Creating delicious, healthy smoothies

What are the best ingredients to put in a healthy shake?

Shakes are ideal as a light meal or a satisfying snack. A quality blender can combine the healthiest ingredients into a smooth elixir with fantastically fresh flavor. A healthy smoothie seduces you with the pastel look of a thick milkshake. Since you personally select the ingredients, you know the combination spells G-O-O-D H-E-A-L-T-H. Here are my suggestions for foods to keep on hand for delicious, invigorating shakes:

  • Skim milk or 1% milk guarantees good calcium.
  • Peeled bananas, frozen, provide flavor, texture and minerals.
  • Fresh fat-free or low-fat yogurt adds a creamy tang. It’s an easy way to eat yogurt daily.
  • Slivered almonds, in small amounts, lend a hint of natural nutty flavor.
  • Wheat germ whispers toasted grain, along with smooth fiber.
  • Healthy vanilla soymilk can be added to your diet.
  • Frozen whole berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries) contribute convenient color, flavor and fiber.
  • Canned apricot nectar lends a uniquely textural sweetness.
  • Mangoes and kiwis release exotic tropical flavors.
  • Melons (all kinds), in season, provide thirst quenching fruitiness.

Finally, keep honey and vanilla extract on hand as flavor enhancers. Any fruit juice provides flavor and nutrients. I often use orange juice, apple juice, cranberry cocktail and white grape juice. A few cubes of ice can raise the thickness and appeal quotient, especially for the kids. Here is an easy smoothie you can try today…

Apricot-Strawberry Smoothie

1½ cup frozen, unsweetened strawberries 2 containers (8 ounces) strawberry non-fat yogurt 1/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds 1 cup apple juice 1 cup apricot nectar 4 ice cubes

In a blender, puree strawberries, yogurt and almonds until smooth (approximately one minute). Add remaining ingredients to blender and process until smooth.

Yield: 2 servings (approximately 3½ cups). Per Serving: 363 calories; 8.8 grams fat; 0 cholesterol; 5.4 grams dietary fiber; 152 mg. sodium.

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