Smoothies can be a quick, on-the-go option for breakfast or a snack and can add a nutrient boost to your day. But many smoothies are made mostly from fruits and juice, making them high in sugar but also not very filling. A small Banana Boat® smoothie from Smoothie King® has 73 grams of sugar! That’s close to three times the daily recommended limit of added sugar for women (1). By adding avocado, we’ll get a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, and the fat content will help you feel full and satisfied longer.
Avocados are a nutrient-dense food containing heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Replacing saturated fats in your diet with monounsaturated fats, like avocados, may help to reduce your LDL, or “bad” cholesterol and reduce your risk of heart disease. In addition, some research shows that monounsaturated fatty acids may benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control, which can be helpful if you have or are at risk of type 2 diabetes.
Bananas are my favorite fruit to use in smoothies because they add a rich creaminess that makes the smoothie the texture of ice cream, and they are a good source of Vitamin C, which helps with immunity, and a good source of potassium, which can help with blood pressure control.
For the berries, I reach for frozen, which are just a nutritious as fresh with little to no prep work. Using frozen fruit means we’ll get an ice-cold smoothie, without having to add ice and water-down the flavor. Blueberries are a good source of fiber and Vitamin C.
Instead of milk or yogurt, I love using kefir in my smoothies. If you’ve never had kefir, it is a drinkable milk smoothie – think of a drinkable yogurt. Kefir is high in protein and calcium, and has live and active cultures just like yogurt to help promote a healthy gut. Another benefit of kefir is that because it’s made from fermented milk, it contains bacteria that aid in the digestion of lactose. So even if you’re lactose intolerant, you may be able to enjoy kefir without any symptoms.
For the toppings, add chopped nuts, like walnuts. Walnuts contain the highest amount of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) as compared to other nuts. ALA is an omega-3 essential fatty acid considered to be especially beneficial for heart health, helping to reduce inflammation and improve cholesterol. I also chose to add a light sprinkle of granola, but remember to limit your portion, as granola is high in added sugar.
Spoons up to this heart-healthy smoothie bowl for American Heart Month and year-round.
Combine all ingredients (except toppings) in a blender; cover and process until smooth. Divide evenly among 4 bowls, and add toppings as desired.