Smoothies– healthy drink or just extra calories?

The following nutrition article was submitted by Kelly Sloan, a food and nutrition undergraduate student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and daughter of Signal Tribune nutrition columnist Carol Berg Sloan.

According to the Juice and Smoothie Association, smoothies are the most popular drink on the market. Many smoothie bars such as Jamba Juice® or Juice it Up!® are aware of consumers’ needs and wants for healthy meal alternatives, so what better than a real-fruit smoothie? Smoothies were created to be healthy and beneficial for diets at any demand: at home, at work or on the go. All you need is fruit, ice and water; however, smoothies can be made with just about any ingredient you desire.

What makes a smoothie good for you? As mentioned, if smoothies are made from real fresh fruit, ice and water, consumers are getting the nutrition benefits of whole fruits. Unfortunately many smoothies have added ingredients that can boost calories but not nutritional value. For example, a popular smoothie at Jamba Juice called Peanut Butter Mooed contains frozen yogurt, chocolate base, peanut butter and banana. And, while delicious, this drink contains 480 calories for a 16-ounce drink and 770 calories for a 20-ounce original!
Smoothies can be a healthy treat that ups your fruit and vegetable intake, or a calorie-laden beverage that contributes extra sugar to your diet. I suggest that you ask for the nutrition information and the ingredient list so you can make an informed decision at the smoothie bar. I also share that smoothies should not be a drink for a meal; this is just too many calories.
Better yet, make your own smoothie at home. Smoothies can be a great snack or even a meal replacement.
Try these recipes to get you in the mood for the islands, mon (Tropical Walnut Smoothie) or for St. Patty’s Day (Green Smoothie).

Tropical Walnut Smoothie

This creamy non-dairy smoothie is a super-foods smoothie. It contains three top super foods: oranges (as juice), soybeans (as tofu) and walnuts. Using frozen mango gives it a thicker, ice cream-like consistency.

Servings: 4

1 cup orange juice
1 cup frozen chunks of mango
1/2 cup chopped California walnuts
1/3 cup tofu (about 2-inch cube)

Place orange juice, mango, walnuts, and tofu in a blender.
Blend on low speed until ingredients start to mix together. Then increase to high speed and blend until smooth.
Pour into glasses and sprinkle with walnuts. Can make up to 1 hour ahead. Serve with straw or spoon.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 158
Total Fat 10 g
Saturated Fat 1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 14 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 4 g

Green Smoothie

Get your daily dose of dark leafy greens any time of day with this delicious green smoothie. Ground flaxseed adds omega-3s. Pour any extra into a freezer-pop mold and have it later as a frozen green smoothie pop.

Servings: 2

2 ripe medium bananas
1 ripe pear or apple, peeled if desired,
2 cups chopped kale leaves, tough
stems removed
1/2 cup cold orange juice
1/2 cup cold water
12 ice cubes
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
Place bananas, pear (or apple), kale, orange juice, water, ice cubes and flaxseed in a blender. Pulse a few times, then purée until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Nutrition per serving:
Calories 240
Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Carbohydrates 55 g
Protein 5 g
Fiber 8 g
Sodium 38 mg
Potassium 987 mg

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *