Spotlight Recipes: Simple Smoothies

by in Healthy Recipes, March 9, 2009

Smoothies are a healthy dieter’s best friend, but not all are created equal. Here are tips for creating a light and satisfying drink — all in five minutes or less.

The Base
Deciding the base of your smoothie is essential for keeping those calories down. Whole milk contains 150 calories per cup and 5 grams of saturated fat. Using fat-free (skim) milk cuts 65 calories and eliminates practically all the saturated fat.

With 130 calories per cup, soy milk is another option. Look for light soy milk, which comes in plain, chocolate and vanilla flavors and has only 70 calories per cup. Silken tofu also works well to give smoothies thickness and a great thickness. The tofu will pick up the flavors you mix it with — so make no faces until you’ve tried it (that’s my rule!).

For frothier smoothies, use a small amount of flavored sorbet. Ice is also a great option that will save you calories so you can add other goodies to your smoothie.

The Mixers
Fruit combinations really make a smoothie. Try a combo of various berries or tropical fruit blended together. Add a splash of fruit juice to add more flavor — for example, add 1/4 cup pomegranate juice to strawberries and peaches.

Fresh fruit always works, but beware of the frozen ones. Some packages have added sugars — check your list of ingredients. You can also freeze fresh fruit. Freeze a sliced banana overnight and it’ll be ready for a morning drink.

The Protein
If you’re recharging post-workout or want to try a smoothie for breakfast, you want some extra protein. Try adding a tablespoon of peanut butter or a scoop of whey or soy protein powder. Choose a protein powder without added herbs, chemicals or artificial sweeteners. Don’t overdo it with powders, though — it can create a grainy, chalky texture.

Be Creative
Experiment with different foods to create different flavors. Avocado adds texture and healthy fats — just add a sliver since it’s a high-calorie fruit. Add whole grains such as rolled oats or cooked quinoa. One of my all-time favorite smoothies I had overseas featured cooked quinoa mixed with various melon juices. Try flaxseeds for some omega-3 fats or ground instant coffee, a shot of espresso or a dash of cocoa powder for an extra kick.

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Comments (40)

  1. Pat says:

    Please, can somebody give me a recipe for a smoothie that doesn't have a banana in it? I'm allergic to bananas.

    • Guest says:

      Just mix any type of fruit and omit the banana – I hardly ever use bananas. You can use only one fruit like strawberries, or try combo like strawberries,blueberries, and peaches. There are no rules – let your taste buds [and/or allergies] guide you! Also try to add any flavor of yogurt for added health option. And if you want to get real adventurous, add in veggies like a carrot, celery or even kale and spinach. You won't taste them but they'll increase the health factors substantially!

    • cya says:

      i make a mango pineapple smooth with yogurt, pineapple, mango and a splash of oj with a lil splenda or honey to sweeten.

    • Nicole says:

      Honestly what I do is go to the fridge, freezer, and counter and see what I have. Just have fun playing with combos. Yesterday I have a fresh fruit smoothie with an orange, cup of grapes, and an apple. On hand in the freezer I try to always have 2-4 kinds of frozen fruit. (no sugar added). I must say one of my favs is, 1 cup fresh pineapple, 1 cup frozen or fresh mango, and 8 med. strawberries, fresh or frozen. 3 servings of fruit in one yummy drink.

  2. zoe says:

    Banana allergy… try this.

    3 peaches
    1 handful spinach leaves
    1 cup water

    Sounds strange, but you get your greens in too! You could subtitute pears, bluberries, or apples or combine some.

    • nicole says:

      love spinach in my smoothies, but for those that don't think they can drink spinach, a granny smith apple is a great combo with spinach for flavor.

  3. kj says:

    1/2 cup nonfat milk
    1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
    1/2 frozen banana, peeled and chopped
    2 tablespoons powdered protein supplement
    2 tablespoons flax seed
    1/2 cup frozen strawberries, blueberries, peaches
    1 pkt of splenda or 1 tsp honey

    I freeze the 1/2 banana, yogurt and other fruit then blend with milk, flax seed and splenda in the morning. yum!

    • Caren says:

      Mine is very similar to yours, but I use the unsweetened almond milk, add 2tbsp of wheat germ and some combo of celery or celery leaves and those inside stalks, cucumber, spinach and or parsley…sometimes grate some ginger root. For a change, I will sometimes substitute the banana for an apple or green grapes. I love my Ninja Pro Professional with the three blades…it's makes a fab smoothie in seconds.

  4. sidney-sue says:

    i’m going to try these they sound great

  5. Tracie says:

    Try the Acai berry smoothie packet from NewFlower market. It has about 100 calories, but you can use just half. 1 cup of skim milk/soymilk and 1/2 cup low fat plain or vanilla yogurt. Add some ice, put it all in the blender and yummy! The acai berry gives you a great boost of natual energy. Or just use a cup of your own fav. fruits.

  6. Debbie says:

    Here’s a no-banana smoothie. 1/2 cup of milk, 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 cup of frozen fruit, and 1 teaspoon honey, if not sweet enough. Blend well, add ice if not thick enough.

  7. Patti says:

    Just leave out the banana and add other fruit. Bananas are not required to make a good smoothie. I never add them because of the sugar and calorie content and my smoothies turn out great!

  8. Connie says:

    This sounds like a smart alternative to a milkshake. We dont have access to alot of fruits in season in mid-west so these are invariably not cost worthy.

  9. April says:

    I live in the midwest too and the poster with the comment about the fruit being out of season in the winter was way off! Just use frozen strawberries, blueberries or peaches. Helps make the smoothie thicker so you need less ice!

  10. Teresa says:

    Love smoothies, hate bananas. Will make all smoothies without using the bananas.

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