Cool off with a summertime smoothie

Cool off with a summertime smoothie

We have all heard the phrase “eat more fruits and vegetables” in regards to how to consume a healthy diet.

Fruits and vegetables contribute a variety of important nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, fiber and water, for the human body. Their high fiber and fluid content help keep these foods low in calories, which is very helpful for those focused on weight management or loss.

Another benefit of high fruit and vegetable consumption is lowering your risk of developing many chronic diseases, including diabetes.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that individuals consume five to nine servings of these two food groups per day. Unfortunately, most Americans do not meet this recommendation. Statistics show that, on average, adults in the United States only consume fruits about 1.1 times per day and vegetables about 1.6 times per day. For many Americans, meat (chicken, pork, beef)/meat substitutes (eggs, cheese) and starches (bread, pasta, rice) make up the majority of their meals.

Reported barriers to low fruit and vegetable intake include lack of access to fresh produce, cost of these items, and dislike for the taste or texture of these foods.

Smoothies are an easy, convenient and more affordable way to increase your fruit and vegetable consumption. Frozen fruits and vegetables work well in smoothies, eliminating the need to purchase fresh produce. Use of frozen foods, which have a longer shelf life, in place of fresh can save you money while reducing food waste.

If texture or taste of certain fruits and vegetables is an issue for you (or your kids), try adding them to a smoothie. A good blender will solve the texture issues and adding different combinations of other items (yogurt, protein powder, milk or milk substitutes, juice) can mask the flavor.

You can come up with your own smoothie recipes or look to online sources such as Pinterest for inspiration. The combinations are endless!

Below are five steps you can follow as a guide to making a healthy smoothie.

  1. Pick a base. Choose ½ cup of water, milk or 100% juice
  2. Sweeten it naturally. Add 1 or 2 different fruits (1 cup total).
  3. Go green. Add 1 or 2 different vegetables like greens such as spinach or kale (1 cup total).
  4. Power up with protein. Add ½ cup of yogurt or 1 scoop of protein powder.
  5. Consider extras. Add 1-2 tablespoons of flax or chia seeds.

Here is one of my personal summertime favorites.

Mango Smoothie
1 c. frozen diced mango
1 c. frozen sliced banana
1 c. apple juice
¼ c. vanilla yogurt

Directions
Blend all ingredients together to make (2) servings.

Nutrition Facts: 182 cal., 44g carb. per serving

To make a diabetes-friendlier version by substituting a low-carb vanilla yogurt and light apple juice. These trades save you about 46 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrates per serving.

Happy blending!

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Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD

Jessica Meek, MS, RD, LD, developed a passion for nutrition during her teenage years and strongly believes in the healing power food. After completing her undergraduate and master degree program at Ohio University, she became a registered dietitian in 2006. She has been practicing professionally for over 10 years in the tristate area. She uses her knowledge of nutrition to empower individuals living with diabetes to make positive lifestyle changes and lead healthier lives. Jessica is a dietitian with the Bruce Chertow Diabetes Center.