If you are not getting your recommended 2-4 servings of fruit each day, smoothies are one of the best ways to sucker yourself into making sure you (and your kids!) do. When I first started making smoothies, I didn’t think I liked them. It turns out it was because I didn’t know how to make them taste good! I also wasn’t making them as nutritious as they could be. After a lot of practice, I've learned some good smoothie moves…don’t miss these!
Use Frozen Fruit: Fresh fruit is nutritionally optimal, as anything in its purest form contains the highest amount of nutrients. That being said, if the hassle of cutting up fresh fruit or worrying that it will go bad before you use it is keeping you from making smoothies, then frozen fruit is definitely better than no fruit at all! Frozen fruit also makes for creamier smoothies since you don’t have to add ice cubes that make the smoothie icy and chunky versus smooth.
Use Greek Yogurt: One of the problems I used to have with my smoothies is that I would be hungry ½ hour after I drank them. Now I add Greek yogurt (like Oikos) that not only gives my smoothies a wonderful texture and taste, it also makes them high in protein and thus more filling! Greek yogurt also adds probiotic benefits, a great bonus. I know protein powders are popular and necessary if you are looking for 25+ grams of protein (for those doing body building or heavy training), but if you are just looking for a good source of protein, Greek yogurt makes the smoothie so much more natural tasting and fresh.
Know which Fruits are Lowest/Highest in Sugar: Eating fruit is part of a healthy diet (unless you are a diabetic). However, there are really big differences in the sugar content of fruit which are important to pay attention to (especially if you are trying to limit your overall carbohydrate intake). Among the fruit that contain the lowest amount of sugar are blueberries, raspberries, acai, lemons, limes, papayas and tangerines. Mangos, cherries, pineapples, pomegranates and apples contain very high levels of sugar.
Add in Cacao: One word: chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better! However, be sure to get your chocolate flavoring from cacao which is a great source of flavanol antioxidants, minerals and gives you a natural energy boost. Raw cacao is best for the highest level of antioxidants, but Hershey’s also sells a dark cacao that is available in regular grocery stores and is a great second choice. It has only 5 calories per 1 tbsp., but it does have fewer antioxidants than raw cacao.
Add Powdered Peanut Butter: Peanut butter…YUM! Except that it is usually insanely high in calories and fat, not the best idea for those trying to keep the calories down. But now there are awesome powdered peanut butters like PB2 that have only 50 calories per serving. They are easy to add to a smoothie, provide a good amount of protein and give your smoothies the same taste as regular peanut butter would!
OK, now that you know how to make your smoothies delicious and nutritious, it’s time to get going. Your body will thank you! I’ve posted my favorite smoothie recipes that incorporate these tips. Be sure to check them out!
Do you have any great tips of your own? Please share!
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