Happy SPRING! I hope that wherever you are, it actually feels like spring and you are enjoying some sunshine. Here in Minnesota, on the other hand, it snowed yesterday. But warmer days are ahead! I feel like I’ve been starting every blog post lately with something about the weather. Oh well.
Let’s get to this week’s recipe. This layered banana cherry smoothie is so yummy, colorful and fun! Cherries are one of my favorite smoothie ingredients – they’re incredibly nutritious and add a unique sweet & tart taste. I typically use Trader Joe’s frozen pitted dark sweet cherries in smoothies to make it easy. Even Winston approves, as you’ll see in the photo below 🙂
Here is an overview of why cherries are healthy and worth including in your diet:
- A 1 cup serving provides 16% of your daily needs for vitamin C, 9% for potassium and 5% for manganese. These are vitamins & minerals that your body needs for immune system support, heart health, brain function and many other health benefits.
- Cherries also provide small amounts of vitamin K, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and copper.
- A cup of cherries provides 3 grams of fiber. Fiber is beneficial for appetite and blood sugar control. It’s also required for a well-functioning digestive system.
- Cherries are rich in antioxidants, including anthocyanins and carotenoids, which reduce inflammation and help prevent a number of diseases.
- A unique property of cherries is their content of melatonin, which is a hormone that promotes sleepiness. Eating foods that contain melatonin may be helpful for enhancing sleep quality.
To learn a bit more about the health benefits of cherries, check out my Healthline: Authority Nutrition article, The 20 Healthiest Fruits on the Planet (cherries are #20).
I’ve been giving a lot of attention to the cherries in this smoothie, but the banana adds some extra vitamins, minerals and fiber as well (and healthy carbs!). I added some ground flaxseed for extra healthy fats (chia seeds are also a good option). You can blend in any other ingredients that you’d like, such as spinach, avocado, cocoa powder…the possibilities are endless.
Here’s the recipe! Enjoy!
- Cherry Layer: ⅔ cup frozen cherries, ⅔ cup water, 1 scoop protein powder
- Banana Layer: ½ frozen banana, 1 cup almond milk, 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- Optional ingredients: spinach, avocado, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, or whatever other flavorings you would like!
- In a blender, combine the ingredients for the cherry layer (and any other ingredients you decided to include. Pour into a glass.
- Rinse out the blender, and then combine the ingredients for the banana layer (and any other ingredients you decided to include). Pour into the same glass on top of the cherry ingredients.
- Depending on your blender, you may need to add extra liquid (water or almond milk) to the mixtures to help it blend easier.
- Add toppings of your choices, such as granola, dried cherries, chia seeds or nut butter!