Smoothies can be a tasty and healthy way to get more fruit and vegetables into your daily diet. Unfortunately, many of the smoothies you find in grocery stores make it easy to consume more calories than you really want. By making your own instead, you can control what does and does not go into them.

The Smooth Basics

healthy smoothie basicsTry one of the following recipes for a nice breakfast or afternoon snack. Or get creative and come up with your own recipe:

  1. Start with a liquid base, such as milk, orange juice or even yogurt.
  2. Add a couple of servings of fresh or frozen fruit. Aim for at least 1 cup of fruit per smoothie.
  3. Try adding a vegetable or two. Someone who doesn’t usually love vegetables may enjoy them more when they are blended with other foods.
  4. Blend the ingredients until well mixed and creamy. Don’t worry if your smoothie isn’t completely smooth. A little texture makes it more interesting.

Smoothie Tips

  • Make a smoothie with yogurt, milk or calcium-fortified soymilk to boost your calcium and protein intakes. If using Greek yogurt, you may have to add a little milk or juice to get the right consistency.
  • For easier blending, pour the liquid (or yogurt) into your blender before adding fruit and vegetables.
  • Peel and slice bananas, then store them in the freezer for a convenient addition to your smoothies. Bananas not only sweeten but also thicken a smoothie.
  • Try a dash of nutmeg or allspice to add a little extra flavor to your smoothie.
  • To add volume without adding calories, toss in some ice cubes before blending. This will give your smoothie a slushier texture.

Smoothie Recipes

Blue Garden Smoothie

1/2 cup skim milk (or soy milk)
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
1 cup baby spinach leaves, loosely packed
1/2 medium banana, sliced
1/2 cup shredded carrot
dash of cinnamon
dash of nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp cocoa powder (optional)

Makes two 3/4-cup servings. Nutrition information per serving (using dairy milk):
calories 125, fat 0.5g, carbohydrates 25g, fiber 3g, protein 6g, calcium 190mg

Blushing Mango Smoothie

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
1/2 cup orange juice
1 medium banana, sliced
1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
1/2 cup frozen strawberries

Makes two 3/4-cup servings. Nutrition information per serving:
calories 150, fat 0.5g, carbohydrates 35g, fiber 3g, protein 4.5g, calcium 110mg

Strawberry Chia Smoothie

Courtesy of The American Institute for Cancer Research

3/4 cup skim milk
4 tsp chia seeds
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 Tbsp strawberry fruit spread, or to taste
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Place milk and chia seeds in blender and allow to sit while measuring other ingredients.
Add strawberries, preserves, orange zest, ginger and vanilla to blender. Whirl on high speed until smoothie is blended and creamy, about 1 minute. Pour into a tall glass and let sit to thicken for one minute before serving.

Makes one large serving. Nutrition information:
calories 249, fat 5g, carbohydrates 44g, fiber 9g, protein 9g, calcium 340mg