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Costa Rica, Recipes

Tropical Smoothies

Waking up in our new house on the first morning, I knew what my mission would be. I needed to find the blender. (Unfortunately Joya’s Vitamix would not fit in our suitcase, not that she would have parted with it for a minute.) Luckily, I discovered our own trusty gadget in the pantry, and I was ready to pulse, chop, mix and blend my way to a delicious morning smoothie.

On the way from San Jose to Esterillos, we stopped at a lovely fruit stand by the side of the road. Our bounty: pineapple, cantaloupe, papaya and mango. But a magical ingredient was discovered later that day – fresh coconut water (el agua de pipa).

In just a few steps we have a delicious smoothie. Chop the fruit…

Chop the fruit

… drain the coconut…

Drain the coconut water

… and blend. Isn’t it beautiful?

Smoothie!

Overhead View

Here’s my very simple recipe, which you can make at home, even if you don’t happen to live in a tropical place.

Las Fruitas de Costa Rica Smoothie

Ingredients
1 cup pineapple, roughly chopped
1/2 cup mango, roughly chopped
1 cup cantaloupe melon, roughly chopped
1/4 cup coconut water
3 ice cubes

Directions
Place all ingredients in a blender. Pulse a few times until roughly mixed. Increase speed to “Chop” or medium/low setting, depending on your blender. After about 30 seconds move to “Blend” or a high setting. Keep blending until you don’t hear the ice clunking around anymore.

Makes 2 servings

So, what’s the deal with smoothies?

  • Packed with delicious and nutritious fruit, the recipe above is also only 100 calories per serving.
  • The cantaloupe melon is rich in Vitamin A (great for your eyes and your immune system) and Vitamin C (also great for your immune system and protecting your cells from damage).
  • The pineapple is rich in manganese (a mineral that has a variety of important jobs in your body, including keeping your bones, thyroid and nerves healthy) and Vitamin C.
  • The mango provides some fiber and Vitamin C as well.
  • All of the fruit, along with the coconut water, provide potassium, which together with sodium plays an important role in muscle contraction and the distribution of fluids in your body. People tend to get a lot more sodium than potassium, because packaged foods and restaurants use salt as a preservative and for flavoring. So getting more potassium from fruits and vegetables is important to stay healthy.
  • You get a smattering of other nutrients as well – a little bit of some B vitamins, and a little bit of some minerals like magnesium.

The wonderful thing about smoothies is that they are a terrific vehicle for other nutritional goodness. Add spinach (really!) to bump up your B vitamin and Vitamin C intake. Or you could add a good green powder for those nutrients along with many others.

The only potential downside to our smoothie here is that the fruit does have a fair amount of sugar, even if it is natural and not “added” sugar. So it’s important to make a smoothie like this part of a balanced breakfast with some protein and some healthy fats. Adding these foods slow down your digestion, so you don’t get a rush of sugar (and then a crash later on). Here’s a typical breakfast for me over the past week.

Hard boiled egg, avocado, tortilla and a little side of Arturo's oatmeal (optional)

A super simple way to add protein to your smoothie is to add in some whey powder or kefir. If you’re lactose intolerant, I bet coconut kefir would be great in this smoothie.

By the way, I highly recommend The World’s Healthiest Foods site for nutritional info – it’s well-organized and includes tons of information and recipes.

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About Danielle Hart

The three foundational aspects of my life, that keep me healthy and sane, are love, food and music. I am truly blessed to have the love of, and to give my love to, my husband, family and friends. I choose to surround myself with and to seek out healthy, yummy, nourishing food. The soundtrack of my life is upbeat, fun and totally danceable. As I begin this blog, I have embarked on a new journey to open my heart to new love, food and music. I hope to share some of my experiences here as a travelog for my friends and family back home in the US. As they say here in Costa Rica, pura vida!

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Tropical Smoothies

  1. Ah, I can not wait for these tropical fruit smoothies and the fresh coconut water sounds so good!! I am glad you guys found a good blender bc otherwise I was going to considering foregoing on shoes to pack the Vitamix ; )

    Posted by Joya | February 15, 2012, 12:31 pm
    • It’s no Vitamix, but luckily I’m not trying to make nut butter! In fact, good nuts have been tough to come by; the exception is these amazing local cashews you can sometimes find at the fruit stands or from a guy selling them in Jaco.

      Posted by Danielle Hart | February 17, 2012, 1:01 pm
  2. Sounds wonderful, I can taste it now me sitting there, in the shade the sun shining and you fixing
    Me a delicous breakfast
    Love Mom, Take Care

    Posted by Charlotte Hart | February 17, 2012, 8:41 am
  3. Awesome looking Smoothie. What is the best way to get to the coconut water? Use an icepick?

    Thanks for sharing!
    Curtis

    Posted by Curtis Twombly | February 27, 2012, 8:31 pm
    • Hi Curtis! Oh, that has been one of the fun discoveries of our trip. Arturo has gotten quite good at opening them with a pair of scissors. I tend to hack randomly with the back (pointy) side of a hammer. It’s not pretty! Be well, Danielle

      Posted by Danielle Hart | March 7, 2012, 1:13 pm

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