By Kristi Winkels, RDN, LD
If you like “grab and go” meals and snacks, it’s hard to ignore the appeal of a smoothie. They’re quick and easy to make, portable, and can taste as good as a decadent milk shake. But are they good for you?
It's all about the ingredients you use! Grab a blender and follow these tips to make a nutritious and delicious smoothie:
Start with a frozen base
Frozen fruit works well in creating an icy base that won’t water your smoothie down and it’s naturally sweet so no added sugar is needed to make it delicious. Pro tip: Instead of throwing out overly ripe bananas, slice them up and store them in the freezer for smoothies! Frozen berries are also a great option.
Mix it Up
To blend your smoothie, you’ll need to add some liquid. Keep the added sugar at a minimum by using a low-fat milk or unsweetened non-dairy milk such as almond milk. Start with ¼ cup and add as you blend to your desired thickness.
Add a Protein
Protein makes a smoothie more filling and satisfying. While protein powder can be a good option, peanut butter, nut butters, or Greek yogurt add protein plus other beneficial nutrients like healthy fats, vitamins and minerals.
Hold the Sugar
Watch for added sugars in prepared shake mixes. Often when a product doesn’t have added sugar but tastes sweet, it has a sugar substitute such as sucralose or stevia. While these are fine in moderation, the natural sweetness of fruit can't be beat!
Premade shakes are a convenient option but beware of health claims that can’t be backed up. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Try these delicious smoothie recipes: