Summertime is the perfect season to embrace cool frosty, plant-based smoothies. Rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and sometimes protein, probiotics and more – smoothies are a healthy meal or snack to add to your busy day.

Citrus Smoothie: photo courtesy of K. Patalsky

Citrus Smoothie: photo courtesy of K. Patalsky

Here are ten of my smoothie-blending tips!..

1. Cubes with Flavor. It’s easy to grab plain water ice cubes from the freezer – but a flavor-infusing idea is to use frozen juice or other vegan liquid cubes in your smoothies. You’ll notice the flavor of your smoothie will be bolder than if you added water cubes. Try vanilla soy or rice milk cubes, coconut water cubes, fruit juice cubes or even coffee cubes.

2. Just Freeze it! Freeze your own fruit for the freshest smoothie ever! Visit your local farmer’s market and embrace the freshest fruits and veggies of the season. Yes even some veggies can be frozen for smoothies. Try diced cucumbers or frozen bell pepper. Fruit-like berries, peaches, melon, citrus and more are all perfect to freeze at home for smoothies.

3. Sugar and Sweetness, Naturally. You don’t need to add sugar to smoothies. Just know what fruits and juices have the most sugar bang for their usage. High sugar add-ins: pears, grapes, bananas and more fresh fruits have lots of natural sweetness. And if you want to add more sweetness – go with agave or maple syrup.

4. Choose Fresh! When you can, use fresh juice instead of bottled. Making a citrus smoothie? Squeeze your own OJ. And if you have a juicer – you can even juice fresh juice like apple, pear and carrot for your smoothies. You’ll notice a flavor difference immediately. Plus fresh juice retains more living enzymes and vitamins that may fade or be destroyed by heating or transit from factory to store to home.

Smoothies by K. Patalsky

Smoothies by K. Patalsky

5. Beat Blender Boredom! We all love classic smoothies like strawberry banana, citrus or pineapple-coconut-banana (aka, pina colada). Same-old can get boring – beat blender boredom! Try creative smoothie ingredients like:  fresh kiwi, fresh mango, fresh blackberry, fresh young coconut (scoop out the flesh inside a young coconut), lychees, frozen seedless watermelon, tangerine, apricot, aloe, matcha, spirulina powder, mint, hemp milk, goji berry juice, fresh pineapple juice, fresh avocado, cayenne for spice, carrot juice, fresh ginger, zingy lemon juice, grapefruit juice, tangy yogurt and savory greens! If you want a plethora of creative recipes, check out my new book 365 Vegan Smoothies.

9781583335178_large_365_Vegan_Smoothies6. Cool Tools. If you save up or want to take the plunge into buying a Vitamix or other high-speed blender, I say go for it. You will get so much use out of this genius device and your smoothies will taste better and retain a creamy, thick, frosty texture even better since the motor is so powerful. Another handful of cool smoothie tools to try: glass straws, a nut milk bag for making fresh nut milk and a few mini spatulas for scraping every last bit of those thick shakes and smoothies.

7. Add-ins? I love adding superfood powders and protein powder add-ins to my smoothies. Everything from plant-based protein powders, cacao powder, maca powder, spirulina, matcha, chia seeds, flax oil and more. My new book talks all about these various options. And check out my protein powder guide on Healthy-Happy-Life.com for my personal reviews of over 25 big name vegan protein powder brands.

For more information about and inspiration for smoothies and other vegan cooking, join the August Vegan Mainstream Cookbook Club.

promopic_KPatalskyKathy Patalsky  is the author of 365 Vegan Smoothies and founder of her popular vegan blog Healthy-Happy-Life.com, which receives over 1.8 million pageviews each month. She also created and curates the vegan recipes sharing site FindingVegan.com. Kathy is an avid social networking fan, she tweets to over 100,000 followers at @lunchboxbunch and has popular Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest accounts as well.

Kathy’s work has been featured in VegNews, Zooey Magazine, The Chalkboard Magazine, The Kitchn, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Meatless Monday, Fox News, Disney’s Babble.com, CNN and more.  Kathy grew up in Santa Cruz California where her passion for healthy vegan cooking, food photography, green living and art began. She holds a BS from American University Washington DC) in Health Promotion. Kathy is most inspired by colorful produce, natural lighting, animals big and small, amazing vegan chefs + bloggers, friends and family.