And I always prefer to make my own smoothies. It’s easier to control the ingredients and nutrition info. Some of the smoothies at fast food establishments contain lots of added ingredients besides fruit, dairy, and/or juice. For example, if you look at the ingredient lists for the McDonald’s smoothies, their strawberry banana smoothie contains:
“Strawberry banana fruit blend [puree, banana puree, water, sugar, concentrated apple juice, contains less than 1% of the following: cellulose powder, natural (botanical source) and artificial flavors, xanthan gum, citric acid, colored with fruit and vegetable juice, pectin, ascorbic acid (preservative)], Low fat yogurt [Cultured Grade A reduced fat milk, sugar, whey protein concentrate, fructose, corn starch, gelatin.], and ice.”
That’s an awful lot of ingredients for a smoothie, not to mention the added sugar in both the yogurt and the fruit blend, plus artificial flavors. So I go the homemade route.
When I make my own, I typically use a mixed berry blend, like strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries, along with yogurt or milk. But looking around the kitchen today, I decided I wanted to experiment with some other ingredients. I threw together the recipe below and was so pleased by the results – it was absolutely delicious, and very quick and easy to make!
It packs in tons of Vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and fiber. It does contain a bit of sugar (38 grams), but almost all of it comes naturally from the fruits. I did use vanilla almond milk here, so there’s about 5 extra grams of sugar since that is sweetened. You can easily use unsweetened almond milk to cut that out. This amount of sugar is much less than most commercial smoothies – that 16 ounce strawberry banana one from McDonald’s has 54 grams of sugar, while a small orange coolata smoothie from Dunkin Donuts contains 51 grams of sugar (a medium packs in 77 grams). Essentially, you’re saving yourself several spoonfuls of sugar by making this at home on your own!
There’s an ingredient in there that you might never expect to find in a smoothie – beets! The last time I was at the store, I saw some and thought, “I never eat beets, I need to buy these and find something to do with them.” I never would normally think to add cooked beets to a drink, but I wanted to play around with something new. The beets blend well into the smoothie and add some extra phytonutrients!
Mango, banana, and beet smoothie
½ of a chopped mango
½ of a chopped banana
¼ cup of diced cooked beets
½ cup of vanilla almond milk (or whatever type of milk you enjoy!)
¼ cup 100% apple juice
Small handful of ice cubes
Directions: Blend everything together and enjoy! Fills a tall 16 ounce glass.
Nutrition info – 210 calories, 2 grams of fat, 50 grams of carbohydrate, 5 grams of fiber, 38 grams of sugar, 2 grams of protein, 22% DV for Vitamin A, 99% DV for Vitamin C, 25% DV for Calcium, 565 mg (16% DV) of potassium