Thursday, March 12, 2015

Sensational Summer Smoothies Debunked

Preface: Found in the archives of drafts long gone unpublished, this was originally written in 2012.

When the weather gets warmer, there is nothing more refreshing than a cool summer smoothie. But not all smoothies are created equal. Store-bought smoothies:
  • Are often full of added sugars - look for turbinado, sweetened juice or honey in the ingredients list
  • Can contain unnecessary additives to add protein, caffeine or electrolytes that are better sourced from whole foods
  • Can have distorted portion sizes - do you need really need 20 oz of smoothie?
  • Often contain everything but whole fruit, including sorbet, and juices
There are some good smoothie choices out there though!
  • Jamba Juice's Probiotic Fruit & Yogurt Blends are made with nonfat yogurt, soymilk and whole fruit, along with their probiotic blend. A small size smoothie ranges from 230-250 calories and provides 15% of your daily value of calcium. 
  • At Smoothie King, you can ask to "Make it Skinny", which means they leave out the added sugar. Try the Celestial Cherry High with 157 calories for 20 oz when you make it skinny. Don't be afraid to ask for a kids size - at 12 oz and 265 calories, the Kid's Kups Gimme-Grape is a great choice too! 
  • If you like Freshens' smoothies, choose smoothies without a "Juice Blend" in favor of whole fruit. Some "No Sugar Added" Smoothies may have sweetened juice instead of sugar. The Jamaican Jammer, for example, is made up of yogurt and whole fruit and comes in at 290 calories. The Strawberry Squeeze is another great option at 250 calories.
The best smoothie option is always home-made. You know what you are putting into it, and you can use appropriate servings sizes and sweetener to your taste. Below is a quick guide to get you started making smoothies at home. Pick at least one ingredient from each column, but feel free to double up on fruits and veggies. 

Smoothie Base
Fruits & Veggies
  • Skim or 1% Milk
  • Low-fat Greek Yogurt
  • Low-fat Yogurt
  • Low-fat Kefir
  • Soy Milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Green Tea
  • Coffee
  • Coconut Water

  • ½ Banana
  • ½ cup Pineapple
  • ½ cup Mango
  • ½ cup Papaya
  • ½ cup Peaches 
  • ½ cup Strawberries
  • ½ cup Blueberries
  • ½ cup Raspberries
  • ½ cup Orange slices
  • 1 cup Baby Spinach
  • ½ Avocado
  • 1 Medium Carrot, sliced
  • 1 Small Apple

  • 1/8 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp Flax Seeds
  • 1 Tbsp Wheat Germ
  • 1 tsp Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Honey
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Mint
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/8 tsp Cinnamon/ Allspice/ Nutmeg
  • Splenda/ Equal/ Sweet N' Low to Taste

For example, you could combine 6 oz nonfat Vanilla Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup peaches and 1/2 cup strawberries, and garnish it with some mint for 180 calories and 81% of your Daily Value of vitamin C.