Enjoying a generous breakfast smoothie every day became a habit for me over the summer. As fall arrived, I continued to make this sunny morning drink. But I also realized that it was gradually increasing my weight, so I decided to create a slimmer version as luscious and rich in the right stuff, including protein, calcium and fiber, and with creamy texture and pleasing sweetness.
Of course, I kept the milk and strawberries. Also the grated orange zest and chopped fresh ginger, which added wake-up flavor and health-promoting phytochemicals.
The first change was using fat-free milk, saving about 40 calories and nearly 2 grams of saturated fat, instead of 2% reduced-fat milk, but maintaining the same amount of protein. The more major changes were replacing banana and agave syrup with chia seeds and strawberry fruit preserves, respectively.
Chia seeds are amazing. Resembling poppy seeds, these ancient Latin American native seeds are loaded with fiber, rich in omega-3s and a good protein source. Plus they produce a creamy, thick texture. Bananas, which are good too, make a smoothie thick and sweet and provide 3 grams of fiber, but they add 105 calories. For just 60 calories in 4 teaspoons, the chia seeds give you 5 grams of fiber, plus the useful omega-3s.
A tablespoon of fruit-sweetened strawberry preserves replaced the agave and emphasized the strawberry flavor while shaving off 30 calories.
Altogether, these changes gave my smoothie the same amount of fiber as a bowl of oatmeal, much of it hard-to-get soluble fiber, while cutting out 105 calories.
Strawberry Chia Smoothie
- 3/4 cup skim milk
- 4 tsp. chia seeds
- 1 cup fresh strawberries fresh
- 1 Tbsp. strawberry fruit spread, or to taste
- 2 tsp. orange zest
- 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
In blender, place milk and chia seeds and let sit while measuring remaining ingredients.
Add strawberries, preserves, orange zest, ginger and vanilla to blender. Whirl on high speed until smoothie is blended and creamy, about 1 minute. Pour smoothie into tall glass and serve immediately.
Makes 1 serving.
Per serving: 249 calories, 5 g total fat (<1 g saturated fat), 44 g carbohydrate, 9 g protein, 9 g dietary fiber, 90 mg sodium.
Something Different is written by Dana Jacobi, author of 12 Best Foods Cookbook and contributor to AICR’s New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.
The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $96 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.