When I was a little kid (a long, long time ago on Planet Earth) I had to not only get up to change the TV channel but also to drink a whole lot of banana smoothies. My parents tried to feed me the healthier they could in the morning and the fastest way was with a banana smoothie (and other some weird ingredients). I don´t blame them, handling your kid’s breakfast before going to work is quite a speed challenge. In fact, it should be in the Olympics!
Opposite to what you would think, a million banana-filled smoothies later, I got tired of it. Now that I grew up I can decide for myself what I want to put in my smoothie, and no, a banana is not always my first option. I tend to stay away from processed food as much as I can, so I had to find a way to do it fast, effective, and tasty: smoothies were still the answer decades later.
I like my smoothies being tasty, creamy, and rich in nutrients. I went through a lot of research in the substitution process and thought I could put this post together to help others going through the same. Let me pour all my recently acquired knowledge into these letters.
If you looking for amazing smoothie recipes with only 3 ingredients, I built a list for you!
Are you ready? Let´s do this!
Why are Bananas So Popular in Smoothies?
To think about a smoothie without a banana is close to thinking about a car running with no gas. Wait, electric cars are not a future invention, banana-less smoothies aren´t either. But before we get to the recipes let´s find out why bananas are so popular in smoothies around the world.
The Texture of the Banana Smoothie, Oh! The Texture!
What do you think of when you read the word “creamy”? While most fruits put on a blender will give you a juicy outcome, bananas give you creamy texture. This means that they add to the silk-like feeling in your tongue as you savor it. Because of this particular quality found in bananas (and some more fruits we are about to see), they climbed all the way to smoothie stardom (if such a thing exists). I had to find a creamy replacement (that you´ll see below).
Bananas are Cheap and Easy to Get
Let´s face a fact: bananas are everywhere. I don´t know what surface of the Earth is covered with banana trees, but it surely is massive, you can find bananas anywhere in the world! Furthermore, since they are so abundant, they are usually very cheap.
Sweet, Sweet, Sweet!
Last but definitely not least, bananas add some natural sugar to the mix making it tastier (especially for kids). I mean, compared to, for example, an avocado, it is much sweeter. The riper the banana, the sweetener it will bring to the mix. Don´t worry about it, there are other ways to find that sweetener and make your inner child happy.
What can I Replace Bananas With?
Now that we´ve gone through what makes bananas so special for smoothies, let´s take a look at the replacements for it. We´re going to respect every category used above and find the correct ingredients to replace it with.
Replacing the Texture of a Banana Smoothie
Perhaps, if you are a vegetarian or a vegan, this might sound a little odd, but the truth is we need meaty fruits to replace bananas and obtain a similar texture in the smoothie. I´m going to name a few of my own favorites in a list, but first I wanted to share with you a great tip – If you add half an avocado to any smoothie you are adding texture, protein, and a little healthy fat.
For added texture, you can replace bananas with:
- Mango – Perhaps not the easiest to find in some areas, but a great, sweet, and meaty banana replacement that got unanimous approval at home.
- Peaches – In the case, you can´t find mango, you can also replace it with peaches. The difference here is that you need to peel a lot of peaches to get the same amount of meaty ingredients you get from a single mango.
- Pineapple – This is definitely one of my favorite fruits in the world. The good thing about pineapple is that with a single peeling you can use it a couple of days. Also, (depending on where you live) it is not as difficult to find as mango.
- Papayas – Papayas are huge, tasty, and super meaty. The peeling process is super easy and you get enough material to fill a blender with a single serving. Again, it is not the easiest fruit to find, but it works wonders in the mornings.
Other Cheap and Easy to Find Banana Substitutes
The best way to get your vegetables for a cheaper price is to buy them in large quantities. You might be thinking “hey, if they are too ripe, they won´t work on the smoothies!” And you´ll be completely right. Let me share with you my personal tips to prevent this from happening
Buy them frozen
In most big supermarkets in the world, you can find a frozen food section. Along with all the funny-looking frozen fish and chicken, you might be able to find some frozen fruit. If you are able to spot any bags sporting bulky amounts of tropical fruit, you found the treasure you were looking for.
Freeze them while you can
Never let your food overripe and keep all the pieces and bits you can in the freezer. For example, a great way of saving half a mango from the day before is to put it in the freezer. A very important thing to bear in mind is that you need to freeze it in pieces, otherwise you won´t be able to cut it the next day. I broke my previous blender ignoring that advice.
Did anyone say wholesale?
Is there a wholesale place in your town? What about a fruit fair? Maybe a Sunday morning rendezvous where local farmers offer organic fruit? Well, all those places require your presence to get fresh and cheap smoothie ingredients for the week.
That sweetness can come from here as well
My old man used to add apples to all the smoothies because it adds a lot of sweetness to the mix. I donÂ´t like the way that apples oxidize and turn a beautiful smoothie in a brown-colored substance that looks tasteless. Now, a different way to add sweetness without bananas, oxidation, and sugar is to use one (or several) of the following:
- Vanilla (or almond) extract – You can find this in most large supermarkets. A drop or two will do the trick.
- Maple syrup – Don´t we all love maple syrup? A tablespoon of it is a natural way to add sweetness to the mix.
- Honey – This is another great natural sweetener. It is important that you buy organic, GMO-free honey. A teaspoon should be enough.
- Pitted-dates – Not the most common item to find (depending on where you live) but one or two are great for sweetness.
- Spices – Having a cupboard full of spices can save you in so many ways I can´t even begin to describe. Some like cinnamon and nutmeg can naturally help the overall sweetness as well.
6 Quick and Easy Smoothie Recipes Without Using a Banana
The time has come, after all the priceless information above, to reveal the recipes. Although you now have enough info to start experimenting, let me share with you the result of my own experiments. You´ll notice I added some super-food ingredients to boost nutrients, feel free to follow me on that too.
Without further ado, here are the recipes:
The mango tango
Every time I say the name of this smoothie out loud I feel a little like Al Pacino on Scent of a woman. Sadly, the word tango is where all my similarities with Al start and end. But let´s go to the recipe, here´s what you need:
- 1 cup of mango
- 1 cup of pineapple
- 1 cup of coconut (or almond) milk.
- Chia seeds/Greek yogurt/avocado
Put the sliced mango and pineapple in the freezer the night before (whenever possible). Use them frozen to avoid using ice that might water-down your smoothie. You will get the sweet and the texture from the mango and the pineapple (you can add extract for added sweetness) and the protein from the chia seeds, the Greek yogurt, or the avocado. Blend them all while you dance what I call 7-am-clumsy-tango and you´re set for a great day.
The peachy green
This is a great way to transform spinach into a sweet and tasty wonder. As the name implies, the peachy green smoothie requires the use of peaches in its preparation. It is very important that you add a pinch of salt at the end to balance the flavor (be careful not adding too much!). Trust me on that one, it tastes better with it.
- Milk (the one you choose)
- 1 cup of peach in slices
- 1 cup of spinach (frozen for better blending)
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons of chia, Greek yogurt, or avocado
- Pinch of salt
Freezing the peaches and the spinach will make preparation much easier. Once you´ve put everything inside the blender, add the pinch of salt and let it roll. Sometimes I add an extra spoon of honey or maple syrup for a sweeter smoothie.
The amazing strawberry bomb
I just love this name. ahh yeah.. strawberry is an amazing fruit.
- 2 cups of strawberries
- 2 cups of milk (your choice)
- Half an avocado
- 1 tablespoon of honey/maple syrup
Freezing the strawberries before blending is a great idea. I usually cut them in pieces along with the avocado and freeze it all the night before. You can use honey or maple syrup as a sweetener if you like, to my taste strawberries provide enough to the mix. Also, you can replace avocado with other sources of protein like chia or Greek yogurt. I choose avocado because it makes everything creamier.
Wild blueberry and the mighty lemon
The thing with a recipe for this smoothie is that it is great for both adults and children. Wild blueberries are the berries with the highest antioxidant levels. I am sure you heard about antioxidants and their benefits on grown-ups, right? Well, this smoothie is packed with them. Also, I throw in some chia seeds for proteins. I don´t recommend chia seeds on strawberries because they already have that grainy texture and turns into a heavy, thick drink.
- 1 cup of wild blueberries
- 2-3 tablespoons of lemon (juice and zest)
- 1 cup of milk (your choice)
- an avocado or 1 tablespoon of chia seeds/Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract/honey/maple syrup
This is not an every-day smoothie but more likely a weekend one. The reason is that it takes more time to prepare the lemon juice and zest to be fresh in the morning. That being said, it is usually very easy to find the wild blueberries already frozen in the supermarket. For a better tasting result, I usually add the teaspoon of honey/maple syrup to each glass. If you are going to use vanilla extract, you should use it when everything is in the blender.
It sounds like the name of a lawyer´s buffet, but it is actually a smoothie flavor. This is one of my favorites because I get to do something I don´t usually do: mix berries.
- 1 cup of milk (your choice)
- 1 cup of mixed berries
- 1 cup of spinach
- 1-2 tablespoons of almond butter
- 1 tablespoon of honey or maple syrup
- Pinch of salt (trust me, it helps the flavor)
Freezing everything makes it easier. Berries are one of my all-time favorite fruits. Something important is that if you can´t find almond butter don´t go crazy about it, you can skip it and get a close-to-magnificent flavor too. Finally, don´t forget to add the pinch of salt to improve the overall flavor.
Some people will prefer a Tequila Sunrise, but I personally into smoothies. The good news is that this smoothie tastes much better than the drink and you can have it in the morning and still drive straight. You can use half an avocado or half a cup of kale or spinach for proteins.
- 1 orange (peeled & sliced)
- 1 cup of milk (your choice)
- 1 cup of frozen mango
- 1 cup of pineapple
- An avocado (spinach/kale work great too)
Even if you feel like it, don´t add any sweetener to this one. The combination of orange, mango, and pineapple is just superb and sweet enough even for an 8-year-old. In fact, the sweetness you get from the fruit combination will make you forget you ever put any avocado in it. If you are doing it with your kids and don´t want to bargain with them for names, simply hide the avocado and they will never notice.
A long time has gone by since my childhood years and yet smoothies haven´t abandoned me at all. I am more into them now than I have ever been in my life. Besides, the fact that sometimes I’m tired of using bananas in my smoothie, forced me to be creative and come up with some great combinations.
Having a smoothie a day is a great way to give yourself and your loved one´s proteins in a tasty, easy-to-make, and an almost preparation-free morning treat.
Combine the ingredients above, mix them up and come up with your own creations. Having fun in the kitchen preparing healthy dishes is the best way to live a healthy life. Don´t forget to have a good time mixing and share these tips with your friends!
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