Enjoy More Fruits & Vegetables with Nutritious Smoothie Recipes

| October/November 2007

Smoothies are one of the easiest ways to work more fruits and vegetables into your diet, and their fresh, fun flavors can win over even the most produce-wary kids. The basic ingredients for any smoothie are simply liquid plus fruit or vegetables. A smoothie can be as healthy or low-calorie as you want, and they're a nutritious choice for breakfast or an afternoon snack. By making your own smoothies, you can control the amount of sugar, calories and fat, and you can easily add beneficial nutrients such as fiber, vitamin C, ginseng or protein powders for an extra boost.

Dietary substitutions in smoothies are simple: You can easily replace sherbet with regular yogurt to reduce the sugar content, or use skim milk instead of ice cream for less fat ? without sacrificing rich, satisfying flavor. Use milk, yogurt or silken-style tofu for extra calcium. Try fresh or frozen fruit. (To keep your smoothie healthy, avoid fruits frozen in sweetened syrup.) Frozen fruit makes a smoothie colder, smoother and thicker; a mix of both fresh and frozen fruit produces the perfect consistency.

When you're preparing the ingredients, keep in mind that the smaller you chop the ingredients, the smoother your smoothie will be. Dice ingredients according to your personal preference. There's no need for fancy equipment: a standard blender will work.

Here are a few recipes to try:

My Blueberry Heaven (from Slim Smoothies by Donna Pliner Rodnitzky)

1/2 cup orange juice
1 to 2 tsp honey (optional)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/2 cup banana, diced

Mix all ingredients in blender using the pulse function until mostly blended. Continue mixing, gradually increasing speed, until mixture is smooth. Serves one.

Bran Appetit! (from Slim Smoothies)

1/4 cup nonfat vanilla soy beverage (or soy milk)
1/4 cup unsweetened mango juice
1 to 2 tsp honey (optional)
1 cup papaya, diced
1/2 cup banana, diced
1/4 cup silken-style tofu
1 tbsp wheat bran

Mix all ingredients in blender using pulse function until mostly blended. Continue mixing, gradually increasing speed, until mixture is smooth. Serves one.

Zippy Tomato (from The Smoothies Bible by Pat Crocker)

1/4 cup tomato juice
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 ripe pear, peeled, cored and chopped
Half lemon, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 piece (1/2 inch/1 cm) gingerroot, peeled and chopped
Half chile pepper, chopped (or to taste)
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp salt (or to taste)

In blender, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth. Season with salt.
Serves 1 or 2.

Flu Fighter #1 (from The Smoothies Bible)

1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup elderberries
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
2 tbsp black currant jelly or honey

In blender, combine all ingredients. Process until smooth. Serves 2.

Share your favorite smoothie recipes and ingredients in the comments section below.

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