Low Calorie, Healthful and Delicious Spring Drinks

By Chef Judi Gallagher –

When people think Spring, they usually also think about the coming season of more revealing clothes, which inevitably leads of a consideration of consuming fewer calories. I often start a diet with a liquid fast for a day or two. But not too liquid. I need crunch and texture so “juicing” used to scare me and my taste buds. But today the culinary world is full of tasty, nutritious and low calorie drinks that satisfy body and soul. Here are two that I especially enjoy. One for breakfast and the other for lunch or dinner.

The simple breakfast smooth uses flax seeds. Flax seeds help your hair become shiner and thicker and adds fiber to your diet.

Strawberry Orange Sunshine:
1 cup orange juice
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1 cup fresh or unsweetened frozen strawberries
2 medium bananas, peeled, cut up and frozen
1 teaspoon ground flax seed (optional)
6 to 8 ice cubes
Fresh strawberries

In a blender, combine juice, yogurt, 1 cup strawberries, bananas and flax seed, if you like. Cover; blend until pureed. With blender running, add ice through feed tube, one cube at a time, until desired consistency. If you like,
garnish with strawberries. Serves 3 or 4.

(Calories 170, Total Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 2 mg, Sodium 67 mg, Carbohydrate 37 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 6 g. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.)

The goat cheese and cream in this one makes it a delicious soup. When buying avocado, I always prefer the Haas avocado for its texture and thinner skin which makes it easy to peel.

Avocado Gazpacho Smoothie (or soup)
1 small (7-ounce) Haas avocado, peeled, pitted and cut up,
plus one slice for garnish
1 cup water
2 tablespoons plain mild goat cheese
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon cold water
2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons snipped fresh chives, plus more for garnish
1/8 teaspoon salt

Place cut-up avocado in a blender. Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach desired consistency. Pour into a tall glass, and garnish with chives and avocado slice, if desired. Serve immediately. A good source of vitamin C, thiamine and riboflavin, this savory lunchtime smoothie is nutritious as well as satisfying. Select blemish-free avocados that are heavy for their size. Ripe avocados yield to gentle palm pressure, but the ones found in supermarkets are usually firm and unripe. To speed the ripening
process, place avocados in a paper bag, and set aside at room temperature for 2 to 4 days. Once ripe, they can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.

(Calories: 318, Fat: 28 grams, Protein: 6 grams, Carbohydrates: 13 grams Fiber: 7 grams, Net Carbs: 5 grams.)

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