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Purple Power Smoothie a blend of strength, nutrition, flavor

Start the day strong with a Purple Power Smoothie.

Associated Press

Start the day strong with a Purple Power Smoothie.

The smoothie has become ubiquitous because it makes healthy eating sound easy and attainable.

I love throwing a bunch of things into a blender and then sipping on my breakfast. The more nutrients I can cram in, the better. Healthy mornings are smart because mornings are when we have the most discipline since the day hasn't tired us out, and our willpower isn't exhausted. And smoothies are quick and portable, which makes them a busy person's best friend at breakfast. (You can even pre-prep smoothie ingredients in resealable bags to keep in the fridge or freezer for dump-and-blend convenience.)

Not all smoothies are equal, however. Just because something is a "green smoothie" doesn't mean that it isn't loaded with sugar. Making your own smoothies at home gives you a lot more control, of course. But even so, if you load up a smoothie with an apple, a banana, some honey and berries, you could easily be looking at the same amount of sugar as a can of cola. Yes, fruit is natural sugar, but it still needs to be consumed mindfully.

Here are some tips for reducing the sugar in your morning smoothie.

First, get some creamy texture from something other than a banana. If you add creamy items like tofu, cooked white beans or avocado, you can reduce the banana to a slice or two for body and a hint of sweetness.

Second, freeze up spinach, sliced cabbage, kale or other greens. Freezing greens mellows their flavor a bit so you can add them into smoothies for extra nutrition.

Next, use frozen mixed berries to satisfy your sweet tooth. They do have some sugar, but they also bring fiber and nutrients to the table.

Finally, boost your smoothie with some secret ingredients that fool your palate into thinking your food is sweeter than it actually is. Orange zest, cinnamon, almond extract, unsweetened cocoa, pumpkin puree and coconut oil are great ways to pump up the flavor without adding extra sweeteners like honey or sugar.

PURPLE POWER SMOOTHIE

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond/coconut milk, divided

4 ounces soft silken tofu or about of a package (or protein powder or a few tablespoons of rinsed cooked white beans)

1 cup frozen mixed berries

¼ medium banana, frozen

¾ cup shredded red cabbage (fresh or frozen)

½ teaspoon orange zest

¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

teaspoon almond extract

cup ice cubes

Place 1 ½ cups of the milk and the tofu in the blender and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the frozen berries, banana, cabbage, orange zest, extracts and ice cubes. Blend until smooth, about 1 minute. If you don't have a high-powered blender, then you may need to stop, stir and continue blending about halfway through. Once the mixture is well blended, add the remaining ½ cup of milk and blend just until all smooth. Pour into glass and serve.

Makes 3 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 86 calories (28 calories from fat), 3g fat (0g saturated, 0g trans fats), 0mg cholesterol, 139mg sodium, 12g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 6g sugar, 4g protein.

Purple Power Smoothie a blend of strength, nutrition, flavor 01/05/17 [Last modified: Thursday, January 5, 2017 4:54pm]
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