Smoothies: On-The-Go Treats Loaded With Nutrition
Smoothies are one of the most versatile and delicious treats around. Are they a snack? Yes. Can they be a sweet treat for your sweet tooth? Sure. What about as a way to add more fruits and vegetables into a life that needs better nutrition? Absolutely!
In fact, smoothies are perfect for hanging out on your patio with friends, unwinding alone after a busy day of running errands, or just about any time in between. The best part is they are easy to make and can be customized to make use of whatever you have in your kitchen—all you need is a good blender—and a little creativity.
Fruit smoothies are quickly becoming the standard go-to snack for those trying to eat healthier. But, like any other treat, they can range from being super healthy and charged with antioxidants to being more like a decadent dessert—all based on which ingredients you choose.
There are three basic mixer ingredients for a smoothie: milk, yogurt, or water. Which of these you choose to use will greatly affect the nutritional value of your smoothie. If you use water your smoothie will be much lower in calories and fat than one made with whole milk—and yogurt smoothie (or those made with low-fat or skim milk) will fall somewhere in the middle.
Which fruits you use also highly affect how healthy your smoothie will be. For instance, for a blast of antioxidants (from the blueberries) to keep you healthy and a taste to satisfy your craving for an afternoon snack, try this recipe:
- 1/2 cup milk of your choice (skim, whole, soy, almond, etc.)
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 cup fresh strawberries
- 6 ounces Greek yogurt, plain
- Splash of vanilla
Mix the ingredients in a blender until smooth and then enjoy your healthy treat as you power through the rest of your day!
Protein enhanced smoothies
We all lead busy lives, and between work, family and our friends it can be hard to fit in time for ourselves. Carving out a little you-time by establishing a workout routine is not only great for your physical health, but also for stress management. Don’t undo all the work you put in at the gym, however, by skipping out on a post-workout snack or by filling up on treats loaded with carbs and sugars.
Research has shown that eating protein within an hour after finishing your workout is important for your bodies’ recovery process. It plays an important role in helping the muscles repair themselves after all the hard work you put them through and even prompts the development of new muscles, making your body stronger as a result of your training.
Since most of us are tight on time and can’t sit down for a protein-packed meal, blending up a smoothie can seem like a simple solution. But why not ramp up the benefits by including in your smoothie some protein powder? If you do, you’ll be off to the next destination on your busy schedule—and your body will get what it needs to recover.
For a delicious post-workout protein drink, try this:
- 1 banana
- 1 1/4 cups raspberries
- 10 whole almonds, unsalted
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 3 tablespoons chocolate (or vanilla) flavored protein powder
Blend together the banana, strawberries, almonds, water, and ice cubes until smooth.
Then, add the protein powder and pulse until it is evenly distributed throughout the drink.
Here’s another smoothie—for something a little different. What you can make a smoothie out of is limited only by your imagination. This one was created for the Vitamix blender.
- 1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1 (12.3 ounce) Silken tofu
- 1/2 cup ice
Place all ingredients into Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid. Select Variable 1. Turn on machine and slowly increase speed to 10, then to High.
Blend for 30 seconds with tamper or until desired consistency is reached. Serve immediately.
Is there a trendier drink than the green smoothie? Green smoothies are the “it” snack for weight loss and management because they support a healthy metabolism, have cleansing detoxification properties, and are generally low in calories. The key to an ultra-healthy green smoothie is to strike the perfect balance of ingredients. Here are some guidelines to help you create your own:
- Greens. Kind of a “no kidding” category, right? But many people skimp on this ingredient or are not sure which varieties to use. If you are new to green smoothies, try starting out with a very neutral, yet nutritious, green such as spinach or romaine lettuce. Since their flavors aren’t over powering, it will be easy to combine them with other fruits and veggies for a tasty snack that may rival your old favorite blueberry smoothie. Flavor is important because the idea is to incorporate them into your diet—if they don’t taste good how likely are you to do that? Once you get hooked on your spinach smoothie, you can experiment with other greens, such as kale, collard greens, celery, or cucumbers, that are loaded with nutrients.
- Fruits or veggies. Here you can stray from the constraint of choosing only green produce. Think about the goals you are trying to achieve, whether it be weight loss or detox, and consider the flavors that most appeal to you. This may come across as common sense, but with all the fruits and veggies we have available to us, it can be overwhelming to decide which ones to try out. Keep in mind that, as with the greens, you want to make sure the different flavors go well together so you will be more likely to continue including green smoothies as part of your diet in the future if you find they help you meet your healthy living goals.
- Supplements. Since green smoothies are often used for dietary reasons, it’s a good idea to add powdered supplements to the mix to make sure they are as loaded with nutrients as possible. While they shouldn’t be a replacement for all your meals, they sure are a great way to get in all the vitamins and minerals that are missing from your diet.
KitchenAid’s new Diamond Vortex 5-Speed Blender makes some seriously delicious summer treats. Visit these other blogs on CHEFS Mix for the details:
- Product Review: KitchenAid Diamond Vortex 5-Speed Blender
- Hot Summer Parties Call For Cool Summer Drinks
- Beat the summer heat with frozen treats
- Smoothies: On-The-Go Treats Loaded With Nutrition
Your turn: Are you on the smoothie bandwagon yet? What health benefits have you experienced from smoothies?