Building a Healthy Smoothie

Smoothies are supposed to be healthy. Here’s how to make sure they stay that way.

Ever since you first heard of smoothies, your mouth has been watering. When you’re sipping on a smoothie, your mouth is in taste heaven. When there’s no smoothie in your hand, all you can think of are strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. But if you’re not careful, your smoothies can turn into nothing more than an average dessert.

To make sure your smoothie is as healthy as it is cold and delicious, you’ve got to have more than a good blender. You’ve got to have the right building blocks as well.

Building Block: Fruit

In a healthy smoothie, the most basic building block is fruit. Ideally, you want to go with fresh fruits that aren’t sitting in sugar water or have been made unhealthy in some other way. Rather, you want fruit straight off the vine or tree. Raw fruit that hasn’t been tampered with will ensure you the most powerful smoothie punch.

Some of the most common fruits found in smoothies include bananas, strawberries, and blueberries. But don’t let this keep you from getting creative. No matter what your favorite fruit is, you can toss it in the blender for a delightful, flavorful smoothie. From cantaloupe and mango to pineapple, raspberry, and melon, you can include any fruit you can find in your smoothie concoction.

Want the thickest, most delicious smoothie possible? Toss the fruits you plan to use for a smoothie in the freezer before you go to bed. In the morning, toss them in the blender. It’s a simple, yet effective way to get the thick smoothie you want.

Building Block: Juice

Once you’ve got your fruits picked out, you’ll need to find a complementary juice. As with the fruit choices, there is one juice that is picked much more often than the others: orange juice. However, you can toss in whatever type of juice you want to spice up your smoothie.

For variations on your favorite smoothie, give apple juice, grape juice, or cranberry juice a shot. Each different juice will affect the consistency, thickness, and flavor of your smoothie, so keep trying out juices until you find the perfect flavor for your pallet.

Building Block: Yogurt

When you have lots of different fruits and flavors, you’ll probably want something to pull them all together into one cohesive whole. Enter stage left: yogurt. Low-fat or fat-free is the best choice, and since most yogurt falls into one of these categories, it is also an easy choice to find.

With the right amount of yogurt in the mix, your smoothie will go from a yummy treat to a must-have each and every day. While you’ll probably rely on vanilla yogurt for most of your smoothies, using strawberry, strawberry banana, blueberry, or other flavors will enhance your smoothie instantly!

Wake Up and Smell the Smoothie

Need a better way to get your day started? Get your morning off right with this easy-to-make Wake-Up Smoothie recipe.

Yields:
3 servings, 1 cup each
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups orange juice (go for calcium-fortified for added benefit)
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen berries of your choice (good options include raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and/or strawberries)
  • 1/2 cup low-fat silken tofu or low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or Splenda Granular (optional way to add flavor that causes the smoothie to be a tiny bit less healthy)

Instructions

  • Combine all ingredients and put in a blender. Cover and blend until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Serve immediately. Smile.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: 139 calories; 2 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat, 0 grams monosaturated fat, 0 milligrams cholesterol, 28 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams protein, 4 grams fiber, 19 milligrams sodium, 421 milligrams potassium.

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Sip Your Way Thin

Tea for two
Image by naama via Flickr

Drink This Not That

Changing what you drink just may be the magic weight loss bullet you’ve been looking for.

David Zinczenko and Matt Goulding sure think so. But then they did write the book on it: Drink This Not That. They’ve even gone so far as to claim that you could lose up to 32 pounds in a year just by changing what you drink.

What most people don’t know is that it’s a lot easier to drink extra calories than to eat it. So you really need to pay attention to what you’re sipping on.

Here is a sampling of what their book has to offer. The following are 5 of the worst things to drink, followed by 5 slimming alternatives.

Breakfast
While a cup of hot coffee or a glass of lowfat milk are both great ways to start your day, beware of the smoothie trap. More often than not smoothies are closer to milkshakes than protein shakes.

Worst beverage: Smoothie King Peanut Power Plus Grape (40oz)

  • 1,498 calories / 44g fat / 214g sugar

Drink This Instead: Smoothie King High Protein Banana (20oz)

  • 322 calories / 9g fat / 23g sugar

Lunch
A study done at Virginia Polytechnic Institute showed that people who drink 17oz of water before sitting down for a meal ended up eating 9 percent fewer calories. Those calories can really add up over time.

Worst beverage:

SoBe Green Tea (20oz)

  • 240 calories / 0g fat / 61g sugar

Drink This Instead: Honest Tea Organic Honey Green Tea (16oz)

  • 74 calories / 0g fat / 18g sugar

Afternoon
When the afternoon rolls around most of us are ready for a pick-me-up. Too often these caffeinated drinks are loaded with waist-expanding calories.

Worst beverage: Starbucks Venti Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with whipped cream

  • 660 calories / 22g fat / 95g sugar

Drink This Instead: Starbucks Venti Caramel Cappuccino

  • 170 calories / 6g fat / 18g sugar

Postworkout
There’s no good reason to follow up a great workout with a sugar-filled beverage, even if it makes claims for quick recovery and muscle growth. After exercise your body is in need of protein, carbohydrates and potassium, so choose a beverage filled with these three.

Worst beverage: Naked Protein Juice Smoothie (15.2oz)

  • 418 calories / 4g fat / 53g sugar

Drink This Instead: Horizon Organic Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk (8oz)

  • 180 calories / 5g fat / 27g sugar

Alcoholic beverages
There are known benefits to drinking alcohol in moderation (one or two drinks per day) such as raised HDL (good) cholesterol, boost in bloodflow, and improved sugar metabolism. A recent study in the journal BMC Public Health reported that people who have a daily drink were 54 percent less likely to be obese. However, it’s called a beer belly for good reason, since many alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories.

Worst beverage: Red Lobster Traditional Lobsterita

  • 890 calories / 183g carbohydrates

Drink This Instead: Red Lobster Classic Martini with Gin

  • 140 calories / 0g carbohydrates

Recent studies are reporting that most of us drink 21 percent of our daily calories. That adds up to an average of 460 calories each day. It’s easy to see how these calories quickly add up into unwanted pounds.

Pay extra attention to what you drink throughout each day. Make it a habit to pass on the calorie-packed drinks and to focus on drinking lots of water.

Remember that small changes to your lifestyle over time will make the difference.

I’m always available to help – call or email me to set up your free consultation.

Green Weight Loss?

Need more convincing that greens should be a regular part of your diet?

People who consume green smoothies report fewer cravings for unhealthy food and tend to snack far less than when they aren’t getting their greens.

So sip your green smoothie with a big smile, knowing that you’re turbo charging your health and expediting your weight loss.

Green Smoothie
Green smoothies consist of 3 basic ingredients: greens, fruit and water. Have fun experimenting with a wide range of varieties of both the greens and the fruit in order to reap the most benefit. You may be surprised to find that the simple combination of greens and fruit is quite delicious.
Servings: 1

Here’s what you need…

  • 1 bunch (2 cups) red dandelion greens (feel free to use spinach or any other dark greens)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1-2 cups filtered water
  1. In a high speed blender mix the ingredients until smooth.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving equals: 199 calories, 1g fat, 47g carbohydrate, 10g fiber, and 6g protein.

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