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The truth about smoothies

• Don't get hung up on the words "non-fat" and "low-fat".  All fruit smoothies should be non-fat or low-fat, it's the calories that will get you. One strawberry smoothie we found was non-fat, but packed in 542 calories and over 90 grams of sugar.

• Analyze the Add-ons. Some smoothies come with options to "add a boost", like an extra protein boost. Sometimes that's ok if you're using it as a meal replacement; but, if you're looking for a quick, low-calorie snack, it's best to skip this option as it may add-on unwanted calories & cost too.

• Avoid ingredients that are not whole foods. In the case of a smoothie there's no reason why you shouldn't see whole pieces of fruit being added to your beverage. Avoid ingredients like purees, sugar, fruit syrup, concentrate and artificial flavorings.

• Stick with yogurt or low-fat milk. It's not just the fruit portion where sugar and calories can sneak in. Some restaurants use ice cream or sorbet as the base of the smoothie rather than a low-fat yogurt or milk. Be sure to ask which they use before you order, and beware if they use their own special blend.

Here is a quick, low-calorie option that you can make at home:

Banana-Berry Smoothie
1 banana
1/2 cup mixed berries (frozen)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4-1/2 cup milk

Blend & enjoy!

Published October 11, 2010
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