We have recently discovered the wonder of healthy smoothies for breakfast. They are quick and easy to make, they are filling, and they’re packed with vitamins and nutrients. However, not all smoothies are created equally, and some can actually be dangerous to your health.

Many people, especially when they first start drinking smoothies, think that they need a lot of sugar to make them “taste good.” That can lead to problems for some who are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Don’t forget that fruit, one of the main ingredients in smoothies, is loaded with sugar. Add regular, flavored yogurt and you’re adding even more sugar.

We find that nonfat, plain Greek yogurt is best. It provides a good amount of protein without adding fat or sugar. We also use a mixture of fresh and frozen fruit. The frozen fruit, when blended, tends to add volume and thicken the smoothie.

If we add vegetables, it’s usually raw spinach or carrot. Be careful of the total calories too. Fruit, along with having a lot of fiber, vitamins and nutrients, also can have a lot of calories.

Most importantly, use a heavy-duty blender that can pulverize whole fruit. One of the real benefits of smoothies is the fiber that comes from the fruit (and vegetables, if you include them). If you use a juicer or have to remove too much of the fresh fruit, then you lose the fiber too.

When done right, though, the real benefit of smoothies is that they pack lots of vitamins and nutrients into a quick meal without the simple carbs (toast, muffins, coffeecake, etc.) and fats (sausage, bacon, etc.) that we usually associate with breakfast. Our favorite is strawberry-banana-spinach. It turns out that when you include banana and strawberry, you can mask the taste of just about any green veggie!

With smoothies, the mixtures of fruit and veggies can be almost unlimited. Use your imagination. Get ideas from books and magazines too. Almost every food-related magazine seems to have a recipe for a healthy smoothie these days. Best of all – enjoy!

Check out the program at www.EatGreatLiveWell.com. What have you got to lose – other than bad habits, excess weight, low self-esteem, or yo-yo dieting?

Remember, healthy choices you make each day can transform your family for generations! What choices will you make today?
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