" For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. " Song of Solomon

March 28, 2008

Smoothie on a Diet

Smoothie from Vegan Spoonful

I started using smoothies as a way to get a concentrated amount of fruit into my diet in one fell swoop. Put the ingredients in the blender, whip it up, drink it down. If it was a meal replacement then I'd also add some protein power.

The calorie content of my smoothies were the equivalent of a meal. Generally for a fruit smoothie I'd begin with a banana---who wanted to mess with a half of banana sitting around was my thought and if I was going to be eating it later that day anyway, why not sooner as later (this was before I'd discovered how to best save that half banana); then a 1/3 cup of skim milk powder and a serving of fruit juice---about 6 ounces ---so it would blend. Sometimes I'd replace the skim milk powder with yogurt. Then because the point was to get in multiple servings of fruit I'd add some fresh fruit in season--- like strawberries and blueberries, or some frozen fruit--about a cup total. Then to boost the fiber and nutrition I'd add some ground flax and some wheat germ--mind you these have calories too--flax, if my recall is correct is 50 calories for a tablespoon. Then if it was to be my breakfast, a half scoop of protein powder, which was 55 calories. Add this baby up, and you've got the count way up there.

So I realized I need to tweak my smoothie. Now instead of being like a creamy shake it is like a light sorbet....and every bit as satisfying.

Today's tweaked smoothie was a cup of water and a cup of frozen fruit which was a combination of mango, strawberry and banana. I threw in a few frozen fresh cranberries which gave it a sweet tart flavor---these have been in my freezer since Christmas. And to sweeten it since the liquid was water, which fills you up but not out, I used one teaspoon of sugar, which is a measly 15 calories and a packet of Stevia, which is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of sugar. I ended up with a very thick, fruity, sorbet-like concoction that tasted great and was only 125 calories and I got in a couple fruit servings and a variety of fruits in the process.

If you make your fruit smoothies primarily from fruit and water with a low calories sweetener you can't do nearly as much damage, and they are enjoyable. I was thinking that a tablespoon or two of yogurt swirled into the finished product would be pretty, give it a creamscicle effect or even a drizzle of one half tablespoon of half & half for 15 calories would make it seem decadent...whoops....now my mind is going to whipped cream....scratch that thought.

For another low cal sweet treat that is similar to a mocha frappucino for a lot less calories blend 6 ounces of low fat milk, 3-4 ice cubes, one teaspoon of instant coffee and 15 grams (or a half scoop) of chocolate whey protein powder---I used Jay Robb's brand. (The protein powder seems to thicken it.) Add calorie free sweetener of your choice to taste. My low fat milk is 90 calories for 6 ounces and the protein powder is 55 calories. This will satisfy your chocolate and coffee cravings and seems like a dessert, plus gives you a protein boost which along with the fat, protein and carbs in the milk should keep you satisfied for a pretty long time. It's a great pick me up in the middle of the afternoon when you have low blood sugar and are craving a Coke/Pepsi or coffee and a cookie or piece of chocolate. Because of the volume it's more filling and since it's cold it's quite refreshing.

So...bottom line when it comes to fruit smoothies: think water! think fruit! And to get your creative processes flowing, think exotic. What about adding some flavorings?--- like rose petal (use rose water) or hibiscus (think hibiscus tea---many herbal brands contain this) for starters. I'd just brew the tea, which has no calories, and use that in place of the water. Got any ideas? Please share them in the comments.
"....there have been many times when I have shed bitter tears, when if I had understood the situation better, I would have celebrated my good luck instead."


I am not a doctor and all information, suggestions, etc are my personal opinion only.