The New Face of Smoothies
Smoothies have taken on a healthier and tastier flare.
This year, Americans will guzzle down $6 million worth of commercially
blended smoothies and countless vats of homemade snacks and meals contained in
a single glass.
Smoothies have jumped out of the health food stores and into tony cafes,
duking it out with specialty coffees as the "grande" drink of choice.
The chalky powders and additives with the funny aftertaste are gone. Even the
humblest street vendor is offering upscale jolts like wheatgrass and whey.
What role does this popular drink have in a healthy diet?
Pat Crocker, a home economist, culinary herbalist, and author of The
Smoothie Bible, tells WebMD that smoothies are a valuable way to get the
recommended daily intake of 5-10 fruits and veggies. Smoothies are filling,
portable, and quick -- all pluses in this busy society.
Basics of Smoothie Construction
Crocker recommends each smoothie contain at least half a cup of liquid.
- Orange juice (could be juice concentrate diluted as directed)
- Apple juice
- Yogurt (unflavored or natural is best)
- Kefir (enzyme-enriched yogurt-like milk product)
- Soda water (this creates "sparklers," especially delicious with
- Ice chips
Since smoothies are soft, often sweet, and milkshake-like, what about ice
cream? "Not if you are interested in healthy smoothies!" Larrian
Gillespie, MD, author of The Menopause Diet, exclaims to WebMD.
Once the liquid is in the blender, it is time to add the fun stuff.
Gillespie reels off a produce department of yummy ingredients you could
- Bananas (almost a must in smoothies because they thicken the mixture.
Crocker says to cut into 4 sections -- she includes almost all peels, except
- Blueberries or other berries
- Oranges and citrus (skip the yogurt with these)
- Raw or cooked veggies (cooked are fine, don't forget those)
- Apples (the pectin can carry off toxins, Crocker says)
- Split peas
- Goat cheese
Now for the Exotics
Gillespie and Crocker suggest a number of nutritionnutrition- and flavor-enhancing additives you can
add after the basics are in place.
For more protein, add dried powdered milk, Gillespie suggests. Or how about
espresso coffee power or cocoa powder (unsweetened)? To add more sweetness,
Gillespie suggests Splenda or honey. Many fruits are naturally sweet, however.
Fresh mint can also add zip to fruit concoctions.
The trend nowadays is to transform smoothies into liquid vitamin pills.
Whey is a byproduct of cheesemaking. When the liquid left over after the
cheese particles are removed is filtered and purified, it becomes a powder
quite high in protein, but free of lactose and fat. Many athletes use it to
Another popular smoothie-booster is wheatgrass. This is a powder made from
the young wheat plant and is loaded with vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll, and
enzymes. It is more of a veggie than a grain at this stage of development.