It's smoothie season!

By: Kim Beavers Email
By: Kim Beavers Email

It is hard not to talk about smoothies. They really are a treat and the best part is that they can be healthy, too. Just like all foods you can load them up with added sugars and make them less healthy, but of course that is not our goal here.

"Convenient" smoothies

I am really looking at “convenient” smoothies, such as the type you see marketed at the grocery store.

Sunkist Naturals: Can be found in the grocery store’s refrigerated produce section. These are the ultimate in convenience. The taste (well I only tried one -- the Pina Colada flavor) is delicious. However, like you, I shop on a budget so I would not add this to my every week list. It is about $2.99 for a 16-ounce bottle (2 servings), and I find that a bit on the pricey side.

If you have more money than time, these are a great choice because there is nothing artificial. They are not low in calories, but they are high in nutrients and quality ingredients. Enjoy these for a special treat, or if you can afford them, more often to help get in fruits!

Sunkist® Smart Smoothie™ Mix: Again these are a bit of a convenience, but you do add the fruit and milk. There is added expense just in buying the package itself. The positives are added fiber (in the form of inulin, see previous fiber discussion), extra calcium from powdered milk and added vitamin C. The downside is some added sugar.

However, I do traditionally add some sugar to my homemade smoothies, but the amount is comparable to what you find in this packet. To be completely honest, I cannot bash the added sugar here: It is a reasonable amount and delivers healthy food with the minimal dose of added sugar. Of course, it is best to make your own without added sugar.

Yoplait® Smoothie: These can be found in the freezer section and are the ultimate in terms of “homemade” convenience. All you have to do is add milk. They are likewise expensive. However. there is a coupon on the website for $1 off.

So wait for a sale, use a coupon and keep these in the freezer for a convenient smoothie treat. Like the other smoothies reviewed, there is a little bit of added sugar and some artificial sweetener (sucralose) as well.

Specialty or Designer Smoothies

Designer smoothies are specifically designed to deliver certain nutrients. These are found in the refrigerator section of the produce aisle.

Odwalla® Protein Monster: This is clearly designed to deliver a hefty dose of protein. It also contains a good amount of calcium (75 percent of the daily value) and does contain added sugar. There are almost 300 calories per smoothie. But similar to other smoothies in this category, it is costly. This might suit the needs of some people, but most of us get plenty of protein and do not need to get this much in a smoothie.

Naked® Green Machine Smoothie: is a boosted fruit smoothie and contains many different greens. It is a good source of vitamins B12, A and C. It has no added sugar but uses fruit puree for sweetness. I like the idea of getting more greens (as most Americans don’t get enough). But I found the taste too “green” and potentially as an acquired taste. The calories are low with only 140 per bottle, and the price is as high as expected for such a product.

Bolthouse® Farms Blue Goodness smoothie: This one has many blue and purple fruits and a whooping dose of fiber in the form of inulin. It also has no added sugar and contains two servings per bottle. Again, if you need help getting in fruits this could be a way to go. The fiber from inulin is a prebiotic and provides health benefits but does not posses the same properties as fiber from whole grains.

The bottom line
If using these products helps you increase foods/nutrients in your diet that you're lacking, then they could be a good choice for you. Watch the added sugar and serving sizes. Many of these contain two servings per container. You can typically make them at home at a lower cost and with less sugar.

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