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Q: Are smoothies a good choice for something fun & healthy for my kids?
That is a loaded question! You can have a smoothie made with fresh fruit, yogurt and low-fat milk, or you can purchase a smoothie that is loaded with sugars. Luckily, smoothies can be customized to include specific ingredients, making the beverage a family-friendly option.
The most basic smoothie includes two essential ingredients, a base and a liquid. While smoothies can be classified into categories, there can be significant overlap depending on what is put in the blender.
- Fruit smoothies, as the name implies, include a base of blended fruit.
- Green smoothies tend to be heavier in vegetables, like leafy greens, but may include some fruit for sweetness.
- Protein smoothies may include fruits and/or vegetables but also include a protein source like Greek yogurt, tofu, cottage cheese or a protein powder.
Smoothie bases are usually blended in fruit or vegetable juices, dairy or nondairy milks, any type of water, tea or even cold brew coffee. Smoothies may include ice cubes or frozen produce to give the final product the cool, icy consistency of a milkshake.
When blending your own smoothie, pay attention not just to the ingredients, but the portion size as well. A smoothie at a coffee bar can be upwards of 32 ounces and 1000 calories! Consider asking for a child size serving as a 6 – 8 ounce serving may be the perfect amount for a refreshing snack.
- For a snack smoothie, you might combine a ½ cup of milk, ½ cup yogurt and 1 piece of fruit.
- For a breakfast smoothie, you may want a larger portion with some added protein.
Leftover smoothie mixtures can always be refrigerated or frozen. If freezing, consider pouring into small containers or popsicle molds.
Smoothies are a great option for your family. Not only are they naturally sweet, but they can be used as a vehicle to “sneak” in some extra nutrition. Why not pull out your blender and have some “smoothie” fun? Check out Spotlight on Taste for some great smoothie tips. And do not miss our featured recipe: Mixed Berry Smoothie for a refreshing, healthful smoothie option.
Have another Nutrition question? Ask our Dietitian.