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…
… drain the coconut…
… and blend. Isn’t it beautiful?
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
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
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.
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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