Sweet-N-Spicy Summer Smoothie

By Karen Psiaki, RD, LDN June 2, 2014

I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, summer always brings about two inevitable food-related changes: a decreased appetite and an insatiable craving for fruit! I’m betting this happens to some of you as well?! It makes sense if you think about the biology of it… when we eat, there’s a phenomenon called the “thermic effect of food,” which basically means that our bodies produce heat as we digest what we eat (especially when we eat high-protein foods!). While this can be an asset in the winter (hot bowl of stew, anyone!?), it’s not so attractive in the summer when our bodies are already struggling to maintain a constant temperature and prevent overheating. So our appetites decrease, and we crave colder food than we do in the winter. Also, most fruits are at their ripest during the summer, so it makes sense that we would naturally crave them at this time! Gosh, science is so cool. Can I get a woop-woop from all my fellow nerdy-girls??

So, the point is that I love to eat fruit in all forms during the summer, and what better way than a cold, refreshing, delicious smoothie?!

I generally avoid focusing on any particular ingredient and instead go for the throw-random-stuff-in-a-blender-and-see-what-happens method of smoothie-ing, but this year I was inspired by my five-year old nephew to focus on one specific ingredient: CHILIS!

Side note: Do you spell the word as chilis? Or is it chillis? Or chilies? Or chillies? Which is correct? Trick question… they all are! I checked the good old Merriam Webster to verify, and we all know she don’t lie. So spell it how you like, but I’m going to stick with one “L” and no “E” in this article for the sake of consistency.

But I digress. At New Years, my nephew Andreas listed “drink a chili smoothie” as one of his annual goals, and my sister was skeptical about whether or not this goal would be feasible. But I looked it up, and sure enough, there are tons of chili smoothie recipes out there on the internet! So I read a few for inspiration and then went to work in my “lab” to develop the perfect chili smoothie recipe for little Andreas. After a few failed attempts, I eventually landed on a recipe that’s tasty, simple, and a perfect combination of sweet and spicy. What I love most is that the tiny chili flakes disperse evenly within the smoothie, so every few sips, you get a little extra kick of spiciness that keeps you on edge without setting your tongue on fire. Pair that with the amazing goodness of fresh mango and tangy orange juice, and we’ve got ourselves a winner! I’m so excited to tell my nephew that his chili smoothie is ready drink… and I can’t wait to see his face when he tries it!

Sweet-N-Spicy Summer Smoothie
(Makes one 16oz. serving)

– ½ frozen banana
– ½ cup frozen strawberries
– 1/3 cup fresh mango
– 2/3 cup orange juice
– 1/3 cup ice cold water
– ½ tsp. finely chopped ginger
– ½ tsp. finely chopped red chili

1. Place all ingredients in a blender or large cup compatible with immersion mixers. Blend until smooth.
2. Chill in refrigerator or enjoy immediately!

*This post was originally published on Karen’s website, www.karenpsiaki.com. For more from Karen be sure to visit www.karenpsiaki.com

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