What’s in Your Fruit Smoothie?

<b>What’s in Your Fruit Smoothie?</b>“></td><td><p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Americans looking for nutritionally sound choices are increasingly turning to fruit smoothies for a tasty, refreshing serving of fruit. In fact, smoothie sales have skyrocketed 139 percent in the U.S. since 2002, according to BusinessWeek, and estimates are that the market will balloon to billion by 2012.

The new interest in smoothies makes sense in a lot of ways as they generally provide a healthy snack alternative and even a meal replacement if prepared properly. They also provide a tasty and fun way of getting your daily serving of fruit in a relatively small and convenient package.

However, while most smoothies are made at least in part with real fruit, many ready-to-drink varieties include added sugars and syrups that drive up calorie counts.

Case in point — one smoothie retailer offers a 40-ounce smoothie that contains 1,100 calories and 256 grams of sugar. That is more than half the calories the average adult needs in an entire day. In addition, many of the ready-to-drink bottled varieties found on grocery shelves contain high-fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial colors or added sugars.

To enjoy the health benefits of a real fruit smoothie without unwanted calories, consider the following options:

– If you have time on your hands, and money in your wallet, go the “do-it-yourself” route. Purchase fresh fruits like oranges, bananas, pineapples and strawberries, and blend with milk or fruit juice to make your own from scratch. This way, you know exactly what is going into your smoothie.

– For a more convenient, yet still healthy, alternative to fresh preparation, look for all-natural frozen blend-and-serve varieties such as Chiquita Frozen Fruit Smoothies (Chiquitasmoothie.com). These varieties are made with real fruit, and they contain no added sugars, preservatives or artificial flavorings. They cost less than per serving and offer many of the nutritional benefits of fresh preparation.

– If you’re already out the door and want to indulge, look for all-natural varieties available at smoothie retailers. Make sure they are sweetened with fruit and have no added sugars. Portion is key here, as many retailers have “super-sized” their offerings. Order a 16-ounce size or smaller.

In short, fruit smoothies can be a great addition to a well-balanced diet. However, be aware that just because the product says “made with real fruit” does not necessarily mean that it is healthy.

What’s in Your Fruit Smoothie?