By Janice Wade-Miller
Spring is approaching, and very soon we’ll be seeing the vast rainbow of fruit colors at produce stores and farmers’ markets. Smoothies make a great addition to your collection of healthy snack recipes. Toss a few simple ingredients into your blender and you’ll have a delicious, sweet, colorful, grandkid-pleasing smoothie in no time.
Smoothies are a feast for our eyes and bodies. They are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phyto (plant) nutrients. Rich in soluble fiber, they are low in calories and fat. Plus, they are a healthy way to satisfy a sweet tooth due to the simple sugars they contain.
What’s to Love about Smoothies?
• No cooking!
• There’s no limit to the fruits and flavors available.
• They pull triple duty by satisfying hunger, quenching thirst and making a nutritious breakfast or snack.
• They give overripe fruit a second life.
• They are an imaginative way to slip more nutrients and fiber into everyone’s diets.
Suggestions for Smoothie Success
• Try using frozen fruits (like bananas, strawberries, peaches or watermelon) instead of ice cubes to add thickness and flavor. Just cube the fruits, put on a cookie sheet and freeze. Then bag them and keep in freezer.
• For extra nutrition, use flavored or plain yogurt, wheat germ, milk, apple juice or orange juice.
• Add ground flax seeds for extra fiber and omega 3 fatty acids.
• If the smoothie recipe calls for sugar, try it without sugar first. The fruit in the smoothie may be sweet enough without the extra calories of sugar.
• Use your imagination and add ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, mint leaves, ginger or a few drops of lemon to complement the dominant fruit in the smoothie.
Putting It All Together
Cut washed, chilled fruit into chunks. Pour the liquid you’ve chosen into the blender first. Then add the fruit and flavorings and blend. Taste-test it and adjust the flavorings. If it’s too thick, add 1/4 cup of liquid at a time. If it’s too thin, add a few more fruit chunks or ice cubes. Then give it one more whirl. Presto! A beautiful, nutritious snack.
Did you know that at least 54 percent of the population consumes no daily fresh or frozen fruit at all? Eating a variety of fruits is important because different fruits provide different nutrients. If you occasionally enjoy only a few fruits, you and your grandkids are missing out on a whole world of nutrients and benefits. Shop-bought smoothies are often pasteurized, and many of the heat-sensitive nutrients may be diminished. Homemade is best!
More Yummy Ideas:
How to create a smoothie, plus recipes:
Video: Strawberry-vanilla smoothie:
Video: How to make healthy, fresh fruit smoothies:
Janice Wade-Miller is a nutrition educator in Tallahassee, Florida. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Food and Nutrition from Florida State University. In her role as a health educator, she has assisted all age groups, from young children to senior citizens in learning about good nutrition, health and food safety. Her email address is [email protected].