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8 Reasons to Include Smoothies

Let's face it, eating healthy is tough. It can be expensive, time consuming, and it doesn't taste as good as eating junk food. There is no magical food that will help in this task, but smoothies might be the ticket to helping you with your healthy habits. Here are 8 reasons why you should add smoothies to your diet.

1. Nutritional value: Hate fruits and vegetables? Those bland colorful foods are essential to receive your daily doses of vitamins and minerals. Smoothies are a great way to get fruits and vegetables in while still tasting delicious. For instance, strawberries can sometimes taste bland, but by adding yogurt and bananas in the blender with them, we can really increase flavor and nutritional value. It's also very easy to hide veggies in a smoothie. Check out my blackberry spinach smoothie below. Most people don't even notice that leafy greens were added.

2. Fruits are already naturally sweet: Fruit in smoothies have enough natural sugar that your nightly craving might be manageable. Instead of going straight for the chocolate, try a fruit smoothie.

3. They are quick and easy to make: This is one of the top reasons why I enjoy smoothies. With busy schedules like mine, I love that there is no cooking involved. A typical smoothie should only take a few minutes to make, not to mention they are easy to drink on the go.

4. Cost effective: If you check your fridge, you probably already have ingredients to make a smoothie. Milk, yogurt, juice, canned fruit, frozen fruit, and leafy greens are common grocery store necessities. Canned and frozen fruit are fairly cheap and are actually acceptable in smoothies. If you have a garden, using that extra produce will always save on cost.

5. You can drink smoothies anytime: You can make these delicious drinks for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert or a snack. There is no time of day that a smoothie is acceptable or not acceptable to drink. A post exercise smoothie might also help you recover after a hard workout at the gym.

6. Great way to use fruit that is going bad:
Do you have any fruit that looks like it's almost time to throw out? Add it to a blender. All the ingredients are going to end up in liquid form so it doesn't matter what the product looks like. (Note: If your food is growing arms, legs, and hair, then defiantly throw it out.)

7. Kids love making smoothies:
Maybe it's watching all the ingredients blend together or how easy and delicious they are, but kids love making smoothies! This is a great way for them to be creative in the kitchen. Smoothie cook-off anyone?

8. Weight loss:
Compare fruit juice to a smoothie and there is no doubt that you will feel fuller after a smoothie. It's hard to find a food that is so low in calories and can satisfy your appetite. Luckily, smoothies do just that.

Below is a smoothie I invented one day while I was getting creative in the kitchen. This blackberry spinach smoothie is full of vitamins and minerals and is simply delicious. Enjoy!

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Today's post was written by Natalie Rodakowski. Natalie Rodakowski, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Nutrition & Wellness Educator covering Carroll, Lee, Whiteside counties. She specializes in eating disorders, weight management, sports nutrition, and dietary behavior change.