Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthy Blends

Assemble the recommended seven serves of fruit and vegies on your kitchen bench, and the prospect of choking them all down in a day can seem impossible. Blend them into an ice-cold smoothie, however, and suddenly a healthy diet becomes very doable.
“Smoothies are a good way to reach your dairy and fruit intakes for the day, if they’re made with skim milk or yoghurt and whole fruits,” says WH nutrition expert Sharon Natoli. These puréed powerhouses can do more than help you hit your nutrition quotas – they’re designed to tackle a variety of health concerns. Finally, a chance to use your blender for something other than margaritas...
INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL RECIPES: combine ingredients and blend until smooth

The tummy soother

You pilates your way to a lean, mean middle, and then digestive woes like water retention, bloating or constipation sabotage your flat-stomach dreams. This gut-friendly smoothie will help: it contains the enzyme papain as well as potassium, both of which calm an angry digestive system, plus four grams of fibre to tame an upset tummy. Ginger and mint nix nausea, fend off flatulence and freshen your breath. Bonus: probiotics in yoghurt boost friendly bacteria in your digestive tract to lessen bloating.
1 cup peeled, seeded and cubed papaya
1 cup frozen sliced peaches
1 medium pear, cubed, skin optional
1 tbs ground flaxseed
1 tsp sliced ginger
6 mint leaves
½ cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
6 ice cubes
Garnish with mint after blending
Makes 3 serves. Per serve: 456kJ, 2g fat (0.5g sat), 21g carbs, 15mg sodium, 4g fibre, 4g protein

The baby protector

This prenatal superstar packs the nutrients you need when you’re expecting: folate from orange juice reduces the risk of birth defects, iron in prune juice helps blood carry oxygen to the baby, and calcium in milk helps prevent bone loss, says Cheryl Forberg, nutritionist and author of Positively Ageless. Blackberries, apricots and kiwifruit offer healing vitamin C for a postnatal edge.
3 tbs frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup frozen blackberries
2 cup peeled, cubed kiwifruit
2 apricots, skin optional
½ cup skim milk powder
1 cup prune juice, frozen in ice cube trays (or ½ cup prune juice and 1 cup ice cubes)
Makes 3 serves. Per serve: 837kJ, 0.6g fat (0g sat), 45g carbs, 78mg sodium, 6g fibre, 6g protein

The immunity builder

Loaded with boosters such as beta-carotene and vitamin C from mango, rockmelon and pineapple, this smoothie primes your infection-fighting army for action. “Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells and antibodies,” says Dr Tanya Zuckerbrot, author of The F-Factor Diet . Finally, the duo of almonds and almond milk delivers a healthy dose of defence-fortifying zinc.
1 cup peeled, pitted, cubed mango
1 cup chopped rockmelon
½ cup cubed pineapple, fresh or canned
⅓ cup ground almonds
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup ice cubes
Garnish with sliced almonds after blending
Makes 3 serves. Per serve: 628kJ, 6.8g fat (0.5g sat), 22g carbs, 41mg sodium, 4g fibre, 4g protein

The energy booster

Potassium-rich bananas deliver energising carbohydrates, while protein powder and peanut butter give you the energy you need to get through that three o’clock slump. Pantothenic acid, a B vitamin found in yoghurt and honey, helps convert food into fuel. Iron-rich wheat germ and cinnamon up blood oxygen levels so you won’t get winded during your midday workout.
2 frozen bananas, peeled and chopped
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs wheat germ
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs honey
¾ cup low-fat Greek yoghurt
4 tbs skim milk powder
2 cup ice cubes
Makes 3 serves. Per serve: 1042kJ, 7g fat (2g sat), 38g carbs, 102 mg sodium, 4g fibre, 25g protein

The hunger killer

This hearty blend is stocked with filling fibre from fruit and protein from tofu. “Fibre helps you feel full without contributing tons of kilojoules, and protein is the most satiating nutrient,” says Lisa Drayer, author of The Beauty Diet. Get added ammunition from the omega-3 fatty acids in flaxseed oil. “Omega-3s help increase your metabolic rate and burn fat,” says dietitian Christine Avanti. “They’ve also been found to reduce the size and number of fat cells, especially in the belly.”
1 cup strawberries, hulled
1 cup cubed mango
1 lime, peeled and seeded
2 tbs flaxseed oil
½ cup silken tofu
1½ cup ice cubes
Makes 3 serves. Per serve: 690kJ, 10g fat (1g sat), 18g carbs, 6mg sodium, 3g fibre, 3g protein

Better blending

Add power, protein and personality to your own smoothies, with these tips from juice bar owner
Dr Catherine Wilbert
Use Almond milk, skim milk, soy milk, rice milk, kefir, tofu, coconut milk or soy yoghurt
Skip Ice cream
Tip Go low-fat (once blended, you can’t tell the difference) and use frozen fruit to add texture
Use Protein powder, tofu, low-fat yoghurt, cottage cheese, peanut butter or almond powder
Skip Raw eggs – it’s not worth the salmonella risk
Tip Look for protein powder with more protein than sugar
Use Kale, spinach, romaine, silverbeet, rocket, celery and/or fresh herbs
Skip Broccoli – it’s healthy, but not good juiced
Tip Vegies can be bitter – try 70-30 fruit-to-greens
Use Wheatgerm, ground flaxseed, high-fibre fruits (raspberries, blackberries, avocado)
Skip Dried fruit
Tip For extra fibre, leave skin on thin-skinned fruits like pears and peaches
Use Honey, stevia, ripe bananas, juice concentrate
Skip Artificial sweetener
Tip Stick to a tablespoon of sweetening stuff

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