Monday, May 27, 2013

suckers for smoothies

what's not to like about sipping on a smoothie?  they're refreshing, cool, come in fun and fruity flavors, and you can sip them through a straw.  their popularity is so huge that you can find them in the dairy aisle of the grocery store, at drive-thru fast food chains, coffee shops, actual smoothie stores, and their components come pre-packed in the freezer aisle.  they sound like a healthy treat.  sometimes they're anything but.

though usually made with healthy options like soy milk, coconut water, skim milk, yogurt, and fresh or frozen foot, some feature high-fat and high-sugar items like ice cream, peanut butter, sweetened syrups, chocolate, or artificial ingredients.  what you can end up with is a drink with upwards of 600 calories and enough saturated fat to rival a double cheeseburger.  don't even get me started on the possibility of triple digit carbohydrate grams.

for example, a 20-ounce serving of smoothie king's the hulk-strawberry has more calories than a burger king double cheeseburger with a medium order of fries. that smoothies totals 964 calories, 32 grams of fat, 13 of which are saturated, 125 grams of sugar, and 145 grams of carbohydrates.

if you're looking for a healthy smoothie, your best bet is to keep it simple and make it yourself with the freshest of ingredients.  as someone who spent several years banging blenders at jamba juice, i know for a fact that fresher is better.  i'm not bashing my former employer and actually draw inspiration from their flavor profiles, but their smoothies do not suit my nutritional needs as a clean eater.  freeze your own fresh fruit, use low fat or fat free greek yogurt to pump up the protein and other goodies like vitamin D, B-12, and calcium.

as a meal replacement, look for smoothies that are higher in protein and a high amount of fiber.  you'll be more likely to hold off hunger for more than a couple of hours while still indulging that chill/sweet tooth.

as a between-meal snack, choose the smallest size possible and keep the calories below 300.

here are some of my favorite recipes that keep my smoothie tooth satisfied:

vanilla chai smoothie
1/2 cup light vanilla soymilk
1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt
2/3 cup banana slices
1/2 cup crushed ice
2 pinches ground cinnamon
2 pinches ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

add all ingredients to your blender and pulse until the mixture is well blended and smooth.
makes one serving

149 calories, 7 g protein, 28 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0.1 g saturated fat, 2 g fiber

peanut butter cup smoothieingredients
1/2 cup light vanilla soy milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup banana slices
2/3 cup crushed ice

add all ingredients to your blender and pulse until the mixture is well blended and smooth
makes one serving

284 calories, 10 g protein, 25 g carbohydrates, 16 g fat, 3.8 g saturated fat, 6 g fiber

eat clean.  live lean.  live better.  live longer.

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