Huggins recommends choosing or preparing a smoothie with a goal of incorporating as many good groups as possible – fruits, vegetables, protein, grains, and low-fat dairy, with a small amount of healthy fat.
And beware the potential pitfalls.
“Smoothies bought from an eatery often have added sugars, which increase empty calories. This gives the beverage more calories, but it’s lacking in good nutrition,” adds Cindy Huggins, registered dietitian nutritionist.
Per the USDA Choose My Plate website, fruit juice, sugar of any kind, syrup, honey, and dairy desserts such as ice cream are each considered an added sugar. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans reduced the
amount of added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories. For example, a person who consumes a 2000 calorie diet would need to limit added sugars to less than 200 calories.
Spruill designed a great summer smoothie that she said is long on nutrition and flavor.
“Summer is here, and this smoothie makes a perfect tropical treat,” she said. “Not only is it beautiful and tasty, but it is also packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.”
When making a nutrient-rich smoothie, aim to choose an ingredient from each of the following groups:
Greens: (½ to 2 cups) spinach, kale, chard, mixed baby greens
Liquid: (1 cup) low-fat milk, water, unsweetened almond milk / coconut milk, coconut water, 100% fruit juice (No sugar added)
Fresh Fruit: (up to 1 cup) banana, pineapple, berries, orange (peeled)
Frozen Fruit: (up to 1 cup) strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, peaches, cherries, mango, pineapple, ice
Protein / Fat: ½ cup Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon nut butter or heart healthy oil, ½ cup cottage cheese, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 tablespoons avocado
Grains: ¼ cup Rolled Oats
Boosters: (Optional) ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon chia Seeds or flax seeds, up to 1 tablespoon honey
Pink Power Smoothie
Serving Size: 1 cup
Makes 2 servings
1/3 cup Frozen Pitaya (Dragon Fruit)
1/3 cup Frozen Peaches
1/3 cup Frozen Pineapple
3/4 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/4 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. Avocado
Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Note: This recipe was developed for a fruity snack option, to make it a meal replacement choose a ¼ cup protein source to add in.
Calories: 95 kcal
Total Fat: 3.5 g
Total Carbohydrate: 17 g
Sugars: 11 g
Dietary Fiber: 3 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 10 mg