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So I logged onto Facebook this morning to be advised it is officially the first day of spring.  Still feels a bit chilly here but the birds are singing and the nights are definitely getting a little lighter.  When spring comes, I always feel the urge to be outdoors a little more and this year, I am adding the urge to start making some smoothies to give myself a bit more energy.  If you have never made smoothies before, here are some of the simplest and best recipes for you to be starting with smoothies.

Basics of making a smoothie

All you really need for starting with smoothies is a decent blender.  Sure, you can invest in a smoothie maker but it might pay to make sure they are your ‘thing’ before forking out the extra cash.  A good quality blender will get you started and if you like no bits options, then a decent sieve will complement it.

Then you start with your ingredients.  Most smoothies use some kind of liquid alongside the fruit and other ingredients to get the smooth texture.  This can be anything from milk of any type to almond or coconut milk, soy milk, ice cream and even water.

When picking your ingredients, you can go for the very freshest quality ingredients.  But don’t discount frozen ingredients either – a lot of people use banana as a base for smoothies and the frozen version does a great job, likewise frozen berries.  Plus, the advantage is that you can take out what you need and leave the rest in the freezer, reducing the chance of waste.

There are millions of great recipes out there but don’t be afraid to alter them, add things or miss stuff out.  A good smoothie should be enjoyable as well as healthy so start with things you like and more on from there.

Classic smoothies

The Strawberry and Banana Smoothie is a great starting point if you like fruit.  There are also loads of variations and additions that can be done with the basic recipe.  All you need is a ripe banana, around 10 ounces of strawberries, either fresh or frozen that are sliced and around 125ml milk (this is ½ cup if you use American measurements).  Pop everything in the blender and whizz until combined.

Pineapple isn’t a favourite of mine but I know lots of people enjoy it.  A good pineapple smoothie uses frozen pineapple chunks with almond milk or coconut milk if you prefer.  Aim for a ratio of two cups worth of pineapple to one and a half milk for a thick yet drinkable consistency.

green-422995_1280Green smoothies may be something you need to work yourself up to – I know I am going to try but I’m not great with vegetables.  A Classic Green Smoothie recipe uses one banana, one cup of greens such as spinach or lake and a cup of unsweetened milk, which you can use soy or coconut if required.  To sweetened the taste a little, have either honey or maple syrup on hand and mix in once blended.

If you like a creamy flavour to your drinks, then this Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie from www.backtoherroots.com might be ideal.  In it is used a banana, frozen in this case, 1 orange or clementine, peeled, ½ cup plain Greek yoghurt, 1 cup unsweetened milk and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract.  Again, use honey or maple syrup to sweeten after blending.

I don’t even like the smell of peanut butter but my husband does and he would like this recipe.  The Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie uses ½ cup low fat milk, two tablespoons of chocolate syrup and the same of peanut butter along with a sliced banana and one 8-ounce carton of vanilla low fat yoghurt.

Smoothies are a great way to get all the benefits of fruit and vegetables into a simple drink. But where should you start?