This past week we searched the web for smoothies recipes that are touted as delicious and nutritious. The smoothies that we selected, chocolate peanut butter, berry kiwi and island smoothie (just to name a few) all had healthy ingredients such as fruit, kale, nuts and seeds and from their pictures, they all looked amazing. Then, we ran the nutrition analysis on them. Not a single smoothie came in under 400 calories and half of them were in the 500 calorie range. Now, if you’re a 16 year old growing athlete, a 400 calorie smoothie is nothing. But for many people, 400-500 calories is a complete meal replacement- yet these smoothies where not even balanced.
As a nutrition therapist I often tweak recipes to help my clients stay within their calorie range, so I really wasn’t all that surprised. The natural sweetness of fruit works to cover the taste of greens. This addition of natural sugar is used a lot in food processing. The more fruit the more coverage. Nut butters and other added fats add flavor and texture. These natural foods add a lot of nutrition to the smoothie. But they add something else too. They add calories. And if you’re trying to lose weight or decrease your body fat, calories matter!
Here’s the reality: Making a smoothie that tastes good is easy. Making a smoothie that tastes good with greens is a task. Making a smoothie that tastes good with greens and protein, which is also calorie controlled…..now that’s a challenge. Luckily, I love challenges.
This chocolate peanut butter kale smoothie makes the cut. We finalized it at 250 calories, 21 grams of protein and over 25% of your daily calcium needs…..and it tastes good! It’s kid (my 8 year old daughter gave it a thumbs up) and mother approved. Give it a try and let us know what you think.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie
Ingredients:½ bananas 1 Tbsp. PB2 (powdered peanut butter) 1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder 3 Tbsp. chocolate protein powder (~10 grams) ½ cup skim milk 1 cup kale 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds 1 cup ice
Directions: Add all ingredients to a high powered mixer blend and serve. This recipe makes one smoothie.
Next week we’ll be posting a guide on how to build a balanced smoothie. Check back for that.