Always on the go, athletes need a quick effortless way to get in good nutrition. After a hard workout, it might seem faster and easier to stop at your local smoothie store than make your own, but becoming a regular can hinder the benefits of your exercise routine. Not all smoothies are created equal, with some containing your entire calorie needs for the day. Smoothie King's 32-ounce Hulk Strawberry contains 1,597 calories and 53 grams of fat! To make your next smoothie experience a healthy one, make these smart, on-the-go selections:
Keep it real: Juice concentrates, fruit purees, frozen yogurt, chocolate milk and syrups increase sugar and calories. Look for whole fruit or at least 100 percent fruit juice instead. The additional benefit of fresh fruit is extra fiber, which makes your smoothie more filling.
Keep it small: Calories in smoothies can range from 300 to 1,200, and they contain as high as 95 grams of carbohydrate, depending on size. Extra ounces mean unnecessary calories. Stick with smoothies that are no more than 16 to 20 ounces.
Keep it low fat: With ingredients like ice cream and whole milk, your strawberry smoothie could compete with a McDonald’s chocolate milkshake in terms of calories and fat. Choose shakes with lower fat ingredients like skim milk, soy, cottage cheese or low-fat yogurt. Add peanut butter for protein and healthy monounsaturated fat, but do so in moderation since one spoonful contains 100 calories.
Keep it simple: Smoothies are already high in vitamins and minerals anyway, so just say no to extras such as energy and immunity "boosts". Stick with the basics -- low-fat dairy and fresh fruit -- and you'll get all the nutrition you need.
Smoothies are a great way to get in your fruit and calcium intake. But beware; they can be high in calories depending on the ingredients. Be a wise consumer and chill out with a cool nutritious smoothie.
Smoothies from Smoothie King and Tropical Smoothie:
Smoothie King- go online for their nutritional information:
Most Trim Down varieties are good choices.
Make it with Splenda or no sugar instead of turbinado sugar.
Choose Splendid Smoothies: 200 calories or less
Make it with Splenda or no sugar instead of turbinado
Make your own smoothie at home.
Tips for a yummy smoothie
Use frozen fruit- your smoothie will stay colder and thicker
Add ice cubes to thicken up your smoothie
Add tofu for a protein packed smoothie- buy the silken tofu
Make it fast- put most of the ingredients in a plastic baggie in the freezer. Add milk or yogurt and blend. Also, you can make a big batch and freeze it in cups for later.
Basic smoothie recipe
Start with 8 oz of skim milk or low fat plain yogurt
Add 1 cup of fruit: banana, strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Add ¼ cup of juice: orange, etc
To boost your protein intake, add a scoop of protein powder. Other add-ins: flaxseed, wheat germ, honey or vanilla extract.
Blend until smooth
Check out these great recipes from EatingWell: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/healthy_smoothie_recipes