It’s Smoothie Week at Eating Rules!
My go-to smoothie recipe includes 8 ounces of fat-free milk, half a cup of fat-free yogurt, a banana, and a cup of frozen berries (usually blue, often raspy).
Those few ingredients make for a great smoothie, but if I’m feeling adventurous, I might add one (or more!) of the following to make it even better.
Sidenote: There’s still time to win a free book from my summer reading list! It’s easy and free to enter, so don’t miss out!
1. Protein Powder
Okay, I know I dissed protein powder on yesterday’s Jamba Juice review. However, I like adding it to my smoothies at home for two reasons:
Trader Joe’s Vanilla Whey Protein Powder tastes really good, and the extra protein keeps me feeling fuller longer.
2. Peanut Butter or Almond Butter (unsweetened)
Nut butters will make your smoothie richer in both taste and texture. This is best if the smoothie is your meal (rather than a snack), since a serving — two tablespoons, about the size of a golf ball — of either of these adds about 200 calories.
Best to use the creamy style, else you’ll end up with little bits of nuts stuck in your straw.
3. Flax Meal (Ground Flax Seeds)
Adding ground flax seeds to your smoothie is probably better for your health than the smoothie’s texture — but if you don’t mind those little extra bits in your smoothie, it’s a great addition (especially if you need more fiber in your diet!).
Flax meal is a good source of (insoluble) fiber, Omega-3, and protein.
4. Flaxseed Oil
Flaxseed oil will give you an Omega-3 boost, but it lacks the fiber and protein of the ground flax meal. Keep in mind, too, that a tablespoon of (any) oil adds about 120 calories, so stick to the flax meal if weight loss is one of your goals.
5. Frozen Mango
I buy the frozen mango chunks at Trader Joe’s, and throw about 1/2 a cup into many of my smoothies. It makes the smoothie very rich and creamy — much more so than any other frozen fruit that I’ve tried.
Mango provides lots of Vitamins A & C, a fair amount of Vitamins B6 & E, and even has a little bit of fiber.
6. Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
You probably already know of my affinity for Greek Yogurt, but it bears repeating. Make sure you buy the Greek Yogurt, not the “Greek-Style” yogurt some companies are now offering (which aren’t necessarily bad for you, but they’re not as good as the real stuff).
Plain Fage 0% makes for a perfect base in your smoothie, with lots of protein and calcium.
7. Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Granola
Sprinkle this on top of your smoothie to add some delicious crunch and fiber — and make it a meal. Be sure to read the nutrition facts on the granola, though – most are high in fat & sugar.
Try this: Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain No Fat Granola.
8. Instant Oatmeal (unsweetened)
Throw some instant oatmeal (or quick-cooking oats) into the blender, and you’ll add whole grain protein & fiber to your meal. Of course, don’t use the sweetened instant packets, which add a ton of unnecessary sugar.
If you drink coffee anyway, why not try a coffee smoothie for breakfast?
Try this: 1 cup chilled coffee, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1 banana, 1/2 cup ice cubes, and a dash of vanilla or almond extract.
Even better: Make a pot of coffee the night before, and pour the coffee into ice-cube trays. Freeze overnight and use the coffee ice cubes in your smoothie!
Or, for the lazier folks: Add a teaspoon of instant coffee powder to your smoothie.
Sounds funky, I’ll admit, but throwing in a 1/4 cup of tofu (especially the silken type) won’t be very noticeable, but will give you a bit of a protein boost.
Try adding tofu to your morning smoothie, and you’ll be less likely to reach for a snack before lunch!
Bonus: 11. Spiced Rum
Just because you’re drinking alcohol doesn’t mean the rest of your drink has to be bad for you! Forget the high fructose corn syrup mixers junk, and make a healthy fruit smoothie with a splash of rum!
Try this: 1 banana, 1/2 cup strawberries, 1/2 cup pineapple, 1 cup ice, 2 ounces Sailor Jerry.
What do you put in your smoothie? Post in the comments!
Photo by Andrew Oliveros.