Smooth operator

His Nibs has recently received the news that he is going to be running the London Marathon next year; not long after a birthday that is definitely in the middle-aged category.  As a result, we are being a little more conscientious about eating slightly more healthily and I have got into making smoothies.  I am converted: they’re refreshing, the boys love them and they’re an easy way to get us all eating more fruit. They include the whole fruit so the vitamins and other nutrients are in a very natural form, combined with the fruit’s fibre and this means that they cause fewer fluctuations in blood sugar levels.

Another bonus is that the boys tend to like smoothies made of fruits that they would otherwise not touch so by drinking them they get used to a larger variety of real fruit tastes.

Juicing leaves behind a pulp which contains the fibre and nutrients that you end up binning and thus you lose many of the benefits of whole fruits and vegetables. Blending produce into a smoothie, however, preserves fibre and a smoothie can deliver an extra boost of vitamins and minerals because it often includes fruit skins and pith. If your smoothie includes yoghurt or milk, you get some calcium too.

Smoothies can easily turn into high-calorie, sugar-delivery devices if they include sweetened yoghurt, sweetened juice, sorbet, frozen yoghurt or ice cream (that’s called a milkshake, fool).  Many made-to-order and bottled smoothies include these ingredients – and cost a lot.  Here then, are Ria’s top tips for smoothie ingredients and a couple of recipes (and yes, I am aware that this blog is a little heavy on the food & drink, TV’s and gadgets are up next!)


Banana, orange & passion fruit smoothie

1 banana

2 oranges

Greek honey yogurt

1 passion fruit.

Blackberry smoothie

2 slack handfuls of blackberries

250g natural yogurt

1 banana

Splash of apple juice


Best high protein smoothie ingredients:

• No fat or low-fat plain yoghurt

• No fat or low-fat plain milk

• Tofu (I know!!)

• Natural peanut butter

• Almond butter

• Plain soya milk

• Plain almond milk


Best fruit (use fresh fruit, frozen fruit or fruit canned in water or its own juice):

• Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries)

• Mango

• Pineapple

• Peach

• Banana

• Apple

• Melon

• Cherries

• Apricot


Best vegetables (use raw):

• Carrot

• Spinach

• Avocado

• Cucumber


Healthy additions for flavour and added nutrition:

• Flax

• Porridge oats (not flaked – Ready Brek will NOT work here!)

• Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger)

• Vanilla extract

• Coconut water


Avoid / apply sparingly

To keep your smoothie as healthy as possible, avoid adding ingredients which provide a lot of calories in the form of sugar and saturated fat.

• Sugar-sweetened fruit juice or concentrate

• Full-fat dairy products, such as milk or yoghurt

• Flavoured yoghurt

• Ice cream

• Chocolate syrup

• Full-fat coconut milk

• Canned fruit in sugary syrup

Feel free to share any recipes – I am happy to test them out!