Hi Hungry Girl,
I just found out my daily stop at the smoothie shop has been adding nearly 2,500 calories to my diet per week! I'd like to start making my own blended beverages at home, but I have no clue where to start. What are some good low-calorie smoothie ingredients to stock up on?
Hi Smooth Moves,
Ugh... Smoothie-shop stats can be such a bummer! But it's super easy to whip up calorie-slashed smoothies in the comfort of your own kitchen. Start by filling your fridge, freezer, and pantry with these must-haves...
Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 cup, average: 35 calories, 2.5g total fat (0g sat. fat), 180mg sodium, 2g carbs, 0.5g fiber, <0.5g sugars, 1g protein
This swap for dairy milk is a great foundation for any smoothie. (Need proof? You got it
.) It adds creaminess, plus a touch of vanilla flavor. Even better? It has less than half the calories of skim milk. I'm also nuts about this almond-coconut blend
! Find almond-based alternative milks in both the fridge and shelf-stable sections of the market.
Powdered peanut butter
2 tbsp., average: 50 calories, 2g total fat (<0.5g sat. fat), 35mg sodium, 4g carbs, 2g fiber, 1g sugars, 6g protein
For many of us, a life without peanut butter would be a sad existence! But no need to put down that spoon… unless that spoon is mixing powdered peanut butter
! It's like regular PB, minus most of the fatty calories! (And, of course, it's a powder not a puree.) These days, you can find it right in the peanut butter aisle; brands like Jif make it. Add it to smoothies to get that rich taste you crave, sans guilt. This classic Hungry Girl smoothie
combines the miracle powder with chocolate and banana!
Frozen mango chunks
1 cup: 120 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat. fat), 0mg sodium, 32g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 28.5g sugars, 0.5g protein
value 0* when eaten; SmartPoints
value 6* when blended in a beverage
Feel like you're stuck in a summertime sauna? Stock up on frozen mango chunks for beat-the-heat refreshment. They're so sweet, they can eliminate the need for excess sweetener in your smoothie. They also add just the perfect texture to your cool-down concoction. Case in point: This Beyond Berry Mango Smoothie
. Other excellent frozen fruits for blended beverages? Mixed berries, pitted dark sweet cherries, and DIY banana slices. HG tip: Check the ingredients to make sure no sugar has been added.
1 cup: 7 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat. fat), 25mg sodium, 1g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 0g sugars, 1g protein
Don't be scared! As long you don't go overboard with the leafy greens, spinach blends seamlessly into fruity blended beverages. Plus, it's chock-full of vitamins and minerals to supercharge your smoothie. Try it in this hint-of-mint vanilla shake
or this peachy breakfast smoothie
Canned pineapple packed in juice
1/2 cup (not drained), average: 65 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat. fat), 10mg sodium, 17g carbs, 1g fiber, 14.5g sugars, 0g protein
You don't need to go to the Caribbean to get those relaxed beach vibes. Canned pineapple -- be it crushed, tidbits, or chunks -- can transport you in an instant. It's a tropical smoothie must! Just watch out for syrup-soaked varieties, and stick with fruit packed in juice. Your starter smoothie: This Tropical Cherry Freeze
Vanilla protein powder (with about 100 calories per serving)
1 oz. scoop (about 6 tbsp.), average: 100 calories, 1.5g total fat (0.5g sat. fat), 60mg sodium, 4g carbs, <0.5g fiber, 1g sugars, 19g protein
When it comes to smoothie must-haves, vanilla protein powder
takes the cake. We add it to tons of smoothies and shakes for a milkshake-like texture without milkshake-like stats. Plus, all that protein makes your blended beverage extra satisfying. Some of our favorites are made by Quest
, Tera's Whey
, and Jay Robb's
. (Also check out Devotion's Angel Food Cake flavor
… that one really
takes the cake!)
Fat-free plain Greek yogurt
1 cup: 130 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat. fat), 95mg sodium, 9g carbs, 0g fiber, 9g sugars, 23.5g protein
Speaking of texture enhancers, just a small amount of Greek yogurt will thicken your tasty blend in a flash. The rich and creamy ingredient also adds protein and calcium. If you're skeptical of its tartness, try vanilla yogurt or a fruity variety. Ready for recipes? GOOD
Unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp.: 17 calories, 0.5g total fat (<0.5g sat. fat), 0mg sodium, 3g carbs, 2g fiber, 0g sugars, 1g protein
Attention, chocolate cravers! You can eat clean and still get your fix. Add some unsweetened cocoa powder to your smoothie for instant gratification without all the sugary calories. The trick is to add a no-calorie sweetener packet or two (like the natural kind by Truvia
). Try HG's Oreo Frappe
to taste the combo in action. And for even richer flavor, try unsweetened dark cocoa powder.
P.S. Don't forget some quality crushed ice! If your blender isn't strong enough to crush cubes, simply whack 'em to pieces in a sealable bag. (Carefully, of course. It's hard to enjoy a smoothie with a bruised hand!)
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