Make-it-yourself smoothies are a wildly popular way to work more fruits and veggies into your diet. However, if you chase sweetness and flavor without making sure to include healthy ingredients, you could accidentally veer away from optimal dietary benefits.
Avoid fruit juices containing High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is implicated in the national obesity epidemic. To keep calories in line, add a little extra water or ice, and a little less juice. Other liquid ingredients that boast health benefits:
Don't settle for artificial sweeteners – choose natural alternatives. Honey has been a part of human diets much longer than refined sugars, and agave is popular with many healthy food fans. Choose reduced-fat and lower-calorie versions of sorbet, yogurt, cottage cheese or sherbet. Summer is prime time for fresh fruits and vegetables, of course, and you can balance calories with other beneficial properties by knowing the nutritional value of the ingredients you choose.
Makes: 3 to 4 Servings
1 1/2 cups washed and drained baby kale, thick stems removed
1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (0% fat)
1 to 1 1/2 cups low fat or skim milk (more as desired)
1 to 1 1/2 cups fresh fruit - banana, blueberries, mango slices - whatever
favorite is on hand
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp honey (more as desired)