3 Smoothie Making Tips + Healthy Wild Blueberry Thai Zinger Smoothie Recipe
Now that the winners of our “Wild Your Smoothie” Recipe Contest have been announced, we wanted to share a little more about each of our three winners. Here’s a conversation we recently had with our grand-prize winner, Emily Weeks, RDN, LD of Zen & Spice. She shares her nutrition philosophy, her tips for making amazing smoothies, and why she thinks frozen Wild Blueberries are the perfect start to any smoothie.
Tell us about your nutrition philosophy.
My blog Zen & Spice speaks to two aspects of my nutrition philosophy. The “Zen” part is about a balanced healthy life and speaks to an inner peace and mindfulness when it comes to eating. The “Spice” represents all the flavorful and nourishing recipes I like to create and share.
I’m a big advocate of intuitive eating, a practice that helps individuals become more attune to their body’s natural hunger signals as a way to more effectively attain and manage a healthy weight. It’s a non-dieting approach to eating. It means listening to and respecting your body and knowing that it needs adequate fuel. I encourage my readers to listen to how food makes them feel – does it give them energy or make them feel sluggish – and to honor those feelings. I also work with them to stop using food as a way to deal with issues like anxiety and to find alternative ways to take care of those feelings.
When did you start blogging? What got you started?
I’ve always had a big interest in food and a passion for cooking because I grew up in a family where my parents cooked everyday and we ate dinner every evening at the dinner table. I learned to help in the kitchen at an early age. In college, I majored in psychology and I wasn’t sure what to do until my father suggested combining my interest in food and psychology. I decided to pursue a nutrition degree and when I was a dietetic intern – I would take pictures of the food I was making and post on social media. People would ask me how I made it so then I started adding the recipe to my photos. That’s how the blog was born in 2013. Since then it has grown tremendously and I believe it’s because I create healthy, simple, attainable recipes with easily accessible ingredients. I’m always slightly modifying simple recipes to add in healthier ingredients that add fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Were you familiar with frozen Wild Blueberries before the “Wild Your Smoothie” Recipe Contest?
I discovered frozen Wild Blueberries about a year ago by accident. I ran out of my regular frozen fruit and picked up a random bag of frozen blueberries. When I opened the bag I saw that they were half the size of regular blueberries. I also discovered that they taste better and blend better. I’ve been buying them regularly ever since.
What are you most excited to see this summer in Maine?
Well I’ve never been to Maine before and I’ve never seen a Wild Blueberry Barren so the trip is wonderfully exciting. I’m always interested in seeing how food is grown, harvested and packaged.
Emily’s Smoothie Making Tips and Why She Loves Smoothies
Convenient for On-the-Go Breakfast: My favorite thing about smoothies is that they are so portable. They are my go-to breakfast and snack after a workout. Although I tell my clients that they should eat breakfast at the table, I’m not always able to do that and smoothies are a great way to get a nutritious start to my day.
Start Every Smoothie with frozen Wild Blueberries: I love Wild Blueberries because of their sweetness factor. When I use frozen Wild Blueberries I don’t have to add as much sweetener – honey or Stevia. And, because they are frozen I don’t have to use ice. I also like that Wild Blueberries are high in fiber. I can use a whole cup of frozen Wild Blueberries in my smoothie because they are smaller and that adds more fiber. And because they are smaller, I think they fit better in the blender. The big bulky berries can result in filling your blender too high, which I’ve found can clog the blender. My typical smoothie consists of frozen fruit like Wild Blueberries or other berries, protein powder, and chia and/or flax seeds for gut health. Sometimes I add avocado to make it creamy.
Use Frozen Fruit Because It’s Nutritious: I like to use frozen fruit when I make my smoothies. I even freeze my bananas before using them in my smoothies. I tell my clients not to be afraid of frozen fruit and vegetables because frozen is usually harvested and frozen at the peak of ripeness whereas fresh can travel for miles and is often picked before it’s ripe to accommodate the long trip to the supermarket. All of my patients need to watch their salt intake and I have to educate them about the benefit of frozen because they automatically think that salt and sugar have been added to frozen fruit and vegetables, especially frozen vegetables. I stress with my patients all the time that today’s frozen fruit and vegetables usually don’t have anything added, and to make sure to read the label to make sure.
Here’s Emily’s winning healthy Wild Blueberry Thai Zinger Smoothie recipe and some insights into the ingredients she choose.
I chose jalapeño and ginger along with coconut milk as ingredients to pair with the frozen Wild Blueberries in my smoothie because I wanted to come up with something a little out the box and be true to my “spice” philosophy. Interestingly, the jalapeño doesn’t add heat. It matches the ginger flavor and gives the smoothie a delicious zing. This is a great mid afternoon snack when you need a little pick me up.