A super easy, super tasty way to be healthier in the summer is making smoothies! Even though Jamba Juice and Smoothie King are delicious, there is a lot of hidden sugar and calories in these “healthy” smoothies and many of the “light” options use artificial sweetener as a filler. It is much smarter to make them yourself, this way you can control what exactly you’re drinking and make sure it is natural and nutritious!
Summer is a great time to start a smoothie kick. They are cold and refreshing, which can help beat the heat. With the right ingredients they can be filling and packed with nutrition to fuel you for the day and hold off hunger. They can satisfy a sweet tooth and prevent you from reaching for a donut or pastry in the morning and for someone on the go, they are super portable and can be prepared the night before and stored in the fridge. Then you just blend it quickly in the morning and breakfast is served!
Here are a few basic ingredients you can keep on hand for making organic and delicious smoothies.
1. Non-fat plain Greek Yogurt
This may not taste the best by itself, but plain, all-natural Greek yogurt is a great way to provide lots of protein and creaminess without a lot of carbs, fat or sugar. Once you blend the other ingredients in, the smoothie will take the flavor of those instead. Stonyfield Organic Greek 0% Fat Plain Yogurt only has 80 calories per 5.3oz container and 15g of protein, which is 30% your daily value.
2. Frozen fruit
Frozen fruit is a great way to thicken a smoothie that adds more flavor than just ice. Since it stores well, you can buy a big bag of it and keep some in your freezer all summer without worrying about it going bad. Dole’s frozen Wildly Nutritious Mixed Berries doesn’t have any additional sugar added and is only 70 calories per cup. The carbs and sugar from this are natural as compared to the carbs and sugar from the syrups smoothie shops often use.
3. Fresh fruit
This is another way you can customize your smoothies. The fresh fruit you use will truly determine the flavor of your smoothie. Much like frozen fruit, fresh fruit only contains natural carbs and sugar. Throughout the summer you can mix up what fruit you buy based on what looks good in the grocery store or local farmers market. Berries, mangos, peaches and pineapple are all great options. Bananas are also an excellent staple. They add natural sweetness and pair well with basically any fruit.
4. Coconut water
What you choose as a liquid base is really up to you, but your smoothie is going to need one to makes sure it’s, well, smooth. Fruit juice is always an option, but should be used sparingly since its extremely high in sugar. Skim milk can work well if you want a creamier smoothie, but a really healthy option is coconut water.
This is not fatty cocount milk, but liquid tapped from the center of young coconuts. It provides natural electrolytes, large amounts of potassium, few calories and no fat. An 8oz serving of Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water has only 45 calories and 470mg of potassium, which is more than an average banana. Like the yogurt, on its own it’s not very tasty, but in a smoothie you can’t really taste it. Vita Coco provides fruit flavors which can also accentuate the fruit in your smoothie.
5. Whatever other healthy ingredients you want!
The great thing about smoothies is their versatility. You can custom make it exactly to your liking and nutritional needs. Here are just a few suggestions.
Chia Seeds: High in fiber and protein, these seeds can help you feel fuller longer.
Spinach: Spinach takes up space in the smoothie while barely adding any calories and still providing loads of nutrients. Beware though: spinach only makes nice bright green smoothies with yellow and light-colored fruits, so avoid berries in order to keep the smoothie’s color appealing as well.
Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract smells incredible, and it also is a great way to add flavor to a smoothie. It doesn’t go with every fruit, but it can provide a nice touch with bananas or pineapple.
This summer is the perfect opportunity to experiment and find out what smoothies taste good to you and make you feel good. Happy blending!