As the weather warms up, there is no better way to cool off and power up for outdoor activities than with a refreshing smoothie. But “healthy” and “smoothie” don’t automatically go hand-in-hand. Carefully consider ingredients so your smoothie isn’t just a glorified frozen sugar-sweetened beverage. Try these tips to blend your best smoothie!
Follow the MyPlate method when filling your blender. Half of it should be filled with colorful fruits and vegetables— the carbohydrates found in them help refill your energy tank for the next workout. Fruits and vegetables also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use fruit as a natural sweetener to limit the amount of added sugar.
Include seasonally fresh varieties or go with frozen for year-round access. An easy way to add vegetables without changing the flavor of a smoothie is to add frozen spinach.
Include protein in smoothies to transform them into a filling meal, snack, or powerful recovery option for athletes. Dairy protein, like that of milk, Greek yogurt, and kefir, provides amino acids needed to stimulate muscle building after a hard workout or game. Yogurt and kefir also contain probiotics that, in combination with fiber, promote a healthy gut.
And don’t forget the bonus of calcium and vitamin D in dairy foods that helps keep bones strong and athletes off the injury list!
Try a smoothie bowl! This next-level version feels like a real meal, reminding us smoothies aren’t just a beverage. With a spoon, you aren’t limited to what can fit through a straw. Add in chopped nuts, whole berries, chia or pumpkin seeds, or sprinkle on oats. These toppings add nutrition, along with taste and texture, that may otherwise get lost in the mix if just blended straight in.
Grab a blender and start creating your better smoothie today. Try these recipes from The Dairy Alliance:
Abby Forman Lewis, MS, RD, CSSD completed her undergraduate work at Virginia Tech and her dietetic internship and masters at the University of Tennessee. She played sports through high school and lacrosse in college. She enjoys working with people of all ages and activity levels to achieve their personal health goals. As a Board Certified Sports Dietitian, Abby helps athletes and active individuals improve performance through optimal nutrition. She loves using her creativity and art background to make learning about healthy eating enjoyable and easy for all.