What could be simpler? A handful of ingredients, tossed into a blender and pureed until smooth. Anything goes: fresh or frozen fruit, milk, yogurt, soy milk, nuts. It makes a great breakfast (especially for you breakfast skippers), a quick lunch or an ideal snack.
Smoothies also help you meet your daily fruit quotient (two to four servings), while boosting your protein, vitamin, mineral, antioxidant and fiber intake in the pulse of a blender. Plus, you can customize your smoothies to suit your needs -- whether it's energy for a workout or concentration for work. Start with the three recipes on these pages, and add any of the following "smoothie boosters" for more nutritional punch (for ingredients to avoid, see "Smoothie Busters"):
* Flaxseed meal Rich in omega-3s, powerful fatty acids that strengthen immunity and promote heart and artery health; add 1-2 tablespoons (per tablespoon: 34 calories, 3.5 g fat, 2 g carbs, 2 g protein, 2 g fiber).
* Wheat germ Excellent source of fiber, folate and the antioxidant vitamin E; top smoothie with 1-2 tablespoons (per tablespoon: 25 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g carbs, 2 g protein, 1 g fiber).
* Nonfat dry milk powder Excellent source of fat-free, high-quality protein; add 2-4 tablespoons (per tablespoon: 15 calories, 0 g fat, 2 g carbs, 2 g protein, 0 g fiber).
* Light or nonfat soy milk Rich in iso-flavones that help build bone mass, reduce heart-disease risk, may impede malignant tumor growth and reduce hot flashes in menopausal women; replace milk or yogurt with soy milk (per cup: 110 calories, 2 g fat, 20 g carbs, 3 g protein, 0 g fiber).
* Powdered acidophilus Helps maintain the balance of intestinal "flora," which promotes healthy bacteria that fight "bad" bacteria in the gut. The powder form provides a much higher concentration of the desired organisms than yogurt or acidophilus milk. Always follow label recommendations for powdered acidophilus.
Avoid these touted "boosters"; they just don't deliver on their claims:
Lecithin No proof to the claims of improved memory and reduced risk of atherosclerosis and Alzheimer's disease; a balanced diet provides all the lecithin we need.
Bee pollen Not the "good source of B vitamins" it's hyped to be.
Chromium picolinate There's no evidence that this supplement aids weight loss, stabilizes blood sugar, treats hypoglycemia, lowers cholesterol or improves blood fats.
Royal jelly Touted as a concentrated protein and mineral source -- but there's no need for this pricey bee product in human diets.
Spirulina and/or chlorella (freshwater algae) As a supposed source of protein and trace minerals, it's expensive and unnecessary.