For many of us it may be difficult to consume the recommended daily amounts of fruits in vegetables; however a tall glass of smoothie for breakfast or a snack can help us meet our daily requirements. While many people drink smoothies as a meal substitute to help with weight loss, a real benefit of smoothies is in the vitamins and nutrients that come from the healthy ingredients that are blended up. Smoothies are a great way to consume vegetables in their raw and most nutritious form, and unlike juicing, the fiber content of the ingredients in the smoothie is retained, resulting in a healthier and more satisfying drink. Try using a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables to include a wide range of antioxidants that can help fight many diseases including cancer and heart disease. Use smoothies as a way to consume vegetables which you and your family may not eat otherwise. You will be surprised at how well the taste of many vegetables can be masked by the flavor and sweetness from the fruits that you mix in. Freeze fruits such as berries, mangoes and peaches when they are in season and drop the frozen fruits into the blender for a delicious frozen drink that you can enjoy year round. Add ice to make a slushie-like smoothie, or yougurt to give it a milkshake consistency.
In this section you will find recipes such as Banana and Mango Smoothie. However, the best smoothies are those that are customized to your taste and nutritional needs. Get creative and add ingredients such as Greek yogurt, a splash of fruit juice, a handful of almonds, or a few tablespoons of dry oatmeal. Beware of pre-bottled or commercially available smoothies which may be high in fat or natural and artificial sweeteners. Keep your refrigerator stocked with a variety of fruits and vegetables, use a heavy-duty blender and make home-made smoothies a daily ritual for your family.
By Nadiya Merchant, MPH, Ph.D