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By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD


I’m a new-found smoothie addict. They’re perfect for the summer – all you really need to invest in is a blender and it feels like having softserve ice cream for breakfast (or lunch/snack or even for dinner). The best part about smoothies, nutritionally speaking: they’re an opportunity to sneak in extra boosters you might not normally go out of your way to eat.

Before we get to the smoothie basics, let’s hit the no-no’s:  there is really no reason for one to come supersized. Too much of a good thing; you may as well eat the ice cream.  Other smoothie no no’s: ice cream / fro yo, sorbets, sugar or brown sugar, fruit juice (unless it’s green juice), or granola.

Now that we know the no-no’s you can really do no wrong. Quantities are all estimates as it depends on your ideal texture, but it’s as easy as tossing it all into a blender and smoothie-ing away. So here are the smoothie basics:

* 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit: Of course fresh is ideal, but in the real world you’re pressed for time and a half a bag of frozen fruit is a lifesaver. The frozen fruit blends give you automatic variety and also replace ice.

* ½ cup liquid: Almond milk is my personal favorite, but alternatives like coconut or hemp milk, green tea or even plain ol’ water are great too.

* Protein powder: 2 scoops of an organic whey or hemp powder. Ingredients in protein powders can get lengthy and nasty so be sure to check them out. I love Tera’s Whey and SunWarrior hemp brands.

* 1-2 tbsp healthy fats: I adore chia; tossing some whole or milled chia in is a great way to up the omega 3 ante. Flax is great too, but it needs to be ground up for the health benefits (or use a tbsp. of the oil). Another option: Avocado! I’ve gotten into adding 1/3 of an avocado to my morning smoothies, it’s a great way to make them creamy.

Those are the basics, but here are a few ideas for extras to boost your smoothie

* A few handfuls of leafy greens like spinach or kale add iron and calcium – no one will taste ‘em, I swear

* A few sprigs of herbs like mint, cilantro, or basil will give your smoothie a little kick

* A tsp of spices like turmeric or cinnamon or a sliver of ginger will pump your smoothie full of antioxidants and anti inflammatories

* A splash of almond (or vanilla) extract – my sister recently introduced this to me and it’s now my essential add in!

* Sweeten things up with a few drops of stevia

Play around with different ingredients and quantities — you’re bound to end up with something delicious.

So, are you a smoothie junkie yet or are you just off to buy a blender? What’s your favorite recipe/ingredient?

Photo: iStockphoto

The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand


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