By: Nancy Kalish
What’s an easy, nutritious breakfast or an energizing snack? A smoothie! But don’t you dare buy the smoothies you’ll find on the shelves at your local store. Many -- even those that are labeled organic -- are full of cavity-causing, waistline-expanding sugar. For example, one 10-ounce Stonyfield Strawberry Super Smoothie contains a whopping 38 grams of sugar -- that’s 144 calories’ worth and just 1 g less than a 12-oz can of Coke. And a small Mega Mango Smoothie at Jamba Juice weighs in at 53 g of sugar. (The large contains 95 g!)
The good news: It’s simple, fast and cheaper to make your own much-healthier smoothies at home. They’re filling and sweet, but they won’t overload you with sugar. Plus, smoothies are an easy way to get in some extra fruits, vegetables and bone- and teeth-building dairy. (You can use other liquids if you’re avoiding dairy.) All you need is a blender (preferably one that will crush ice) and a few ingredients.
Mix-and-match Smoothie Recipe
To make one serving, follow the steps below. If you want some delicious combinations to get you started, check out some of my favorites after the lists.
Step No. 1: Start with one of the following liquids:
1 cup water
1 cup milk (organic if possible)
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk from another nut)
1 cup unsweetened coconut water
1 cup plain yogurt
Step No. 2: Add one of the following healthy fats and proteins:
3-4 tablespoons vanilla, chocolate- or berry-flavored whey protein powder (organic and sweetened with Stevia if possible); I like tera’swhey products
2 tablespoons nut butter (almond, peanut, cashew -- without added sugar if possible)
1 tablespoon flaxseed or coconut oil
1/4 avocado (sounds strange, but gives smoothies a wonderful creamy texture)
Step No. 3: Add one or two of the following fruits and veggies:
1 cup frozen fruit (blueberries, strawberries, peaches, mangos, cherries); try a combo, such as strawberry-peach
1 frozen banana, peeled and cut into chunks
1 cup grapes
1 cup melon cubes
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup chopped apple
1 carrot, chopped
1 cup kale (stems removed)
2 cups spinach
2 teaspoons SuperGreens powder (available at health food stores)
Step No. 4: Add three or four ice cubes; process until smooth and creamy.
Step No. 5: Taste and add 1-2 tablespoons of agave or honey (or a packet of Stevia if it’s not sweet enough). Blend again briefly and enjoy!
Here are some of my favorite combinations:
· Strawberry-chocolate Smoothie: 2 tablespoons chocolate whey protein, 1 cup frozen organic strawberries, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and 4 ice cubes
· Blueberry-almond Smoothie: 2 tablespoons almond butter, 1/2 cup frozen blueberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 cup unsweetened almond milk and 2 ice cubes
· Mango-lime Smoothie: 1 cup mango chunks, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, 1 cup coconut water and 4 ice cubes
· Kale-apple Smoothie: 1/2 cup kale, 1/2 peeled and chopped apple, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, 1 cup plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon or more agave syrup to taste and 4 ice cubes
Nancy Kalish is a certified health coach, and an editor and writer with more than 20 years of experience. She has covered health, nutrition and oral health for Prevention, Health, SELF, Real Simple, The New York Times, Completely You and more.
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