6 'wow'elements Amounts can vary depending on the size of your blender jar and personal preference. Layer 1-2-3 Pour liquids in first for efficient blending; then add powders such as protein mixes and dried greens. Add soft and hard produce, and fibrous foods such as nuts and dried fruits, then frozen fruits. CHILL FACTOR LIQUID BASE For personal blenders in which you invert the cup onto the blade assembly, reverse this process. Watch your combosIf bloating is a concern, pay attention to food combining. Blending certain fruits and vegetables together is problematic for some people and not others. Adding too much fruit or sugar to blends, or drinking high-water-content foods after other concentrated foods, also can cause problems. Consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist. Juicing vs. blendingJuicing removes skins and piths, which is good for cleansing or recovery from acute illness, as it offers a nutrient-dense experience that accommodates gentler digestion. Blending retains all the nutrients in skins, piths and seeds; that kind of fiber slows down the assimilation of sugars, assists with bowel regularity and is thought to help eliminate toxins. Whether you're making a nutrient-dense meal replacement, a protein-packed workout booster or a sweet treat, the flavor combinations are endless. The easy and forgiving nature of smoothies makes them a fabulous option for kids, novice cooks and busy people on the run who don't want to compromise on flavor or nutrition.A basic smoothie is quick and easy, and contains three essential elements: a liquid, a base (fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables) and a chill factor (ice or frozen fruit). Those simple components inspire all kinds of wonderful- tasting blends. Choose ingredients for nutrition and pleasure (yes, you can have both) in equal measure, taking into account taste, texture and vibrant color. After all, nobody wants to drink anything that looks and tastes like the place where the plants came to die. To take your blends to the next level, to maximize nutrient density and to amp up the "wow" flavor factor, check out these tips. Rotate your greensTo avoid oxalic toxicity (which can deplete calcium from bones and teeth), blend a variety of greens. Start with mild leafy greens such asspinach, romaine, radish greens and kale. Work your way up to more pungent greens such as collard, chard, beet greens and arugula. Then introduce wild edibles such as dandelion greens. HealthfulIdeas Make ahead Consuming smoothies right away maximizes nutrient value. However, for convenience, they can be refrigerated in sealed glass containers for a few hours or overnight. For longer storage, freeze in glass jars, allowing an inch of space for expansion of liquids. Defrost in the refrigerator, then shake or blend before serving. Flavor your ice Freeze cubes of leftover fruit and vegetable juice, milk and tea. Use instead of plain ice for a flavor or nutrient boost or to approximate the magic of ice cream or sorbet. Freeze your vegetables Our taste buds are temperature- sensitive, so 1/2 cup of frozen broccoli or cauliflower can be incorporated without altering the flavor of your smoothie. Warm it up Adding foods such as fennel, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne not only balances cooling blends but also gives smoothies a nice kick, stimulates the lymphatic system and can detoxify. Add a body bonus Adding 1/2 teaspoon of probiotic powder or the contents of 1 probiotic capsule helps to balance the natural sugar content of sweet smoothies, aids the digestive system and can boost immunity. It is undetectable in a smoothie and a great way to get your daily dose. Drizzle in a healthy extra Cold-pressed oils such as flaxseed, hemp, borage, avocado, coconut, macadamia, pumpkin seed and olive are healthful boosts. Start small, with just a teaspoon. Add gradually, usually about a tablespoon -- just enough so you can't detect it. Cool tips Hot Additions The ice goes in last to help pull all the other ingredients down into the blades for even mixing.

SOURCE: Masters is the author of "The Blender Girl: Super-Easy, Super-Healthy Meals, Snacks, Desserts and Drinks - 100 Gluten-Free, Vegan Recipes" (Ten Speed Press, 2014). The Blender Girl Smoothies app (100 smoothie recipes)..