I am always amazed when I read how nutritious and healthy a smoothie is — and then I read the ingredients list of some of them.

Most are anything but healthy with way too many calories and sugars in them. I urge you to know what is in a smoothie before you consume it. You may be ingesting 500 calories — or more — in one glass, with countless grams of sugar.

Several weeks ago, I gave you a berry smoothie recipe. This week, I am offering a “green” smoothie. You could easily have this for breakfast or lunch and not only feel satisfied but, nutritionally, you would have a balanced “meal.”

The recipe calls for spinach and kale. If you can use fresh greens those are best, but frozen are good as well.

Just a few thoughts about these ingredients: You could substitute unsweetened rice milk if you don’t care for the almond milk. And, if you don’t have almond butter, invest in a small jar of it and keep it in the refrigerator to keep it from spoiling. It provides the protein and healthy fat you need.

Chia seeds — you can add them to almost anything and they provide great fiber, but don’t overdo. One tablespoon is just fine. These seeds are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, rich in antioxidants, and they also a great source for iron and calcium. They help raise HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol that protects against heart attack and stroke.

Again, if you don’t have them, they are a good investment in your health.

Try this green smoothie for lunch. I hope you like it!

INGREDIENTS1 1/2 c. unsweetened almond milk

1 c. chopped spinach (fresh or frozen)

1/2 c. chopped kale (fresh or frozen)

1 medium ripe banana

2 tbsp. almond butter

1 tbsp. chia seeds

2 tsp. honey

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend well. Enjoy!

(Candy Work is a certified physician assistant and registered dietician. She has practiced at Olean Medical Group since 2015.)

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