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Thread: Fruit smoothies: good non-fake subs for refined sugar; add yogurt?; protein?

  1. #1
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    Question Fruit smoothies: good non-fake subs for refined sugar; add yogurt?; protein?

    I've searched old threads but haven't found what I need. I want to make fruit smoothies for my teens b/c they're tempted to skip b'fast w/ the time crunch b4 school. What's the best sweetener to use? I've seen conflicting info on refined sugar vs. honey (whether honey's truly any more healthful or is metabolized differently); I won't use any artificial sweeteners for my kids; and I've found thru searching that agave nectar is good but it would require a special store trip for me (my teensy grocer carries very few unusual ingredients) so I was hoping to stick with something more readily available. But if agave nectar is the way to go, you don't use that much per smoothie anyway, I suppose, so keeping it on hand could be the answer.

    Any thoughts? My kids are incredibly healthy--slim, muscular; no obesity problem here--but there's not much point in training their palates to only like very sweet smoothies, esp. w/diabetes in my mom's family tree. I imagine that throwing some strawberries into every smoothie would help, since strawberries are so sweet, but we have a bumper crop of blackberries in the freezer & since the kids did the picking, some of them were picked a little early & are a bit tart.

    Also, do you think I could sub vanilla yogurt (lowfat for me, doesn't matter for the kids) for the milk, to make the smoothies more substantial & filling? I have a couple of good recipes that use, of all things, a small amt. of ricotta cheese; I love these recipes but again they're not sweet enough for the kids to enjoy them as much as I'd hoped.

    And how do you get protein into a fruit smoothie? I thought protein powders (don't know; have never bought one) were one of those non-FDA-regulated things that we don't want pumped into our kids--?

    Thanks for your comments.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  2. #2
    Hi,
    I find that if my smoothies are made with fruit that they really don't need much sweetner. I often take smoothies during the week and they all start with plain yogurt-If you're looking to avoid extra sugar, using vanilla yogurt would NOT be the way to go.

    The smoothie I make most often is 1 banana, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 cup OJ and 1 cup frozen mixed berries (or 1 cup strawberries). There is no need for ice since the berries are frozen.

    I also make one that is 1/2 cup skim milk, 1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt, 1 cup frozen blueberries and 1 tsp honey. To me, the 1tsp honey is trivial. Everything in moderation.

    Finally, I make a peanut butter split smoothie. One overripe banana, quartered and frozen, 1/2 cup nonfat yogurt, 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 1/2 tsp creamy natural peanut butter....this one is good, but it is the least sweet of the bunch and adding honey to it doesn't seem like it would go with the other flavors.

  3. #3
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    Ricotta is a fresh cheese made from whey. It's a very good protein source and low in fat. I read somewhere that Ricotta is about the only whey protein you can find in a grocery store besides buying overpriced whey protein powders. I always put Ricotta in my smoothies. As for the sweetener I like Demerara (raw cane sugar). I also like to add some Maple Flakes which are made with pure maple and about 1/3 the calories of honey. Fruit of all kinds are great in smoothies. For some extra crunch homemade granola can be added in or on top of smoothies. Silken tofu is another thing added to smoothies.

  4. #4
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    Great responses . . . keep 'em coming!

    You know, if egg whites are the perfect protein, what about liquid pasteurized egg whites? That could be the type of thing that sounds gross if you know it's in there, but if they're basically flavorless & fully safe to eat, that might be an idea, too--?
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  5. #5
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    TK, cinnamon, vanilla and almond extract (especially) can all add sweetness to smoothies.

    Bob

  6. #6
    Tofu is a great way to sneak in some protein. I also use frozen OJ concentrate (just a touch) for sweetness.

  7. #7
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    A quality protein powder is a quick and inexpensive way to add protein.

  8. #8
    Really ripe bananas (I freeze in chunks) also add sweetness, and thicken without getting the smoothie watery.

    I love smoothies but the few times I make them, I typically use just fruiit. While filling drinking them, they don't keep me full for that long. I sometimes add a bit of yogurt but hardly counts protein-wise. I should experiment with adding more protein/trying different types.
    Last edited by applecrisp; 02-27-2009 at 10:54 AM.

  9. #9
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    I don't add any kind of sugar to my smoothies - I just wing it.

    Ingredients:

    frozen banana
    plain yogurt
    frozen or fresh berries/fruit
    flaxseed
    and a bit of milk to keep them liquidy.

    Put in blender and puree till smooth and thick.

    If a smoothie is thicker, you could sprinkle some granola on top. And I saw one recipe recently that called for blending the granola right in. So there are lots of options.


    Eating Well has a ton of great recipes and ideas on this link:
    Smoothies
    Blogging it! A healthy serving of books, a dash of food, a splash of knitting, all topped off with the occasional trip. Serving recipe reviews on Mondays, book reviews on Thursdays.

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  10. #10
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    Same here...I don't add any extra sugar. My smoothies consist of:

    1/2 frozen banana
    handful of frozen raspberries
    vanilla yogurt
    OJ

    Blend together!
    Erin

    "Eating peanut butter is a sacred act, not to be defiled by pork or its substitutes."

    -generic


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  11. #11
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    I also don't add extra sugar to my smoothies. I think the fun thing about a smoothie is you REALLY can't mess it up. I pretty much make it different everytime I make one. It just depends on what fruits I have handy. I usually use a banana though because it does thicken it nicely. Usually my berries are frozen, but not always, where they are NOT I add a couple of ice cubes.

  12. #12
    I make this CL smoothie a lot. It has a good bit of protein in it. It does have yogurt, pb, and graham crackers but no other added sugar:

    http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/re...ipe_id=1215877

  13. #13
    I make smoothies for my lunch almost everyday:

    1 banana
    1 cup milk
    1 spoonful creamy peanut butter
    1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder

    I use Jay Robb brand protein powder. It says it contains no MSG, no Acesulfamane K, no artificial sweeteners or colors, no aspartame, and no sucralose. This is 350 or so calories and keeps me full most of the afternoon.

  14. #14
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    Not that I follow such matters terribly closely, but this is the first time I've heard the position that honey is no better for you than white sugar. But I just have a weakness for small independent apiaries.
    Once in a great while I put a bit of honey in a smoothie, but with my usual ingredients they're plenty sweet: I use organic vanilla soy milk 99% of the time, and I guess that provides the sweetness. I also use either Kashi Go Lean vanilla protein powder or the Whole Foods version. At the very minimum, I use the soy milk, a banana, and the protein powder for a fairly substantial shake. Frozen berries, yogurt, bee pollen, and the orphaned last egg have also made their way in in with good results.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  15. #15
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    Forgive me if this was already mentioned since I only skimmed the PP's, but GREEK yogurt is a key ingredient in every smoothie I make. It is packed with healthy protein and virtually no sugar (I use plain 0-2%). My usual breakfast smoothie of late:
    1 cup frozen blueberries
    1 tiny banana or half large banana
    1/2 cup ice
    1 cup GREEK yogurt
    maybe 1/2 cup freshly squeezed OJ or apple cider (or whatever liquid you want to loosen it up)

    This is way more satisfying to me than anything using protein powder. I cannot get the stuff hidden well enough in smoothies for my taste.
    - Josie


  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by avariell View Post
    GREEK yogurt is a key ingredient in every smoothie I make.
    Greek yogurt is simple to make. If I want smoothies (or Tzasiki [sp?] sauce), I simply place 2 cups of regular yogurt (Stonyfield, etc) in a paper towel-lined fine mesh strainer over a bowl (to collect whey) overnight in refrigerator. Next day I have Greek style yogurt. I usually strain at least 24 hrs. I use whey with water (about 2-3 Tbsp for a gallon) for overnight soaks of beans and grains.

    Dolores
    "we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude...
    we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
    Pierre Henri in Chocolat
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    www.photographybydolores.com

  17. #17
    Dolores,

    I've been meaning to try draining my yogurt --- since I so prefer the greek yogurt to the standard plain. But man that Fage is expensive, in comparison to regular plain like Stonyfield or Brown Cow.

    Just curioius, you mentioned that you add whey for overnight soaks of beans and grains. What does that do?

    Thanks,

  18. #18
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    Wow; thanks for all the excellent ideas!

    I'm usually such a label-reader; however, I'm chagrined to say that other than checking for gums & fillers, I haven't been much of a label-reader for Dannon yogurt, once I realized it's generally better than the other brands (except for their Light & Tasty, which is horrible--it's all fake stuff like the store brand; no wonder it tastes bad). I was surprised to see the sugar differences b/w lowfat plain & lowfat vanilla.

    You've made lots of great suggestions about the protein. Anyone have opinions on the pasteurized-egg-white idea? I suppose Whole Foods would be the place to go for a protein powder? The so-called health-food stores bother me a little bit; I'm never sure that they're selling stuff that's not going to pass FDA approval. As was discussed on an archived smoothie thread, "natural" doesn't necessarily mean "healthful."

    Thanks also for all the recipes and links. I've copied several into MasterCook, from EatingWell and from this thread.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

  19. #19
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    We've been making smoothies every morning for breakfast for about the past year. I use the Naked brand Mighty Mango as a juice base. It doesn' t have any sugar, just concentrated mango and other fruit juices. It makes the smoothie very sweet without using any sweeteners. I use homemade non fat yogurt and throw in whatever needs to be used up - frozen banana chunk, handful of frozen mixed berries,frozen pineapple chunks, an orange, some leftover coconut milk. I always add a shot of vanilla. The powdered protein doesn't agree with me but the yogurt is high in protein and sits very well. D
    Read and Feed!!!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    You've made lots of great suggestions about the protein. Anyone have opinions on the pasteurized-egg-white idea? I suppose Whole Foods would be the place to go for a protein powder?
    You can also buy FDA inspected, egg white protein powder from Amazon.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by testkitchen45 View Post
    Anyone have opinions on the pasteurized-egg-white idea? I suppose Whole Foods would be the place to go for a protein powder?
    As noted above, I've bought their soy and whey protein powders for years - cheaper than the Kashi that I sometimes pick up at TJ's. I used to buy Eggology pure egg whites there for DBF, but I gotta tell you, they are EXPENSIVE. I eventually found huge jars at another natural foods store for a better price, but still...expensive. But it's nice that there's no crap in them.

    I've never had Danon yogurt, but if you're shopping at WF anyhow, do you buy any of the great yogurts they sell? There are some good ones that are cheaper than the stuff at regular supermarkets.
    Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct. - Eleanor Roosevelt

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by applecrisp View Post
    Dolores,

    .

    Just curioius, you mentioned that you add whey for overnight soaks of beans and grains. What does that do?

    Thanks,


    “Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects.

    Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread. Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

    Traditional methods for preparing grains and legumes supply those factors that nature uses for neutralizing phytic acid in seeds so that they an then sprout and grow: warmth, moisture, time and slightly acidity. Soaking whole grains and flour overnight in a medium like cultured milk or warm acidulated water activates the enzyme phytase, which then neutralizes phytic acid. Studies show that salt added to the soaking medium inhibits this process, so the time to add salt to porridges and batters is just before cooking, not during the soaking period. ”

    from "Nourishing Traditions"

    More reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytic_acid

    Dolores
    "we can't go 'round measuring our goodness by what we don't do, by what we deny ourselves, what we resist and who we exclude...
    we've got to measure goodness by what we embrace, what we create, and who we include."
    Pierre Henri in Chocolat
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    www.photographybydolores.com

  23. #23
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    As soon as it gets a bit warmer I'll start having protein shakes in the AM.

    Mix in blender:
    sm. Fage non-fat yogurt
    1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
    1/2 frozen banana
    squirt of agave
    frozen berries (usually mixed, or strawberries/blackberries)
    scoop of Jay Robb's vanilla egg white protein powder (only protein powder I like)

    Very filling and yummy!

    ~Gail
    "I expect to pass through life but once.
    If, therefore, there be any kindness I can show or any good thing I can do any fellow being, let me do it now and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again."
    -William Penn (1644-1718)

    ~~www.Nurse-Gail.com~~

  24. #24
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    I was searching thru smoothie threads and recipes and saw this one. I have been experimenting lately w/ smoothies and trying to get more calcium and protein. I am in the minority b/c I will not use bananas or Pnut buttter (hate them both) I have been using plain, vanilla and flavored yogurts, soy milk and assorted frozen fruits. I have not added any extra "sugars" b/c I thought the were fine as is and I was not really looking for a sweet smoothie.

    I was wondering about making a larger quanity and freezing? I was not sure how the yogurt would freeze and if the texture would be different when thawed? Any thoughts?

  25. #25
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    My normal breakfast for a long time has been either Fiber One, skim milk & a banana, or a fruit smoothie with soy powder in it. I've never added sugar to a smoothies; like the others I think the fruit provides plenty of sweetness on its own. Recently DH and I have started having a green smoothie for breakfast, and we're plenty full all morning long. We really enjoy them and feel good knowing we're having fresh fruits and veggies to start our day!

    (Note: I use a Vita-Mix)

    Green Smoothie

    1/2 c. pineapple juice (or pineapple chunks and 1/2 c. water)
    handful of fresh spinach
    1/2 apple, unpeeled
    1/2 orange, peeled
    1/2 peach or nectarine, unpeeled
    1/2 banana, peeled
    handful of grapes
    handful of strawberries (no need to hull or stem)
    handful of ice cubes

    Delicous!!! I'm kind of wishing I could have one right now! Too late, though.
    Lynne


    To err is human, to forgive, canine.
    -- Anonymous

  26. #26
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    I make smoothies nearly every weekday morning and never add sweetener.

    Here is my basic recipe:
    2 cups frozen fruit (I buy about six bags per week and mix it up each day, frozen berries, mango, etc.)
    1 cup water
    1 cup orange juice
    1 cup soy milk

    At one point I was adding soy powder or protein powder for added protein, but haven't done that in awhile. I've found this is definitely sweet enough and very versatile.

    If I use fresh fruit I cut back on the water so it doesn't get too thick in the blender.

  27. #27

    Silken Tofu + yogurt works for us...

    I buy the Mori-Nu Silken Soft Tofu, and we use a block of it with an equal part TJ's or Dannon vanilla or Banana or Strawberry yogurt, plus blueberries or strawberries plus bananas and perhaps OJ. It makes a really thick smoothie.

    The tofu boosts the protein, and cuts the sweetness from the yogurt. If I have to use plain yogurt with the tofu, I sweeten with the juice, bananas, and sometimes a little honey. I never thought about the Agave Nectar - I have some for baking.

    I also dilute my smoothie with water for less calories for me, but the kids love it as is, and our blender jar qty. lasts a couple of days.

    Occasionally, I can get a case (12 boxes) of the tofu from Amazon with free shipping - that is the way to go for us, since I can't always find the soft silken tofu at my store.
    Laurie

  28. #28
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    I just wanted to add that if the smoothie is something your kids are going to be eating on their way to school, you may not want to use any blueberries to it, unless they don't mind showing up at school with lots of blueberry bits stuck in their teeth.

    Also, I haven't seen anyone mention adding wheat germ to smoothies - I love the little bit of extra flavor and crunch it adds.
    Anne

    When you start to cook, as when you begin to live, you think that the point is to improve the technique until you end up with something perfect, and that the reason you haven’t been able to break the cycle of desire and disillusion is that you haven’t yet mastered the rules. Then you grow up, and you learn that that’s the game.

    Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

  29. #29
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    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas! I wanted to bump this thread b/c with the hot weather, it's smoothie time for sure.
    If you're afraid of butter, use cream. ~~ Julia Child

    As you cook, you enjoy omniscience about food that no amount of label reading can match. Having retaken control of the meal from the food scientists, you know exactly what is in it. (Unless you start w/cream of mushroom soup, in which case all bets are off.) To reclaim control over one's food, to take it back from industry & science, is no small thing; indeed, in our time, cooking from scratch qualifies as subversive. ~~ Michael Pollan

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