What can I use instead of bananas?
Banana is an excellent way to make smoothies creamy. But it's not the only one.
There are reasons why you may want to make smoothies without bananas, like reducing carbs, or increasing fats when on a keto diet.
Here are some ingredients other than bananas that can turn smoothies ultra-creamy:
Yogurt — When making dairy-free/vegan smoothies, you can use a vegan yogurt like soy or coconut. Alternatively, you can opt for a classic Greek Yogurt, for a bigger protein boost. If you used too much yogurt by accident and the smoothie is too creamy to drink, pour in a splash of (plant-based) milk.
Silken Tofu — Silken tofu is the super-soft variety of tofu. It's an excellent vegan option in both creams and smoothies.
(Plant-based) Milk — Creamy smoothies are great. But so are "clear" smoothies! If you want a light, juice-like smoothie, then you have to use a liquid base. Yogurt or tofu won't do here, but milk (dairy or dairy-free varieties) will do the job perfectly.
Avocado — If you are preparing a green or keto smoothie, then avocado is your man (or man-fruit?). It makes incredibly creamy smoothies and contributes a ton of health benefits.
Water — When using water in smoothies, you are starting to step into the land of detox drinks. Still, you can use water as a smoothie base to get a super-light smoothie with a fraction of the calories.
We wrote an in-depth article where we talk about how how to prepare balanced and healthy smoothies. Check it out if you are interested in the topic!
Can I use frozen strawberries?
What an excellent idea yes, especially if you are preparing this smoothie during the hot seasons. You can also use frozen banana slices if you wish.
Using frozen fruit is a great way to make a creamy and refreshing smoothie. Blended frozen fruit is creamier than it would be otherwise, because of the ice crystals forming a low-density lather.
So if you are using frozen banana slices and strawberries, you'll get a similarly creamy smoothie result without using yogurt (now you'd probably call it a chocolate banana strawberry shake though).
A little note. Make sure the frozen fruit comes into medium-small chunks, or many non-professional blenders will struggle or even break during operation.
Is it healthy?
Our chocolate strawberry banana smoothie is super healthy. Drinking a glass of this smoothie is equivalent to eating a cup strawberries, a banana, a few spoons of yogurt, and a handful of overnight oats. Healthy, right?
As we said above, fruit is healthy, but some of it is quite sugary. Although sugar from fruit is nowhere as harmful as the one you find in bakes and the like, some folks still have to keep an eye on it. For example, people with diabetes can eat fruit but must do so in moderation.
To minimize the effect the sugars in fruits have on the bloodstream, we added oats to our smoothie recipe. As a rich source of dietary fibres, oats help slow down the absorption of nutrients, and thus sugars, by the body and into the bloodstream. In doing so, they prevent blood sugar levels from spiking irregularly, making our smoothie even safer for folks on a low-sugar diet.
What else can I add for an even more nutritious smoothie?
All these healthy ingredients are not enough for you? That's the spirit, well done! We can always do more to promote good health.
Here are some other foods you can use that go well with the recipe ingredients and will make the smoothie even healthier:
Almond butter — For a boost of heart-friendly fats and proteins, tip in a tablespoon of almond butter into the smoothie. If you want to preserve the three layers in the picture, add it to the chocolate or banana layer.
Bee Pollen [depending on interpretation, it may not be vegan] — Bee pollen is regarded as one of the world's most complete foods. It contains nearly all the nutrients you need, from essential amino acids and fatty acids to vitamins and potent antioxidants. You can sprinkle a pinch on top of the smoothie.
Baobab powder — This is another superfood that bursts with health benefits. It has a plain flavour and white appearance, so it's the perfect addition to any smoothie as it won't alter the taste or look of the recipe. In our chocolate strawberry and banana smoothie recipe, you can add a teaspoon of baobab powder to any of the three layers.