place all ingredients into a blender and blast until combined. If you do not have a smoothie maker, a hand blender and a large jug works fine for this!
Why it’s good: This recipe is based on the classic dessert which was super popular in the 1970s. But by swapping vanilla ice-cream for fat free yoghurt, you get the benefits of protein and calcium without unwanted carbs and fats.
Despite their sweetness, both peaches and raspberries are very low in calories. Raspberries contain just 52kcal per 100g, while peaches contain only 39kcal per 100g (for perspective, chocolate contains 546kcal oer 100g!). Raspberries also contain natural xylitol, a complex sugar which is absorbed slowly and doesn’t cause blood glucose levels to spike, making this an excellent option for diabetics.
Add refreshing ice, and the healthy dose of vitamins A, C and E found in both fruits and you have a delicious energy-boosting drink without the sugar or caffeine crash later in the day.
September – October: Fig and Blackberry Warmer
Ingredients: 1 Pear, cored and chopped
2 Fresh Figs, whole
150g blackberries or brambles
½ glass skimmed milk
2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
Why it’s good: You can’t get much fresher than blackberries in the early autumn. Take a Tupperware box to any nearby hedge or public foot-path, and you are bound to find an abundance of them, perfectly ripe and completely free!
Pears and figs will help to give a smooth texture whilst also being rich and filling. Cinnamon compliments the fruit flavours and adds a little bit of cosiness to get you ready for the longer nights and chillier days.
Mix all these ingredients and you have a drink which tastes delicious and provides you with plenty of fibre, a good dose of vitamins, folic acid, potassium and even calcium. Studies suggest that cinnamon may help to reduce blood sugar and LDL cholesterol, so choosing to add this will not just flavour your drink, but make it even more healthy too!
January-February: Totally Tropical Winter Smoothie
Ingredients: 1 ½ ripe bananas
Flesh and seeds of 2 passionfruit
Flesh of 1 pineapple
½ glass orange juice
Why it’s good: The best thing about this seasonal smoothie is that you can easily pick all the ingredients in your own garden… okay, I jest! But when the British winter feels as though it will never end, tropical and citrus fruits are at the peak of their ripeness. Although you’ll find tropical fruits in your supermarket year-round, fruits bought at this time are likely to be cheaper, tastier and fresher, benefiting from not being artificially grown or ‘forced’.
This smoothie is a perfect tonic at a time when we Brits are often in the throes of cold and flu season and when we may even be suffering with the ‘winter blues’. Orange, pineapple and passion fruit are all rich in immune-system boosting vitamin C. Bananas, which are often used to give smoothies a thick texture, also contain tryptophan which encourages the brain to produce serotonin, the happy hormone. So if you’ve overindulged at Christmas and are feeling run-down, head for the tropics (via the greengrocers!)
Do you have any favourite smoothies? We’d love to share your recipes!