Licuados: A Sip of Guatemala

During a day spent in and out of the tropical sun and blanketed in high humidity, what could be more refreshing than a chilly smoothie (or licuado, as we say in Guatemala)? There’s just something about ice, milk and/or yogurt, a dash of sweetener and lush tropical fruit blended together. The varieties are as plentiful as the tropical fruits available at the mercado. Banana, papaya, cantaloupe, watermelon and even avocado can each create a scrumptious blend with the other ingredients.

Beyond the yumminess, there’s another reason to enjoy smoothies: staying hydrated! We often read or hear how important hydration is for the brain. Dehydration should be a noteworthy concern, especially in third-world countries like Guatemala. Whether or not you live in the tropics and whether you are a healthcare provider, interpreter, student, parent or some other vital role, you need your brain to be in tip-top shape to keep learning and serving. But let’s face it, water can taste, well, rather plain after a while. Instead of heading for a soda can or another latte, why not blend up a brain-boosting smoothie?

Feeling thirsty yet? If so, you’re in luck! Today we’re sharing a recipe for a longtime favorite. This simple Licuado de Banano brings back memories of crates of bananas at the local market, after-clinic refreshments and Guatemala school snack times. We hope you enjoy it and that you build your own set of sweet, healthful memories along the way.

Licuado de Banano Recipe

(This recipe makes an individual serving. However, it’s easy to double and share with a friend!)


6 ice cubes

1/2 banana, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup milk (In Guatemala, we used powdered milk, but you can use regular milk or almond milk.)

dash of vanilla

sweetener to taste (Everyone has different preferences about this, so go with how you like it! If your banana is nicely ripe, you may decide the smoothie is perfect without added sugars.)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite glass and plop in a straw if you’d like. Enjoy!

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Feel free to share it with us. Here at Understanding the Guatemalan Patient, we’re always on the lookout for good ideas! And if you would like to find out what makes an avocado smoothie awesome, drop us a line, and we’ll post it in the upcoming weeks.