IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

How to make the best smoothie, according to Candice Kumai

Plus, three recipes for refreshing, nutrient-rich drinks.
/ Source: TODAY

I know there are a million choices out there for juices, smoothies, cleanses, juice blends, books and websites that are all "experts" on the topic. I am here to join the fray and lend some of my best tips that can help you blending the correct — and healthy — way. As it happens, some individuals may actually gain weight and consume more sugar if blending the wrong way. So here are a few helpful tips from a professionally trained chef/recipe developer/wellness journalist, aka me!

Tips for the best smoothies

1. Base

Start with a solid base. Avocados are the best source for a base, as they contain fiber, potassium and vitamins galore, good fats and virtually no sugar. If you are craving extra sweetness, slice your bananas into small pieces and freeze in an airtight baggie. Frozen banana pieces are excellent for a delicious ice cream-like consistency in smoothies. You can additionally use fresh pear and frozen mango to give you that same ice cream-like texture. Organic silken tofu is also a great option for a smoothie base, and it's packed with organic plant-based protein. Ice is another great and cheap addition that works perfectly for a base to any smoothie, and makes for a refreshing, cold bevvie. But it's best to avoid the frozen yogurt, milk and ice cream-based smoothies, as these bases add lots of calories and sugar galore.

2. Frozen fruit

Work in those frozen fruits! Add in some frozen blueberries, acai packets, blackberries or strawberries. Organic peaches, raspberries and mango chunks are delicious, too, just be mindful not to add too much fruit as it packs your drink with sugar. Your best bet is frozen berries, which are lower in sugar and high in antioxidants and nutrients.

3. Greens

Because you are worth every ounce of clean! Great choices to blend are kale, spinach, baby spinach, watercress and Hawaiian spirulina powder. When you can't get fresh greens, you can try a scoop of supergreens at the health food store. But my basic rule of thumb is to always add greens to your smoothies — you'll get vitamins, A, C, K, fiber, iron and yes ... protein! I also love my probiotic powder in the smoothies when traveling.

4. Liquid gold

Opt for unsweetened options — unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened coconut almond milk blend, unsweetened green tea or, better yet, water!

5. Super boosters

These are items like pea protein powder, rice protein powder, spirulina greens, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, carob powder, cocoa powder, lemon juice, quality matcha green tea powder, raw almonds, raw walnuts, turmeric powder and bee pollen. If needed, you can add probiotics for that happy tummy!

6. Say no to added sugar

When you have the option to add sweetener, just say no. When you make your smoothie the right way there is no need for extra sweeteners. No agave, no honey, no syrup. If you must, go for a few drops of stevia or add some dates to your smoothies.

7. Smoothie staples

Vegan protein powder, hemp seeds, almond butter, greens powder, matcha powder and collagen powder are all essentials for making satisfying and nutrient-rich smoothies.

Pineapple-Coconut Green Smoothie

This smoothie contains fiber and vitamin C from the pineapple, as well as iron and potassium from the spinach. You'll love the delicious flavors that coconut and pineapple bring to your morning routine.

Cucumber-Watermelon Juice

This refreshing juice is like a spa day at home! It reminds us to cherish summer in-season fruits like watermelon while they are still here. This juice keeps you hydrated, and the watermelon gives you lycopene for eye health, as well as a natural boost of electrolytes.

Blue Butterfly Mocktail

This convertible mocktail/margarita recipe makes everyone happy! It contains all the essentials — a blue butterfly tea base, sweetness from the ginger simple syrup, plus a pineapple splash and some acidity from the Japanese yuzu juice. When adding in a good mezcal or tequila, be sure to taste along the way. Making cocktails in a martini shaker is best shared with friends so you can show off the color change when the acidity from the yuzu juice hits the blue butterfly tea, making a powerful pink drink!