By Amy O'Connor
Fruit and veggie smoothies are an ideal meal during hot summer weather when your body naturally tends to crave light, healthy meals. The beauty of a smoothie is the endless variety of ingredients that can be used to create delicious, cool concoctions, and you don’t have to be a good cook to make them. I make a quick smoothie by pouring nonfat soy milk into a blender then adding some frozen mixed berries and ½ a frozen banana – it tastes great and is so easy to make! I feel more full if a smoothie has plenty of protein in it, and a quick way to add some protein is by adding a few tablespoons of protein powder. In fact, certain peptides in whey protein are proven to help hunger signals that tell you you’re full. Designer Whey makes protein powders in a number of flavors including Strawberry, Chocolate and Red Raspberry, but I tend to add the French Vanilla since it mixes nicely with most other smoothie ingredients. Made with all natural ingredients, one 15g serving contains 10g protein, 1 g carbohydrates and .5g fat and just 50 calories.
Available online at http://www.gnc.com and at The Vitamin Shoppe.
Andrea Barkley, a Phoenix-based personal trainer, private healthy cook and national fitness and nutrition writer has created an assortment of smoothie recipes that truly live up to the name of her book, Moan Out Loud Protein Shakes. Andrea believes shakes made from all natural, whole ingredients provide maximum nutrient density, great taste and digestibility so the protein sources she uses range from eggs to yogurt to cottage cheese to beans. Each of her recipes combine complex carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of fat to achieve a well-balanced, satisfying meal, and no recipe made it into the book if a taste didn’t provoke a moan of delight. There are sweet fruit shakes, tart fruit shakes, green shakes, chocolate shakes, coffee shakes and more – all easy-to-make and highlighted in beautiful photos. You may be surprised to know that black beans and avocado blend into a delectable chocolate shake, but they do in Andrea’s Black Bean Brownie Shake: Blend for 3 minutes ½ cup black beans, ¼ avocado, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp. cacao powder, 2 scoops stevia, ½ cup coconut milk, 1 cup ice.
Available online at http://www.amazon.com
Robyn Openshaw has been drinking 1 qt. or more of green smoothies every day for the last 15 years and attributes her ideal weight, rare instances of illness, healthy hair, skin and nails and increased energy to following a vegetable-oriented diet based on green smoothies. Openshaw shares her knowledge in The Green Smoothies Diet. She recommends an 80/10/10 ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, and charts the nutrient make up of every imaginable type of green. Did you know that broccoli and spinach are 40% protein? Not only do most greens contain some protein, but they are also chock full of chlorophyll, enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins (such as folate, B2 and vitamin C), minerals (such as calcium, iron and potassium) and fiber which makes them naturally nutritious powerhouses. There are tips on buying, growing, and storing fruits and vegetables for economical smoothie ingredients year round and three diet plans: a 3-day Green Fast Detox, a 30-day Fat Burner Cleanse and the Green Smoothie for Life plan. The Carrot Top Concoction is a favorite of mine (makes 96 oz): Blend 2 ¾ cups water/ice, carrot greens from 6 carrots, and approx. 2 cups spinach, add ½ tsp. stevia, 2 tart-sweet apples, 2 oranges, 1 banana, 1-2 cups frozen berries.
Available online, http://www.amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble.
[Photo 4, Cuisinart blender]
The Elite Collection PowerEdge 1000-Watt blender from Cuisinart is perfect for making smoothies (and party drinks, soups and sauces too). It has preprogrammed Smoothie, Ice Crush and Pulse functions and a newly designed Power6 Turbo-Edge blade that render anything from frozen fruit to ice to nuts into frothy, creamy smoothies in as few as 30 seconds. The blender jar is lightweight, dishwasher -safe and BPA-free and holds a whopping 64 ounces so feel free to make family-size batches. This super-powered blender not only crushes, purees and mixes in minimum time but looks great while doing so due to a die-cast silver metal base with brushed finish and a backlit control panel and built- in LCD 4-minute Count Up Timer. The blender comes with an instruction and recipe booklet with recipes for a variety of soups, sauces, drinks, desserts and smoothies to get you well on your way to a summer full of tasty, healthy delights.
Available online, http://www.cuisinart.com and at Williams-Sonoma.