Today, June 21st, we celebrate the first full day of summer and National Smoothie Day! Smoothies, as we know them today, have been around since the invention of the electric blender in the 1920s, and now they are more popular than ever. They are a delicious and convenient way to get a serving of real dairy, fruits, and vegetables – all so important for good health.
Sometimes our busy schedules result in skipping a meal or going too many hours between meals. This, along with strenuous summer activities and heat, can take a toll on your energy level. Smoothies are a great option for a healthy summertime snack or a light meal on the go that will cool you off and fuel you up.
Your body breaks down protein and carbohydrates at different rates. Combining both for meals or snacks helps stabilize your metabolism and provides sustained energy. Pairing fruits and vegetables with real dairy in a smoothie is a great way to do this. Just one eight-ounce serving of milk has eight grams of high-quality protein to help build and repair muscle tissue – not to mention calcium, vitamin D, and 10 other nutrients essential for health. Fruits and vegetables are sources of carbohydrates and are loaded with phytonutrients (natural compounds produced by plants that promote health). Plus, combining the minerals calcium, potassium, and magnesium, found in dairy food, fruits, and vegetables, can help maintain a healthy blood pressure.
Smoothies can be easy and quick to prepare. Try combining real milk or yogurt with your favorite fruit in a blender for a simple smoothie. Use frozen fruit for a thicker, colder smoothie. Any type of fruit can work. For even more variety and nutrition, add some fresh spinach, mint, or kale, or even vanilla extract or cinnamon. This Georgia Peach Smoothie is a perfect summertime treat.
Ensley Howell, PhD, RD, LD is currently an Extension Agent with Mississippi State University. She formerly worked as an Associate Professor at Delta State University, a School Meals Specialist at the Institute of Child Nutrition, a clinical and consultant dietitian in acute and long-term care, and a hospital foodservice director.