Healthy and Delicious Summer Smoothies
Nothing says summer like a refreshing smoothie on a hot summer day. Healthy, easy to make and portable, smoothies are ideal fuel anytime – for breakfast on-the-go, an afternoon or pre or post-workout snack, or dessert. Smoothies are also a fun way to incorporate more fresh fruit (and vegetables!) into your diet. Simply throw in any combination of milk, yogurt, fruit, vegetables, nutrient boosters (i.e. nut butters, wheat germ, flaxseed), and your favorite add-ins into a blender and within minutes, you’ve got a drinkable creation full of satiating protein, filling fiber, and a variety of vitamins and minerals. Who needs to walk into a health food store and pay over $7 for one cup when you can create a nutrient-packed and delicious smoothie without having to step foot out your door? The possibilities are endless! This article is a guest post from my colleague, Rachel Stahl, RD.
Here are the basics to get you started:
Low-fat milk, almond milk, rice milk, soy milk, coconut water, unsweetened coconut milk, water, juice. Opt for unsweetened milks and try to steer clear of sugar-packed fruit juices. Or, you can always dilute the milk or other liquid with ½ cup water. Amount to use: 1 cup
2. Protein Powerhouses:
-Low-fat yogurt: Look for Greek-style yogurt at the supermarket as it contains twice as much protein and imparts a richer, creamier texture than regular yogurt. Amount to use: ½ – 1 cup
-Nut butters: Some popular varieties include almond, cashew, peanut, or sunflower butter. Nut butters contain healthy fats, which regulate your energy, mood, and even your weight. They also provide a delicious nutty taste! Amount to use: 1-2 Tbsp
– Scoop of protein powder
3. Fruit: Any and all! My favorites: Banana, Berries, Pineapple, Pear, Mango, and Kiwi.
Amount to use: 1-2 cups
*Having frozen fruit on hand will save on prep time and help keep your smoothies thick and frosty. If you are using fresh fruits, throw in a cup of ice at the end.
4. Greens and Beyond (optional): Feeling adventurous? Take your smoothie to the next level by sneaking in a handful or two of dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach (trust me: you won’t even know it’s there). It can help to have it washed and prepped ahead of time. Just store in little bags in freezer or refrigerator. (pic credit)
5. Nutrient Boosters (optional):
-Chia seeds or Flaxseeds: These will give you a strong dose of omega-3s and fiber. Amount to use: 1 Tbsp
-Avocado: This nutrient booster is full of potassium, antioxidants, B-complex vitamins, healthy fats and fiber and adds a thick, creamy texture like the Greek-style yogurt. Amount to use: ¼ cup
6. Fun and flavorful add-ins (optional): Once you’ve got the basic ingredients down, experiment by sprinkling in different flavors like shredded coconut, toasted chopped nuts, cinnamon, ginger, cayenne pepper, herbs.
7. Sweetening Power (optional): If you find your smoothie too tart, add a little sweetness of your choosing such as ½ ripe banana. Alternatively, you can use vanilla extract, natural fruit spreads, agave, honey, or Stevia (natural sugar substitute). Amount to use: ~1-2 tsp (pic credit)
So, whether you’re powering up for a workout, preferring to eat lighter after going overboard at a summer BBQ, or just looking for a way to consume more fruits and vegetables, I’ve got you covered with these delicious and healthy smoothie recipes!
Yields: 2 servings
1 cup peeled, pitted, cubed mango
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
½ cup cubed pineapple
¼ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup ice
Nutrient facts (per serving): 140 calories, 2 gm fat, 0 gm saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 118mg sodium, 3.5 gm protein, 28 gm carbohydrates, 3 gm fiber, >100% DV Vitamin A and C
Lean ‘n Green Avocado and Spinach Smoothie
Yields: 2 servings
1 ripe medium banana
½ ripe pear or apple, chopped
¼ cup avocado, sliced
2 cups chopped spinach leaves
1 cup almond milk
¼ cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
½ cup ice cubes
1 Tbsp hemp hearts or chia seeds
Nutrient facts (per serving): 211 calories, 6 gm fat, <1 gm saturated fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 115 mg sodium, 7 gm protein, 34 gm carbohydrates, 7 gm fiber (pic credit)
Directions for all recipes:
Combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Serve in a glass and if you’d like, add a garnish such as a cut strawberry, pineapple slice, mint leaves, or chopped nuts.
Martha’s note: pic on the right is of my new Ninja blender I just bought at Bed Bath and Beyond. This post got me motivated to start to make smoothies!And I couldn’t resist adding another smoothie recipe below from my colleague, Jackie Topol, MS, RD, CDN. Check out her website: www.jackietopol.com
Cooling Coco-Cantaloupe Smoothie
Makes 2 smoothies
This delicious smoothie is refreshing and packed with protein, vitamin A, C, and potassium.
2 cups cubed cantaloupe
1 container 2% vanilla Greek yogurt
1 cup coconut water
2 teaspoons agave nectar or honey
1/4 cup ice cubes
1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Tips: Freeze cubed cantaloupe overnight for an extra frosty smoothie!
Use coconut milk instead of coconut water for a higher calorie smoothie.
Nutrition facts (for 1 smoothie): 150 calories, 2g fat, 5 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 23 g sugar, 8g protein
I’d like to thank Rachel Stahl for writing this post (pic on the right). Rachel is a Registered Dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. She is also the Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Greater New York Dietetic Association (GNYDA) Newsletter and a member of the Food & Culinary Professionals Dietetic Practice Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In her free time, Rachel enjoys traveling, visiting farmers markets, cooking, and spending time with family and friends. A field hockey player in college, she is now an avid runner and recently completed her third half marathon.
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