How to Use Smoothies to Improve Your Diet

How to Use Smoothies to Improve Your Diet
Smoothies are an easy and delicious way to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. By starting with a sweet fruit, such as bananas or mangos, you can mask the taste of some other fruits and vegetables that you know you should eat, but just don't taste good to you. Smoothies are also a great way to use up fruit that is a little overripe. For example, you would not want to bite into that banana that is a day or two past its peak, but once its blended into a smoothie, you will never know the difference. If you are a little tired of eating salads everyday to get enough of those wonderful greens in your diet, just toss them in your smoothie. Start by adding a small handful of spinach to your smoothie, then work your way up to more greens and greens with stronger flavors such as kale, romaine lettuce and dandelion greens.

Making a smoothie is simple. All you need is a blender, some fruit, a little water and maybe some vegetables. You will want to start with a denser fruit such as banana, mango or apple. Then add a complementary juicier fruit. Some ideas for juicy fruits are oranges, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries or grapes. Depending on the speed of your blender you may or may not have to cut up the fruits. Add about half a cup of water and blend. If you want to add greens to your smoothie, toss them in after the fruit is blending well. That's it, now you have a delicious, all-natural fruit smoothie.

Here are a couple of smoothie recipes to get you started. The recipes make approximately 32 ounces of smoothie, which is a good size if the smoothie will replace all or most of a meal. You can also divide the smoothie into two snack-size servings. Just be careful that you are replacing some of the less healthy foods in your diet with the smoothie and not simply adding another 400 to 500 calories. The smoothies taste best if they are fresh, but you can keep them in the refrigerator for a day or two.

Orange-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie

3 cups strawberries, fresh or frozen
2 oranges
2 bananas
1/2 cup water
2 cups fresh spinach or other greens

Blend the strawberries, oranges, bananas and water until almost smooth. Add the spinach and continue blending until smooth.

Apple-Pear Smoothie

3 pears, cored
2 apples, cored
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 - 1 cup of water
2 cups of fresh spinach

Blend the pears, apples, cinnamon and water in the blender until almost smooth. Add the spinach and continue blending until smooth. This smoothie is great for those who do not like bananas or who want a smoothie that is not quite as sweet.

*Nutrition information for Orange-Strawberry-Banana Smoothie: 484 calories, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium, 2460 mg potassium, 116 g carbohydrates, 23 g fiber, 8 g protein, 124% RDA Vitamin A, 86% RDA Vitamin B-6, 706% RDA vitamin C, 79% RDA folate, 22% RDA iron, 40% RDA magnesium, 107% RDA manganese

*Nutrition information for Apple-Pear Smoothie: 473 calories, 3 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 48 mg sodium, 1280 mg potassium, 120 g carbohydrates, 21 g fiber, 4 g protein, 117% RDA Vitamin A, 17% RDA Vitamin B-6, 88% RDA vitamin C, 40% RDA folate, 21% RDA iron, 23% RDA magnesium, 61% RDA manganese

*Nutrition information estimated using the recipe calculator on SparkRecipes and based on a 32 ounce serving.

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