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. Mainiac says:

    This is sort of a no brainer, but if you don’t have to watch your weight or cholesterol, substitute whole milk, whole milk yogurt, etc. I cringe when I see the words fat free, skim, low-fat, etc.

  2. ArtMommy says:

    If you don't like the yogurt, try this.
    6 oz. milk or juice.
    1 c ice (seriously, why is everyone dissing the ice? I'll add to your daily water intake, and it thickens the smoothie)
    1 scoop of sorbet
    1 c fruit, frozen

    If you want, you can even skip the sorbet and put in a little more fruit… although I would use fresh fruit for this so it'll blend easier. Depending upon your blender, you may want to play with the fresh/frozen ratios anyway.

  3. Ann says:

    I love smoothies with chocolate soy milk, vanilla yogurt, and frozen blueberries really good

  4. Caryl says:

    For anyone wanting less sugar and those who have diabetes, add blue agave sweetener found in health food stores. Its much sweeter than sugar, but it is digested more slowly so no blood sugar spikes. In CA, Trader Joe's and Henry's sells blue agave sweetener.

    • celesti arcana says:

      All shaw's ,stop&shop,Big Y stores sell blue agave sweetner also the living Earth on Park avenue and Chandler sts.

  5. Toni says:

    I just use fruit and veggies with water in my smoothies. No fat, no dairy, etc. The more fruit the sweeter it is. I even put a half head of lettuce or Kale. It looks green, but it's sweet from the fruit. No need to add sugar or sweetner. Watch out tho, if your looking to get all the nutrients from the veggies and fruits, the wrong combinations can actually do harm to each other and you don't get the full nutritional effect. Great to have before workouts. Very low in calories, and it's a meal too.

  6. Laura says:

    I always try to use something creamy to give my smoothies a good texture. Other than bananas, I've been using avocado, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. Sounds odd, but I swear it's delish!

    I also always add a big handful of spinach. You can't taste it and it's a great way to get in another serving of greens.

  7. Carole Mason says:

    We use blueberries, strawberries, (pineapple, in moderation) some coconut milk, 2 Tbl. organic powdered protein about 1/2 cup plain yogurt. A handful of dark greens mix, and some crushed ice.
    To add sweetness for the family I use some Stevia – a dash of good quality cinnamon and a
    small half capful of pure vanilla. We think it's a great beginning – and so tasty.

  8. Julie says:

    I do light soymilk, protein powder, a banana (which makes it really thick, more like a shake than a smoothie so it seems like it'd be bad for you but it's not!), a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a little bit of flax and rolled oats. Perfect every time and will fill you up for hours!!

  9. SmokinJoe says:

    I make my smoothie as follows:
    1/2 cup almond milk
    1/2 cup no fat vanilla yogurt
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 tablespoon cinnamon
    1 cup frozen blueberries…put blender on liquify & let run approx. 3 minutes, or until smooth…

  10. Little M says:

    I use Greek yogurt, frozen raspberries (no sugar added), a tablespoon of natual almond butter (no sugar or salt added) some grated ginger and 2 ice cubes. Its yummy!

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