[MUSIC PLAYING] ERIN HARNER: We're going to do a blueberry banana green smoothie. My name is Erin Harner. And I'm a registered dietitian nutritionist with Cornell Wellness. All right, so first we're going to start with a blender. So all of our ingredients are just going to go in the blender. There's very few ingredients or directions for this recipe. We're just going to put it all in.
And like you can see, this is just plain old, regular blender. You don't need a fancy blender. It's nice to have a high-powered blender if you're doing greens, especially the really hearty ones like kale or Swiss chard. When you throw those in, sometimes these blenders don't do as well of a job at breaking up all those fibers. But it'll do a pretty good job. So if you have a blender that you like, don't go out and buy a new one just because I talked about making green smoothies.
All right, so the first thing we're going to do it is add one cup of frozen blueberries. So we're just going to add our one cup of frozen blueberries right to the bottom. The next thing we're going to do is add one frozen banana. So I'm using a frozen banana instead of a fresh banana and frozen blueberries instead of fresh blueberries because they're easy to keep in your freezer. You always have them available.
And this way we don't have to use ice in our recipe. So everything's already frozen. And the frozen banana is going to make our recipe really, really smooth and creamy. So we're just going to add our frozen banana. And you can see that, before I froze it, I broke it into little chunks and put it in a Ziploc and put it in the fridge-- or in the freezer, excuse me.
That way you can use whatever quantity you want of banana instead of trying to break your frozen banana into pieces. So that's one little tip. And the other thing with you're going to freeze your bananas is just make sure that they're ripe before you freeze them. And don't freeze them with the skins on. [LAUGHS] You'll have that experience once, and you'll never do it again because trying to get the frozen bananas with the skins off is really quite challenging.
All right, so we're going to put our bananas right in the bowl. The next thing we're going to add is our Greek yogurt. So I'm just going to use little cups just because we only need one cup. And this is just plain old, low-fat Greek yogurt. It is organic. You want to try and get the best quality ingredients you can afford. But it doesn't have to be.
SPEAKER 1: Is there a reason you use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt?
ERIN HARNER: Sure, great question. The question was, is there a reason to use Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt? The main answer to that is that Greek yogurt is strained. It's made slightly differently. It has a lot more protein-- almost double the protein of regular yogurt. So you're going to get a little bit more nutritional bang for your buck, essentially, with the Greek yogurt versus the regular.
But if you have regular yogurt, there's no reason you can't use that. That's great, too. The key here is the plain. We're adding other sugars to this. Things like the blueberries and the bananas and even the date at the end will add a little bit of sweetness. So we don't need sugar added to our yogurt prior to adding it to our recipe.
OK, so the next thing we're going to do as add one cup of Romaine lettuce. So our Romaine lettuce has already been washed. You could use spinach. You could use any number of greens. I'm using Romaine lettuce today because it's often forgotten. It's a nutrition powerhouse. It's extremely, extremely high in nutrition. But it's often forgotten as a leafy green.
We think of Romaine lettuce in salad. But you can actually drink your salad. So we're going to add about a cup of Romaine lettuce. And this will get blended up. If you're curious about what it's going to taste like, you probably won't even taste it.
OK, the next thing we're going to do is we're going to add one cup of steeped green tea. And there's a little extra here just in case we need to make it a little bit-- we need to thin it out a little bit. So I'm going to do most of it but not all of it. That's about a cup. I really like steeping green tea. You can steep it in Mason jars. One nice thing is they have measuring marks on the sides so you don't have to measure and then pour. You can just measure right in the jar and steep it in here.
Essentially, just make iced tea and keep ice tea in your fridge. If it's unsweetened, just keep it in your fridge and add it to your smoothies. It's a great liquid to add to smoothies because it's so incredibly high in compounds. So for example, green tea is loaded with tons of different-- it's one of the healthiest beverages you can drink. It's been shown to have anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory properties, tons and tons of different benefits of drinking green tea.
And you'll also get a little tiny caffeine kick with the green tea. So a green smoothie can actually help replace the coffee in the morning if you struggle with drinking coffee. So that's found to be pretty effective for a lot of people. All right, so the next thing we're going to do is add some avocado. So why on Earth would we add avocado to our smoothie? It seems like a strange thing to add, right?
So we're going to add the avocado because it's going to make it really creamy. It's going to add some really good-quality healthy fats, especially if you're having this as a breakfast smoothie. It's going to add some really healthy high-quality fats. And it's also going to make it last a little longer. So good-quality healthy fats, if you're drinking this for breakfast, are going to help it stick with you longer. It's going to bump up the nutrition, bump up the calories a little bit-- which is a good thing, in this case, if you're drinking it as a meal.
OK, and then the last thing we're going to add is a Medjool date. If you've never seen these before, it's essentially just a little tiny fruit. It's been dried. It has a pit. It's just a date. Instead of adding sugar or some other sweetener like maple syrup or honey, I'm just going to add a date to add some natural sweetness. And there's also a number of health benefits of the date itself.
So here we go. So we're going to put the lid on. And we're going to blend this all together. Hold the top.
It might be a little bit overloaded. We put all the frozen stuff at the bottom. So sometimes if it's not a high-powered blender it gets a little bit stuck.
All right. So I am used to using a high-powered blender at home. So I apologize. One nice thing about many of the high-powered blenders is they have a plunger. So you can just stick the plunger right in. And it'll break up any problems in the bottom.
There we go.
All right, here we go.
All right. So you give a little more time than you probably normally would because you're trying to break up all those greens in the smoothie. I'm just going to give it a stir and make sure we got all the lumps. OK, that looks great. And as you can see, it's purple. So one great thing about using blueberries or berries is that it covers the color of the greens. So as you can see, if you were to serve this to a toddler, for example, they would have no idea there's greens in there-- or a husband or, you know, whoever.
So I'm going to pass this over to Beth to serve up for us. And we can enjoy our recipes today. Any questions on the smoothie before we wrap up?
SPEAKER 2: Is there any way to substitute the dairy products for something else?
ERIN HARNER: Yeah, absolutely, great question. So this smoothie does have dairy in it. This has yogurt as our protein source. So one way to substitute the dairy would be to add some sort of vegan or vegetarian protein powder that doesn't have whey in it. So there is pea-based protein powders. There's hemp-based protein powders. There's a number of them.
I prefer to use real food. So what I would do is I would add about two tablespoons of hemp seeds and about a tablespoon or two tablespoons of chia seeds. And that would replace most of the nutrition. It won't be as high in protein. But it will be a lot closer than not having any. You definitely want some protein, especially if this is going to be your breakfast smoothie.
SPEAKER 3: With the frozen blueberries, is there any difference between buying just pre-frozen frozen blueberries at the grocery store? Or should you get fresh blueberries and freeze them yourself? Or is it just the same thing?
ERIN HARNER: That's a great question. The faster the blueberries are frozen to when they're picked, the healthier they're going to be. So my preference is to, you know, go pick the blueberries and freeze them. It's going to be the cheapest by far. And you're going to have a freezer full of frozen blueberries.
If that's not an option for you, I would actually buy them frozen versus buying them fresh and freezing them because it's going to be less expensive. And they're also-- fresh blueberries this time of year are shipped from California or somewhere else. So they're losing a lot of nutrition in transit. So the faster they're frozen-- and this applies to pretty much any frozen food. The faster it's frozen to when it was picked, the healthier it's going to be.
There was one more question. And then we're going to wrap up.
SPEAKER 4: Could use golden raisins instead of the date to sweeten it a little bit?
ERIN HARNER: Sure, absolutely. So the question was, could you use golden raisins instead of the date? Absolutely, yep, you could use golden raisins. You could just leave it out. You could use a little splash of juice. You could use a little bit of honey. You could use whatever you've got, whatever you like.
So this is a smoothie to make your own. This is just sort of a base to start with. And you know that you see first three ingredients-- the blueberries, the banana, and the plain yogurt-- are very similar to what many people make their smoothies out of, just basic simple ingredients. We just tweaked a few at the end to give it a nutrition boost.
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Tastes great and is great for you. This green smoothie can be easily adapted using any greens you happen to have available. Demo presented by Cornell Wellness staff Erin Harner, RDN.