Think Skinny, Live FABulous!
Nothing is quite as refreshing and delicious during the warm summer months as a freshly-blended smoothie. Smoothies are not only tasty and easy to make, they can be quite nutritious as well. They’re also portable, making them a perfect grab-and-go breakfast option. However, not all smoothies are created equal–some are better for you than others.
How to Make Healthy Smoothies:
As with any food, the healthfulness of a smoothie will all depend on what basic ingredients you start with. Jump-start your busy day with a combination of fruit, protein and healthy fat.
Banana-Berry Smoothie (Serves 2)
1 cup frozen berries
1 medium banana
1 cup plain non-fat yogurt
Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Makes 2 servings. Per serving: 196 calories, 8 grams protein, 5 grams fat, 33 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber.
How to Buy Healthy Smoothies
The old Latin phrase “caveat emptor” (which means “let the buyer beware”) should be applied to smoothie purchases. Many smoothies sold in stores, drive-thru restaurants or at smoothie bars promise a plethora of health benefits. But remember–if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Additionally, smoothies have what’s commonly referred to as a “health halo” over them, meaning consumers automatically perceive them as being healthy, regardless of their actual nutrient content. Some smoothies purchased away from home can have more calories than a cheeseburger!
Your best bet is to seek out the nutrition information before you order. You can visit the company’s website to search for nutrition stats, or ask if they have a brochure that lists the nutrition facts. Some fast-food restaurants and smoothie stops are notorious for providing so-called “fruit smoothies” that contain upwards of 500 calories or more, mostly from added sugar, and contain no real fruit.
Avoid smoothies made with high-calorie, nutrient-poor ingredients like sugary syrups, higher-fat dairy products (whole milk, 2% milk, full-fat yogurt, ice-cream) and artificial additives.
Also, remember to keep portion sizes appropriate–it is possible to get too many calories if your smoothie is giant-sized, even if those calories come from healthy ingredients.
The Bottom Line
Smoothies can definitely be a flavorful, nutritious, convenient addition to your already-healthy diet. Whether you like to whip up your own smoothies at home, or you prefer to quickly grab this summer staple at a fast-food restaurant or smoothie stop, be sure to choose healthy ingredients and practice portion control.