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Smoothies are an absolute favorite in my house! My husband and I enjoy a fruit smoothie for breakfast every day without fail. I enjoy mix-matching different fruits and ingredients to make our smoothies. Having a smoothie for breakfast keeps me satiated until lunch and keeps the hunger pangs away! In fact, I have become so fond of smoothies that I even enjoy this thick and creamy drink pre/post workout. My smoothies supply my body with the yummy goodness of fruits and milk all in one delicious package!
Both of us recently agreed that we were not paying attention to our health and decided to make a conscious effort to exercise regularly and eat healthy. To that end we joined a gym. After our first session, our trainer explained to us the importance of adding protein to our diet. Protein helps in building lean muscle and more muscle is good for metabolism. “Try to incorporate more protein in each and every meal”, she said.
That got me thinking. What could I do to make my diet more protein-rich? As a vegetarian, my choices were limited. Dairy and soy would have to play a significant role in beefing up 🙂 my protein intake. Our trainer recommended 25-30g of protein per meal. The fat-free milk I used in my smoothie meant I got about 8g of protein and maybe some more from the fruits, but I needed more! It was time to super-charge my smoothie to make it a protein powerhouse, but how? I pondered this question while I watched my husband devour a peanut butter sandwich in the kitchen. My husband loves peanut butter! I keep a jar of PB in the house at all times, because I never know when he will want some. I usually get Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter. It’s super creamy and he loves the flavor. I prefer this brand because it is gluten-free, is non GMO, does not contain genetically modified ingredients. As I watched him wolf down the sandwich, a thought occurred to me. I reached for the PB jar on the kitchen counter and looked at the protein content. A solid 7g of protein per serving! Hmmm, what if I blended some PB into my smoothie? I like PB just as much and adding it to the smoothie would up the protein content to 15g, a significant increase! Great, I thought, now what else can I add to my smoothie? My husband had once complained to me that fat-free milk made the smoothie rather runny. I had contemplated adding yogurt to it to make it thicker, but had never followed through. Now was a perfect time to try it out. We usually have Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt as a mid-afternoon snack. What if I added it to the smoothie? It would make the smoothie thicker and add another 10g of protein to bring the total up to a whopping 25g!!
Now that a plan was in place, it was time to put it into action. For the next 7 days, I made a PB-Yogurt fruit smoothie, using a different fruit every day ( I love incorporating color into my cooking) and the hubby and I both loved it! We enjoyed a little tete-a-tete in the mornings as we had our smoothies and watched the serene lake from our patio. It was a perfect start to the day!!
The two star ingredients of my smoothies were Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt. We usually get these from our (friendly), neighborhood Walmart. Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter can be found in the Peanut Butter aisle.
The Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt can be found in the frozen yogurt section just across from the Produce section. You can’t miss it. Life is all about making smart choices.
Today, I am very excited to share 7 better-for-you smoothie recipes which I fondly dubbed – ‘Rainbow Smoothies’ (One for each day of the week). Read on below…
Monday – Carrot Coconut Smoothie
Don’t we all face Monday blues? After a relaxing weekend, one really needs to drag one’s body and mind back to work. So I began our week with this bright Carrot Coconut Smoothie. Here’s how to make it:
First dry roast 1/4 cup desiccated coconut in a pan till they turn light golden brown. Add them to the blender along with 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter, 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt, 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1/2 cup grated carrots, 1 tbsp protein powder and 1 tbsp honey.
Blend them all together to form a thick, smooth and creamy smoothie. Sprinkle some carrots and coconut on top and serve chilled. You can add ice cubes while blending as well. The cinnamon contains natural anti-inflammatory properties and our bodies convert the beta carotene found in carrots into retinoids that are powerful anti-aging antioxidants. Coconut is great for re-hydration.
Tuesday – Blueberry Oats Smoothie
Did you know that blueberries are one of the best foods to eat for good skin? They are a very rich source of antioxidants, which neutralize free radicals in your body and stop damage to your skin. They are also packed with fiber, vitamin C, K, B6 and minerals. Banana offers potassium which helps prevent cramping muscles. It is also is rich in vitamin C, which is essential for tissue repair and building a strong, athletic body. Oats are a good source of vitamins, minerals, fiber and are particularly high in B vitamins. So it is a smart choice to include these in your diet. What better way than adding them to your smoothie and having it post a strenuous workout?!
In a blender, add 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 tbsp honey, 1/3 cup frozen blueberries, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 tbsp oats powder, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt.
Blend it to a creamy smoothie consistency. Serve chilled.
Wednesday – Kiwi Honeydew Green Smoothie
When the whole world is going green, then why shouldn’t we? I am not a huge fan of adding veggies like kale or spinach to smoothies yet. Maybe I will develop a taste for it eventually. I know it would be ideal to add these greens to this smoothie, however I chose to make it with kiwis and honeydew. Kiwifruit is a rich source of vitamin C, it also contains actinidin, which is an enzyme that breaks down protein. Eating kiwifruit can boost your immune system and may help lower high blood pressure. The refreshing bright honeydew melon is perfect on hot summer days. This melon is the sweetest of the lot but it’s also a healthy, low-calorie choice. It is rich in iron, vitamins and nutrients required for the body.
Add a cup of fat-free milk to your blender along with 1 tbsp protein powder and honey each. Then add 1/4 cup of chopped honeydew, green apples and kiwis each to the blender. Lastly add 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt.
Blend it to a smoothie-like consistency. This drink is good for detox and also very refreshing.
Thursday – Mango Pineapple Sunny Smoothie
It’s Midweek! That calls for something delicious to tide you until the weekend. Mangoes to the rescue!! This is the first time i have used mangoes in a smoothie along with pineapple. This tropical lip-smacking delight is very refreshing and can also be served as a dessert at parties. It’s creamy and smooth. Adding a tinge of turmeric makes it more beneficial since turmeric has anti inflammatory properties. This smoothie really is a treat for the taste buds!!
It’s a very simple and easy to follow smoothie recipe. Add 1 cup of fat-free milk, 1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1/3 cup of chopped pineapple, 1/2 cup chopped mangoes, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Lowfat Yogurt.
Whip it until it’s creamy and smooth. Serve chilled.
Friday – Saffron Banana Pear Smoothie
The weekend is nearly here! This saffron flavored smoothie will surely blow your minds away! Saffron is an exotic and highly prized spice, because of its color, flavor and medicinal properties. We Indians garnish desserts with saffron and it gives a lovely deep orange color and an amazing aroma to the dish. It is also an anti oxidant and contains minerals and vitamins. Pears and bananas are low in saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium and high in dietary fiber and vitamins. You can add protein powder to the smoothie as well if you feel like it.
Blend 1 cup fat-free milk, 1 frozen banana, 1 pear chopped, 1 apple chopped, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt in the blender.
Sprinkle a pinch of saffron on top and serve. See the lovely orange color spread across the smoothie. It’s a wonderful sight! Your PB–Banana-Pear Smoothie is ready.
Saturday – Hibiscus flavored Strawberry Watermelon Smoothie
Yay, It’s Saturday!! What better way to start the weekend than with a refreshing smoothie!. I love a strawberry smoothie anytime of the day. This time I experimented with the flavor by adding pomegranate seeds and a new and interesting ingredient – Hibiscus syrup. I got it online, but you can make it at home as well. It has a very distinct sweet flavor and lovely deep red color. Strawberries and pomegranate seeds are low in saturated fats and high in dietary fiber.
In the blender, add 1 cup fat-free milk, 4 strawberries, 1/4 cup watermelon, 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds, 2 tbsp hibiscus syrup, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp protein powder, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt. Whip it to a smooth consistency.
Pour into a glass, throw in a colorful straw and slurp away. You can add cream on top if you are in mood for some indulgence.
Sunday – Coffee Toffee Smoothie
I know, it’s back to work the next day. Sunday is the one day we have to unwind and relax with our feet up. No chores, no running around the clock or getting up early. You can have a heavy brunch followed by a Coffee Toffee Smoothie for dessert if you want. I love Sundays, because there are no rules that day in the house. You can have anything you want, whenever you want. Hence I prefer to make this smoothie on a Sunday as it is officially our indulgence day. This drink combines the goodness of apples, cocoa powder and coffee.
Add 1 cup fat-free milk, 2 tsp cocoa powder, 1 tsp coffee, 1 tbsp honey, 1 apple sliced, 1 tbsp protein powder, 1 tbsp Jif™ Creamy Peanut Butter and 1/4 cup Dannon Vanilla Low-fat Yogurt in the blender.
Blend it all well till it reached smoothie consistency. Coffee Toffee Smoothie is now ready to be served. My husband occasionally likes to top it up with vanilla ice cream to end his Sunday on a sweeter note.
There you have it folks, the Rainbow Smoothie Chronicles are now complete!! One delicious smoothie for each day of the week. Healthy, delicious and filled with goodness. You don’t need to be on an exotic island to enjoy a nice drink, you can do so in the comfort of your very own home. Fruit smoothies are truly a blessing. They are ready in no time, very less prep is required, fussy and picky eaters will love it too. They can be made for breakfasts, post workout meals or served as desserts with ice cream on top. They truly are very versatile and flavorful. I hope you have as much fun as I did making these delicious treats!!
A smoothie is a great way to introduce fruits to toddlers as well. Just the other day I had some friends and their children come visit us. They kept telling me how it hard it was to get their children to drink milk because they just didn’t find the taste appealing, even when they added sugar to it! I had an idea. I whipped up one of my delicious smoothies for them to try and guess what? The kids loved it!! My friends were surprised because their kids apparently hated fruits but seemed to have no problem in gulping down these colorful fruit smoothies. My smoothies had saved the day once again!!
If you intend to make smoothies a part of your regular diet, I would recommend investing in a good blender. When I first started making smoothies, I used a blender (called a mixer) I had gotten from India. But it was more suited to grinding spices than making smoothies. My smoothies turned out chunky with bits of un-blended fruit floating around. I finally decided to buy a blender and it helped immensely. I trust my Oster® Blend-N-Go® MyBlend® blindly when it comes to making smoothies now. It is economical and blends beautifully. There are no more fruit chunks left, no need to strain the smoothie at all because it’s all ground so well! Plus it is super easy to clean and maintain. So if you are searching for the ideal blender, then look no further. Get this today! You can just fill, blend & go!
Lastly, some tips to achieve a perfect and delicious smoothie:
- Adjust the consistency of the smoothie to your liking by adding more yogurt (thicker) or more milk(thinner).
- The idea is to use chilled milk in smoothies rather than adding ice cubes as it tends to dilute the drink.
- Substitute sugar for honey if you so prefer.
- While I prefer to use fat-free milk for my smoothies, you can use any kind of milk – whole, soy, almond, coconut, etc.